Board Approved Changes to High School Requirements
During the August 25, 2015 Board of Education Meeting, District 300 made several recommendations to the Board of Education. The Board will vote to approve these recommendations during the September 8, 2015 Board Meeting. In keeping with our district’s drive for organizational transparency, District 300 would like to present the following recommendations to our community.
Recommendation 1: Eliminate Class Rank, Beginning with Current Freshman
A mismatch exists between students’ perceptions of class rank’s importance and the reality in college admissions offices, thereby creating unnecessary stress.
Colleges and Universities report that class rank is one of the least important factors for admission. By removing class rank from the equation, colleges take a more holistic look at the student.
The elimination of class rank, leads to the District’s second recommendation:
Recommendation 2: The Establishment of Cum Laude, Magana Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude Recognition
Students with outstanding academic records will receive honors upon graduation. To qualify, students must meet the cumulative grade-point averages specified below and have no failures or incompletes. Honors recognition will be awarded as follows:
- Cum Laude = 3.50 to 3.69 GPA (unweighted)
- Magna Cum Laude = 3.70 to 3.84 (unweighted) + other factors
- Summa Cum Laude = 3.85 to 4.00 GPA (unweighted) + other factors
The appropriate graduation honors will be indicated on the diploma and on final transcripts, beginning with the Class of 2019.
Recommendation 3: Modifications to Graduation Requirements
The District has recommended four modifications to our existing graduation requirements.
Modification 1: Consumer Education
The District has recommended modifying graduation requirements to allow additional courses to count toward the ISBE requirements related to Consumer Education. Currently, Global Economics is required for graduation to meet the Consumer Education requirement. The District recommends that students choose from one of the following four courses as a requirement for graduation to meet the Consumer Education requirement:
- Global Economics (one semester course)
- AP Macro Economics (year-long course)
- Introduction to Business (year-long course)
- Personal Finance (one semester course)
Modification 2: Physical Education/Health/Driver’s Education
The District has recommended that Physical Education is required only for each semester that a student is in attendance in a District 300 school.
Currently, 3.5 credits of physical education are required for graduation. If a student plans to graduate early, that student would double up on physical education in order to earn 3.5 credits. By modifying the requirements, a student graduating at the end of their junior year would not be required to double up on physical education and a student retained for a 5th year would be required to take additional physical education. All other students would not be impacted. The policy for exemption from PE would not change.
The District has recommended to eliminate Driver Education as a graduation requirement.
Because almost all high school students have a desire to drive, the District does not anticipate a major change in the number of students electing to take Driver’s Education. However, the elimination of this requirement would allow additional flexibility for some students.
Recommendation 4: The Creation of an Elective Strand Replacement Policy and Form
Currently, one credit from each of the following three Strands is required from graduation:
- Strand 1: Art, Music, World Language
- Strand 2: English, Math, Science, Social Studies
- Strand 3: Business, Industrial, Family & Consumer Sciences
The District recommends the creation of a policy allowing students to replace one Strand area with two credits from another Strand area if they meet specific conditions (similar to the District’s current Physical Education Exemption Policy).
Finally, while not actual graduation requirements, the following two topics –Academic Support Period (ASP) and Late Arrival/Early Dismissal-impact the classes students are eligible to take; as such the District is making two additional recommendations:
- Modify Sophomore ASP requirements so higher-performing students can take an additional core or elective class
- The District recommends that students with a cumulative unweighted GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of their freshman year may opt to take an additional core or elective class instead of ASP
- Modify Late Arrival and Early Dismissal Policy for Juniors and Seniors in Academic Danger
- The District recommends that students with a cumulative unweighted GPA of 2.49 or lower at the end of their junior or senior year be ineligible for Late Arrival and Early Dismissal; the District also recommends that students with a final graded of “F” in any class as a junior or senior be ineligible for Late Arrival and Early Dismissal in the semester immediately following the failing grade.
- The District will ask the D300 Board of Education to approve these recommendations during the September 8, 2015 Board Meeting. Community members with feedback regarding these recommendations are welcome to voice their opinions during the public participation portion of the Board Meeting.