Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Broad and Challenging Curriculum: 'a-g' requirements for high school graduation

Graduates As part of the district's monthly reports detailing progress with implementation of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), a presentation on 'a-g' requirements for high school graduation was provided to the Board of Education on Oct. 28, 2014.

To be considered for admission to a University of California or UC campus, students must complete what are called “a-g” requirements. A study conducted by San Diego Unified in 2009 showed that our students were graduating from our schools and could not apply to UC or California State University (CSU) campuses because some of the a-g requirements were not on their transcripts. In 2010-11, the 'a-g' Task Force began developing implementation plans based on the audit results. The Board of Education approved the Task Force recommendations to: align district graduation subject requirements with UC/CSU 'a-g' subject requirements and require new graduation requirements to be implemented with the Class of 2016.

“This initiative ensures access for all students in our schools and makes sure we have courses available and the necessary supports for our students,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten at the Board meeting.

“The initiative is one that I am very proud of.”

Since 2011-12, district staff have been laying the 'a-g' implementation groundwork to ensure success for the Class of 2016 and beyond. Implementation has included assisting high schools in developing master schedules that include 'a-g' courses; working with high school principals, counselors and registrars on the 'a-g' course sequences; providing additional supports for students; developing four-year plans with 8th grade students to ensure they will be on track to graduate; and establishing a High School Resources Office to coordinate implementation efforts.
A study of the implementation of the new 'a-g' requirements shows that approximately 59% of juniors (Class of 2016) are on track to meet them. Actions are underway to make sure the remaining 41% are able to catch up. Manual reviews of transcripts are underway to look at each student’s progress individually. Aggressive alignments of master schedules are in progress for next semester to ensure course offerings are consistent with the needs of students at individual campuses. Realignments of pathways from middle school into high school are also underway to ensure coursework supports 'a-g' requirements, especially in regards to world language offerings.
“Teachers understand the importance of access; they understand that we want students to have exposure to higher-level material,” said Marten. “We also need to make sure we provide sufficient support classes and interventions so that our teachers have what they need to help students be successful.”

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