Roseville tweaks graduation requirements

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 13, 2016

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ROSEVILLE — The school district officially has moved to tweak its graduation requirements following the first reading of the changes at the Roseville Community Schools Board of Education meeting Jan. 4.

Superintendent John Kment said the board needed to approve language changes in the existing requirements; specifically, the board needed to update when the rules would go into effect. The board updated the language from “students entering the ninth grade in 2012 and beyond” to “2016 and beyond.”

Other changes within the requirements are considered “rule changes” and did not require board approval, he said.

“There are policies and then there are rules,” Kment said. “Policies are required to be voted on by (the) board, and rules are changed as necessary or as it comes up by administration.”

Kment said the other big change is increasing the number of English language arts credits needed to graduate to six credits; the school previously required five.

“That is probably the biggest change, and it was highly recommended by the counselors, principal and staff of the high school,” he said.

Assistant Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski said previously that students were not required to take a full year of English classes in 11th and 12th grades, which was hurting the district when those students took state standardized tests. He said administrators also wanted to get students more prepared for college writing assignments with the additional requirements.

The district also has increased the number of elective credits needed by 0.5 credits. Additionally, the economics requirement can now be substituted with the personal economics class. Students still are required to earn 32.5 credits, out of a possible total of 36, to graduate.

The new requirements also change what is needed for students to take courses at local colleges while still in high school. Previously, students needed to have minimum scores in various ACT test subjects, whereas now they must meet district assessment requirements and get approval from the high school principal.

Blaszkowski said these assessment requirements have not been finalized at this time due to the state replacing the ACT test with the SAT.

“The high school will be taking the SAT this year instead of the ACT,” Blaszkowski said in an email. “We left it open for now and will update as we know more about the new test averages.”

College courses remain limited to academic ones, and they continue to count as high school credit.

School board President Theresa Genest asked how many credits other districts in the area require to graduate. Blaszkowski said that making a comparison is tricky, as it is based on how each district sets up its school year.

“The biggest difference is if you’re running a semester or trimester system,” Blaszkowski said. “You have to do calculations to see if we’re asking more or less (of students). On paper it looks like we have more required than others, but we run a trimester system that elevates that number.”

He said that most other districts in the area are on a semester system, though Fitzgerald High School in Warren also uses a trimester system; it requires 28 credits to graduate out of a possible total of 30. Fitzgerald also has fewer class periods per school day than Roseville.

The first reading was approved 5-0 by the board, with Board Vice President Alfredo Francesconi and Trustee Ruth Green absent. The changes would go into effect following a second reading, which was on the agenda for the Jan. 11 school board meeting. That meeting took place after press time.

All changes need to go through a graduation committee for approval or modification before they can either go into effect or be brought before the Board of Education, Kment said.

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