Graduation changes

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:49 PM

The state’s new graduation requirements will impact students’ course options.

Students can meet the algebra II requirement by taking a career or technical class, such as welding. Two-year foreign language requirements can be met in grades K-8. Students can count extracurricular activities as a half-credit gym requirement.

Local school officials are waiting to learn when the changes take effect.

Mary Jane Evink, curriculum specialist for Grand Haven Area Public Schools, said the changes give students additional choices, and the chance to receive credit in career and technical classes.

“It will allow them to spend more time in classes they prefer, so it should impact their post-high school education choices,” she said. “It is difficult to tell how it will impact college and career readiness.”

Schools are also waiting for further details about which activities count toward extracurricular credit options. Evink said the bill’s language states that athletic programs or clubs that engage students in physical activity would count toward the half-credit gym requirement.

Spring Lake High School Principal Mike Gilchrist said the change is a fair alternative for students. He said they have had many cases in which students want to fit in high academic courses, but they have to adjust their schedules to accommodate physical education requirements.

While graduation changes allow students to earn foreign language credit prior to high school, Evink said there won’t be any immediate change in that curriculum.

Local schools currently offer high school-equivalent Spanish classes in eighth-grade.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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