Students today are expected to possess a myriad of competencies when they graduate. In addition to content mastery, employers look for skills such as critical thinking, communication, collaboration, creativity, global competence and self-direction.
In order to help provide students with a plan for success after high school, in 2015 the Colorado Department of Education approved new graduation guidelines. The guidelines were informed by numerous sources including K-12 representatives, business and community leaders, higher education representatives, labor experts and military personnel. The guideline implementation also provided local school boards with the authority to establish local high school graduation requirements that meet or exceed the Colorado Graduation Guidelines.
These guidelines are effective for current 9th grade students scheduled to graduate in 2021.
On June 13, 2016 the board of education approved Policy 5- Article 2 Graduation Requirements. This policy can be found in its entirety at www.plattecayonschools.org.
As part of their commitment to graduate college and career ready students, the board approved guidelines above the state’s approved guidelines.
The district guidelines require our students earn 28 credits. 13.5 of these credits must be in English Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies. The remaining credits can be elective subjects. In addition to the credits, starting with the graduating class of 2021, students must demonstrate college/career readiness by:
Attaining a score that is designated by the testing agency to be “college ready” on selected standardized tests in English and Math
Successful completion of the Alternative Cooperative Education (ACE) program
Obtaining a C or better in a career-orientated Warren Tech course or college business/career course
Obtaining an ASVAB composite of 90 or higher
The district anticipates adding additional pathways to fulfill the graduation guidelines and a revision of the ASVAB composite score.
According to the Scholastic Aptitude Test’s (SAT) testing agency, the College Board, the benchmark for college and career readiness in 11th grade is a score of 460 in English and 510 in Math. Based on the most recent test scores published by the district, in the 2016-17 school year our 11th graders scored an average of 501 in English and 501 in Math. Similarly, the benchmark data on the SAT for 10th graders is a score of 430 in English and 480 in Math. Our 10th graders scored an average of 474 in English and 458 in Math.
The district is currently working to ensure that these guidelines are attainable by each of its students. Thanks to a generous anonymous donation, all 9th grade students were administered the PSAT 9 this year. The testing results will establish baseline data for administrators and educators. Curriculum can be tailored to address each individual student’s needs.
Our district’s currently approved graduation guidelines exceed both the state and our closest neighboring district. This will provide a challenge to our district and students but, if our students attain these guidelines, our graduates will be better prepared for college and/or careers. In order to succeed, the district will need community support and this starts with additional conversation. PACE will be continuing this conversation and discussing future opportunities for our district at our second annual state of the district, Transformation: 2021.