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Little impact on schools with new state grad rules
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Changes to the graduation rules by the Georgia Board of Education are likely to have little immediate impact on the curriculum currently in place in the county.

“We already had some requirements in place locally that would have not made a significant change based on the new diploma requirements,” Curriculum Coordinator Judith Shuman said. “For example, we already required college prep students to have at least four sciences and encouraged all other students to have four.

Shuman said requirements similar to the science requirement that the system has put in place will help ease the transition to the new graduation requirements.

For some systems, it may look more rigorous than what they had in place prior to this. For our system we will still be holding our students to a high standard that we had already established,” Shuman said.

Because of the change in state rules the local system will review its current requirements to determine if there are any additional requirements the system would like to add.

“We will begin that process by gathering some feedback from our counselors at the high school level who have a direct connection to colleges and entrance requirements for different post secondary institutions as we think about these changes,” Shuman said. “We will be looking to our CTAE, Career, Technical and Agricultural Education, supervisors to give us their perspective about what this might mean in regards to post-secondary completion.”

She said after gathering the input the system will begin working on the local requirements to see what changes need to be made. She said there has not been speculation about the types of changes that will be made yet. There also will need to be consideration of continuing to offer good counseling and advice with only one diploma track.

“It’s going to be a thoughtful process that we will probably take several months to complete in order to do it as well as we possibly can,” Shuman said.

She said there will be some small changes made, but she does not see any major changes because of the new requirements.

“There may be some small changes from the standpoint of the new diploma document a fourth science for some students can be also an elective, and that fourth science can come from a CTAE course that has been approved by the state,” Shuman said. “One example of that might be animal science or plant science taught by an agricultural teacher. It could be an elective in the agricultural program as well as the fourth science to meet the science requirement.”

She said this is a new provision, and teachers would have to participate in additional training in order to be qualified by the state to teach those courses.

“We might be doing a little bit of professional learning to get those teachers up to date on those options, but other than those things I don’t see any major implications,” Shuman said.

“We will be continuing foreign language. I heard that there were some folks that were concerned about the fact that the foreign language requirement was not in there for diploma requirement. I don’t anticipate that being the case at all. In fact, I think our foreign language department will continue to grow.”

Students entering a state college or university are required to have two units of the same foreign language.

Shuman said knowing a second language is beneficial for all students.

She said the system will continue to have high expectations and standards for all students.

The changes that will affect the local curriculum
Beginning with the ninth grade class next fall there will only be one type of diploma. Students who are currently in high school can choose one of four diploma types college prep, college prep with distinction, technology/career and technology career with distinction.

The local system under the current guidelines requires college prep to have four units of math, and technology/career students three units of math. Under the new requirements all students will be required to have four units of math.

All students will be required to have four units of science. Currently college prep students are required four units while technology/career students are required to have three.