Courtesy Photo Automotive students grow their technical and career skills as they learn to work as a team.

Courtesy Photo

Automotive students grow their technical and career skills as they learn to work as a team.

The Kentucky Board of Education approved Oct. 3 a proposal that will change the minimum high school graduation requirements, beginning with the students who are expected to graduate in the classes of 2023 and 2024.

The requirements will be subject to a 30-day public comment period that is likely to begin on Nov. 1.

According to the Kentucky Board of Education Chairman Hal Heiner, more will be expected of students to ensure that all Kentucky public high school graduates are ready for college or a career after graduation.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis told the board before the vote that the 2018 standardized test score for eighth-graders showed that on 63 percent were proficient or higher in reading and only 46 percent were proficient in math.

He went on to say that 93 percent of 12th-grade students graduate high school with a diploma.

"Rather than celebrate our high school graduation rate, we should hang our heads in shame that what we've given to many students is a certificate of attendance," Lewis said.

The Grayson County Board of Education already has a plan in place to help students meet these new requirements. It is called Profile of a Graduate.

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The GCBOE collaborated with members of the community to ensure that GCHS graduates are equipped with the soft skills and life skills that students will need to be successful in any path they choose.

Superintendent Doug Robinson said, "This year, our goal is to get the people of the community familiar with it and having conversations about it. We're growing awareness among all our staff and our students as we get them familiar with each skill in order to shape our instructional practices to complement each skill."

According to Robinson, a big part of the initiative is being more involved with the community. Employers tell the schools what they are looking for in workers, for both technical and soft skills, so that the schools can help better prepare the students for those jobs.

"We've taken several major steps this year through our job shadowing and work-based learning programs, a community-based school leadership program and mentoring at the middle school.

In addition to learning new soft skills and life skills, students will have more focused requirements for their graduation that will help prepare them for work or college after high school.

According to Robinson, the new requirements will allow for a more individualized education experience as students gain expanded options for coursework that may be more meaningful to their personal college or career interests.

The new graduation requirements will include a minimum of 22 credits with students demonstrating the foundational skills in reading and math on high school assessments. According to KBE, these tests can be taken more than once and appeals can be made to the local superintendent if necessary.

The other requirements are divided into three components; foundational, personalized and transition ready.

For the foundational and personalized components, students will complete English I and II and two additional English credits aligned with their Individual Learning Plan; algebra I and geometry and two additional mathematics credits aligned with their ILP; three credits in social studies, with at least one aligned with their ILP; three credits in science, with at least one aligned with their ILP; half credit of health; half credit of physical education; one credit of visual and performing arts; and six additional credits aligned to their ILP.

Students can either show they are transition ready through academic readiness or career readiness.

Students can demonstrate academic readiness by scoring at or above benchmark for a college entrance exam (ACT/SAT); or completing six or more hours of KDE-approved duel credit courses and receiving a B or higher in each course; or completing two or more Advanced Placement courses and receiving a score of three or higher on AP assessments; or receiving as score of five or better on two examinations for International Baccalaureate course; or scoring at or above benchmark on two or more Cambridge Advanced Examinations; or students can complete a combination of these things.

Students can demonstrate they are transition ready through career readiness by scoring at or above benchmark on industry certifications approved by the Kentucky Workforce Innovations Board on an annual basis; or scoring at or above benchmark on Career and Technical Education end-of-program assessments; or completing six or more hours of KDE approved CTE Dual Credit courses and receiving a B or higher in each course; or completing a KDE-approved or state Labor Cabinet-approved apprenticeship; or completing a KDE approved alternate process to verify exceptional work experience.

In addition to the new high school graduation requirements, the Grayson County school district hopes to teach students the skills they need in order be successful at life including being personally empowered to set high self standards and actively engaged in the community; effective communicators; solution seekers; team players; and to be enterprising innovators that make goals, learn from mistakes and ask for help when they need it.

Robinson said, "As we work to prepare every student to transition from high school to the real world, it's not just about being ready for college and career anymore. It's about being ready for life and equipped with tangible and intangible skills for success in whatever path they choose."

For more information on the Profile of a Graduate initiative, contact the Grayson County Board of Education at (270) 259-4011.