The South Dakota Board of Education approved new high school graduation requirements at its meeting today.
During the 2009 legislative session, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 185, which eliminated the basic, or standard, pathway to graduation – precipitating the need to reset the minimum requirements to graduate.
Highlights are as follows:
1) Students will be required to take Algebra I, Algebra II and Geometry; however, schools have the ability to waive students out of Algebra II or Geometry – but not both – if deemed appropriate. But all students will be required to take three units of math.
2) Students will be required to take Biology, a Physical Science, and Chemistry or Physics. Schools have the ability to waive students out of the Chemistry or Physics requirement. But all students will be required to take three units of lab science.
3) Districts will have the option of allowing students to receive up to one credit for extracurricular activities in the area of Fine Arts. These activities must be approved by the local Board of Education. The board did not approve the extracurricular option for Physical Education.
4) Students will be required to take one-half unit of Physical Education. And, beginning with freshmen in 2013, students will be required to take one-half unit of stand-alone health at any time grades 6-12. A district may choose to integrate health across the curriculum at the middle or high school level in lieu of a stand-alone course.
5) Beginning in 2013, students will be required to take one credit from a menu of courses that includes career and technical education, world language and a capstone experience or service learning.
The majority of the changes will begin with students entering high school as freshmen in the 2010-11 school year. Students currently in high school will be able to finish out under the existing graduation requirements or the new requirements.