Board of Education Rolls Out New Graduation Requirements for Incoming Freshman

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Board of Education Rolls Out New Graduation Requirements for Incoming Freshman

Discussion of graduation requirements during a Board of ED meeting.

Discussion of graduation requirements during a Board of ED meeting.

James Parker Evans

Discussion of graduation requirements during a Board of ED meeting.

James Parker Evans

James Parker Evans

Discussion of graduation requirements during a Board of ED meeting.

James Parker Evans, Vincent Chen, and Enrik Pretashi

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Beware, Class of 2023, the graduation requirements for incoming freshmen in West Hartford high schools are changing. Board of Ed Policy 6310 will increase the required number of credits to graduate from 21.75 to 25; main changes include the introduction of a mastery experience class and an increase in the amount of health, world language and science required as well as a decrease in required gym credits.

In order to provide a more rigorous education to better prepare students for college, the state government of Connecticut adopted Substitute Senate Bill No. 1026, (also known as Public Act No. 17-42) that will go into effect on  July 1, 2017, which explains the past statewide graduation requirements going back to 1988. The act also explains the new statewide requirements to be enforced for the class of 2023. The BOE has postponed implementation for the past few years and now plans to implements these changes.

Vincent Chen
Major changes in graduation requirements for the class of 2023.

Starting next year, credits won’t be put into singular categories. For example, math and science will be combined into broader overarching categories such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). English, World Language, and History will be categorized together as Humanities. The new mastery experience class will focus on retention of information. To pass a mastery experience class, one must have a level of performance deemed “mastery”.

A major change in credits is the increase in the combined total of PE and Health requirements. PE requirements are being lowered from the original 1.5 to 1, and health is being increased from .25 to 1. This means students will take one less year of Physical Education, but an increase of three semesters in health. The over increase is 1.75 credits to 2 credits.

According to Liat Bachar, a senior at Hall High School, the increase in health credits will “negatively impact students”. She believes that since there is a huge increase in health, many students won’t be able to take it over the summer. She took health over the summer in order to get a free period. That free period helped her a lot with school work, but not all students believe the increase in health credits is negative.

Some students though have a positive view of the changes in the graduation requirements. Marian Chen, junior at Hall High School, believes that “increasing health will help us learn more about the effects of drugs and other important health issues.” According to her, health is an important aspect of our lives and increasing it will help out many students.

Other students don’t mind the health changes and have been analyzing  other planned changes to the learning process. “I think it is beneficial to take STEM classes, so requiring more science credits is a good idea,” says Mac Mahoney, a senior at Hall High School. He agrees to the change in requirements in that aspect. He also believes that these changes will most likely help students with the SAT as well. “This will give seniors slightly less time but will, in turn, require them to be sharp with their math and science skills,” says Mac.

Overall students seem to be conflicted on what affect the new graduation requirements will have on the student body. Most students both young and old have adopted a “wait and see” policy to see how the new requirements change the learning process for students during their high school experience. However, one thing is clear: students in West Hartford will be prepared to tackle the new rigorous graduation requirements as they get ready for the next stage in their lives.