Grad Requirements Include More Math, Less PE

Elle Esquer

New graduation requirements have been approved for this year’s freshmen. Certain elective requirements have been added while others have been eliminated or modified. This change will apply to the class of 2020 and beyond, but will not apply to current sophomores, juniors or seniors.

Principal John Walker said, “There will definitely be an impact [on freshmen], some of them are minor changes.” According to Walker, the process for changing district requirements began last spring, after a year-long study of the previous requirements.

One of the changes applies to district math requirements.  The old standard was 20 credits, which typically called for a student to complete a minimum of 2 year-long math classes over their 4 year high school career.  Now, that standard has been increased to 30 credits.  This means most students will need to pass 3 years of math.  However, the range of courses that may be used to fulfill the math requirement has been expanded. Computer science will now count for math credit.

This change may be the least impactful to the general student population as the UC and CSU admission requirements already included 3 years of math.

Elective requirements have been reduced from 95 credits to just 60. Students were previously required to take 2 years of world language, career, or art. However, the UC system still requires 2 and advises 3 years of language.

“It won’t be as impactful,” Walker said about the language credit changes, as most students already take world language courses for 2 years.

One of the most significant and controversial changes is the new Physical Education waiver option.

According to the new district requirements, one year (10 credits) of PE can be earned by a student’s participation in 2 seasons of school sponsored athletics. Freshman year PE is still compulsory, and a total of 2 years of PE credit is still required, but the new requirements may result in fewer sophomore students enrolling in traditional PE.

Sophomores will also be impacted by the new health curriculum.  In the past, health has been a component of the sophomore year PE curriculum.  However, now the district is moving that content into a stand along class.  The semester-long health course will be required for all sophomores.

These changes have some members of the class of 2020 eager for about their upcoming course selection process for next year. Freshman Anna Mills said, “It’s fantastic, especially the PE part since I’m an athlete.”

In addition to the new requirements, there may also be several new semester-long course offerings beginning in the 201702018 school year as a result of the sophomore health course requirement.  Potential offering may include a semester long introduction to psychology class, an additional visual or performing art course, and several new PE options like yoga, team sports, and weight training.

Considering that the district has also recently adopted a block schedule for next year, with these new graduation requirements and course offerings also being instituted, the 2017-2018 school year is shaping up to be a significant departure from tradition.