Class of '18: more math, science, service

By: 
Seth Jovaag

This year’s seventh-graders will need to take one more credit in both science and mathematics to earn their Oregon High School diploma than current high school students do.

From 2018 on, students will also be required to complete at least 10 hours of community service to graduate, and they’ll need to show they are “proficient” in an array of skills ranging from personal finance to goal-setting to conducting research.

With little discussion, the Oregon School Board last Monday voted 6-0 to approve the changes to the district’s graduation requirements. Board member Lee Christensen was absent.

The new policy will require students to take three years of science and math in high school, rather than two.
That change isn’t yet mandated by the state, but many expect that to change in coming years.

Meanwhile, OHS students will still need to take four years of English, three in social studies, one-and-a-half years of physical education and a semester of health to graduate. Graduates must earn a total of 23 credits.

The new policy also requires 2018 grads to complete a “personalized learning plan” and demonstrate proficiency in roughly 20 “exit outcomes” the district first outlined nearly two decades ago. Examples include “the ability to communicate effectively using a variety of media,” “attainment of a knowledge base in the creative arts” and acquiring knowledge “necessary to live independently, including a knowledge base in personal finances.”

How, exactly, the district will judge whether students meet the outcomes remains to be seen, said board member Steve Zach. But overall, he said the new graduation requirements firm up a district goal to “ensure students leave here with the skills needed to be successful.”

Valedictorian vote
Meanwhile, the board postponed a vote on a separate policy that would do away with the tradition of naming a valedictorian and salutatorian by 2014-15.

The board’s policy committee is expected to finalize that policy this week before a board vote later this month.
OHS is likely to switch to a “cum laude” system that honors top students based on their grade-point averages and gives special recognition to kids who tackle tough classes.

Other votes
The board also approved:

 • A donation of $74,400 worth of musical instruments from the Oregon Band Boosters. The volunteer group donated three saxophones, four vibraphones and six marimbas, according to a letter to the board from OHS band director Nick Lane.

•  A trip by up to 16 OHS marketing students to the state DECA conference in Lake Geneva from March 19-21.

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