More Flexibility = Better Opportunities
Graduation requirements for Olentangy students will change starting with the class of 2015. The school board accepted the changes at their Jan. 31 meeting with a vote of 4 to 1.
What will these changes mean and is it for the better? Essentially, the changes mean that students will have extra flexibility in selecting courses, which may give them an added advantage when it comes to getting into the college of their choice. That's music to parents' ears.
Overall, the number of credits required to graduate will not change — Olentangy students will still need a total of 22 credits. What will change are the courses that will make up those credits. These changes will be phased in to give the current students enough time to adapt to the new requirements.
The changes include eliminating two required courses — speech and personal finance/post-secondary planning — while requiring a course in economics. The speech class will continue to be offered as an elective and the personal finance curriculum will be rolled into the economics curriculum.
The administration recommended these changes for several reasons:
- The new Common Core includes public speaking throughout the new curriculum starting at the elementary level and continuing through grade 12. Public speaking will primarily be taught in English classes, but will be reflected across various subjects throughout the student's primary and secondary curriculum.
- The economics course better reflects knowledge that high school students need in college and future careers.
- College and career preparedness is now covered in other parts of the curriculum starting in middle school. This includes various career alternative electives as well as continuing online assessment of students' preferences and career possibilities.
- The changes reflect a potential savings of 9 full-time employees. These positions will be used to absorb the enrollment growth at the high school level. Thus, while no positions will be eliminated, the course changes mean 9 additional hires will not be needed due to future growth.
In addition to these course changes, Olentangy has other ways of giving students an edge. For example, the district has options for earning high school credit prior to entering 9th grade. Most four-year colleges look for at least two years of the same foreign language. Olentangy offers high school Spanish, German and French to 8th graders, which allows them to earn high school credit for a B grade or above. Accelerated math classes are available as well as online and summer school options for motivated students.
Olentangy schools offer 28 Advanced Placement (AP) courses, which not only can earn students college credit, but also shows rigor to college admissions boards. In addition, starting next school year, the district will offer dual enrollment, which will allow students to take college courses for credit at Columbus State's Delaware branch.
To better understand the academic opportunities for Olentangy students in high school, note the chart below. It compares the state's minimum requirements as set by the Ohio Department of Education, Olentangy's newly approved graduation requirements and the minimum college admissions requirements as defined by the Ohio Board of Regents. By requiring more electives, students have more flexibility and opportunities to learn and excel.
Olentangy 2015 & Beyond
Minimum for College Admission*
|* College Prep-Level Courses|
|Source: Ohio Board of Regents per OLSD 2013-2014 Course Selection Guide|