The Duneland School
Board discussed new state requirements for graduation and what they could
mean for Duneland students at its meeting Monday night, after President
Kristen Kroeger raised concerns about an imminent vote by the State Board of
Education on new graduation requirements for Indiana students.
CHS Principal Jeff
Van Drie, invited to explain the proposed changes, said that under the new
requirements, students will need to meet three criteria: meeting or
exceeding the credit requirements for a high school diploma, learning and
demonstrating skills for employability, and demonstrating readiness for
Students can take
on internships, receive credit for part-time jobs, or engage in service
learning to meet the employability requirement, Van Drie said. Meeting the
college readiness statute means passing Advanced Placement tests, taking
dual credit or International Baccalaureate courses, or getting good scores
on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.
When the board
discussed the issue on Monday night, the new mandates were awaiting a vote
from the Indiana State Board of Education. That vote occurred on Wednesday,
when the measure passed 7-4. The new requirements will start in 2023, which
means that current seventh-graders will be the first class to be affected.
Van Drie said several groups had hoped the State Board would postpone its
vote to listen to more teachers and administrators.
Board members noted that the requirements for employability and college
readiness contradict each other. For example, Kroeger asked how students who
are planning to work after graduation will be expected to prove they are
college ready. Van Drie replied that those students have the option of
finding an apprenticeship or passing a sequence of six career-focused
classes with a C or better to demonstrate readiness for their chosen field.
He estimated that 15 to 20 percent of CHS students will utilize these
Van Drie did
express concern that students may need to pick a concentration for these
classes as early as freshman year, and worries that the sequence of courses
could limit students’ choice of electives, especially fine arts classes.
however, that students who make use of the partnership between CHS and the
Porter County Career Center easily receive six credits in their field. CHS
can also work to create more similar opportunities through Ivy Tech and
Purdue University Northwest. In addition, CHS has the option to develop its
own pathway for graduation and submit it to the state Board of Education for
approval. Van Drie said that he’s open to this option.
“It’s not going be
Chesterton that has trouble with this,” Van Drie said. “It will be more of
your at-risk districts. We’ll figure it out.”
Ginger Bolinger maintained a positive outlook. “I really believe the state
board is trying to help us make sure our students have employable skills
when they graduate,” she said. “It’s up to us to decide what that looks
Bolinger also said
that she supports any changes that could help CHS graduates get higher
paying jobs right out of school and down the line, and expressed confidence
in the possibility of new partnerships and a unique CHS graduation pathway.
“I believe we can make some great things happen with this.”