The Bellevue School Board has approved changes to the district’s graduation requirements based on recommendations made by the Graduation Requirements Advisory Committee.
“The changes are largely based on the new 24 credit graduation requirements passed by the Washington Legislature in their 2014 session,” committee member Jennifer Karls said.
Last spring the committee was tasked with reviewing the district’s graduation requirements and made their recommendations regarding changes to the board in the fall. Facilitated by Executive Director of Schools John Harrison, the committee included teachers, counselors, and parent representatives from across the district, as well as a nonprofit representative.
“The best part of the process was the collaboration with parents and community members,” Alicia Williams, a counselor at Interlake and a member of the committee, said. “The conversations were insightful, informative, and focused on meeting the needs of all students in the Bellevue School District.”
During the 2014 legislative session Washington state lawmakers increased the minimum number of credits required for graduation from 20 to 24 beginning with the class of 2019. Prior to this year’s update to the requirements by the board, BSD students were required to complete 23.5 credits for graduation. The update aligns with the new state requirements of 24 credits beginning with the class of 2019.
The committee began its review in May 2014 and met during June, July, and August.
Factors and information considered were the needs of Bellevue students, state graduation requirements, College Academic Distribution Requirements also known as CADRs, the plans of College and Career Ready Instructional Initiatives Action Teams, and a host of other data including performance data for courses and district graduation rates. The committee engaged in in-depth discussions, met with district stakeholders about the requirements, and held four community forums before forwarding their recommendations to the school board.
One of the changes approved by the board is that the culminating project will no longer be required beginning with this year’s graduating class.
Other changes to the district’s graduation requirements, beginning with the class of 2019 are as follows:
- The required number of science credits has been raised from 2 to 3.
- The number of required health and fitness credits was reduced from 2.5 to 2.
- The required number of arts credits has been increased from 1 to 2.
- Required elective credits have been reduced from 6.5 to 3.5.
- World language was added as a graduation requirement, with 2 credits required.
- Personal Pathway Requirement options allow students to take courses that align with their post-high school career or academic plans that satisfy 1 of the arts credits and both of the world language credits. Students may apply to waive up to 2 credits for unusual circumstances.
- Students may earn .5 credit for the directed athletics requirement by participating in school sports or community based activities.
All other requirements remain the same.