Edmonds School District previews new graduation requirements for Class of 2019

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Edmonds_School_DistrictThe Class of 2019, which consists of this year’s eighth graders, faces what Edmonds School District Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Patrick Murphy describes as the “highest expectations of any class in Washington.”

But in looking ahead to what the state will require of graduates and the Edmonds School District’s current requirements, it appears that the District’s students are well-positioned to meet the state’s new Career and College Grad requirements.

Murphy compared the two during Tuesday’s Edmonds School District Board of Directors meeting.

Some of the District’s requirements for the Classes of 2015-18 already meet the state requirements for 2019. Currently, students have to take four English and three math classes, which meet the state’s 2019 requirements. The District requires 3 ½ Social Studies classes, while the state will require only three. The District requires 1 ½ Career & Technical Education classes, while the state will requires only one. The District also requires ½ of a Personal Finance class. The state has no Personal Finance requirement.

A major change is that students will need to have three Science classes. The current District requirement is two. The District is looking at potentially adding new Science courses that could include Sports Medicine, AP Environmental Science (new course) and Engineering. The District also is going to explore the feasibility of adopting Integrated Physical Science as an eighth grade Science option where students could earn high school credit.

The state will require students to earn 24 Career and College credits to graduate in 2019. The Edmonds School District’s current requirement is 22, but Murphy noted that a majority of students already are taking 24 or more credits.

Almost 70 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated with 24 or more credits. The numbers for the Class of 2013 and the Class of 2012 were 66 and 67 percent, respectively.

There are going to be some students the district will have to work with to get them to 24 credits, Murphy said.

The numbers specifically for the Science requirement are similar. For the Class of 2014, 74 percent of students took three or more Science credits. In 2013, 75 percent of students earned three or more Science credits and 72 percent of the Class of 2012 would have passed the 2019 state requirements.

Murphy also presented data for the District’s recently submitted graduation (four-year) rate for the Class of 2014. The numbers are improved from past years with 2014 being 82.5 percent. Last year, the district graduated 75.6 percent and two years ago it was 74 percent.

The 7 percent increase is statistically significant, Murphy said. A couple of percentage points can be attributed to the reclassification of the Edmonds Career Access Program, he added.

As far as the 283 non-graduates who are dropouts, the trend of the numbers is going down. In 2014, 7 percent of students fit that description (non-graduates/dropouts). A year ago, it was 9 percent and two years ago it was 10 percent.

Murphy noted that 69 percent of the non-graduate/dropouts were signed up for free and reduced lunches, double what it proportionately should be. Native American, Black, Pacific Islander and Hispanic students were all disproportionately high. Lynnwood High School had 25 percent of the non-graduate/dropouts, which isn’t surprising considering the school has more students on free/reduced lunches and is more ethnically diverse than the District’s other three mainstream high schools.

In other business:

– The Board heard a report from the Foundation for Edmonds School District. The foundation is funding a two-year after-school study table program at the District’s four middle schools. The program is available three days a week and participation ranges from 20 to 40 students. It is open to all students, but teachers are making special efforts to direct students, who are falling behind, to the program. The program is expected to grow.

The Foundation continues to help cover college placement test costs for students who have financial needs. Last year it spent $9,900 to assist 660 students. The Foundation also is paying $9,000 in tuition this year to assist high school students who are enrolled in college courses, mainly at Edmonds Community College and University of Washington.

The District’s weekend meal program is being shifted to the Foundation. The Nourishing Network is piloting distribution of food to homeless and low income students at Mountlake Terrace Elementary and Beverly Elementary Schools this week. Initially, 19 bags of food are scheduled to be distributed. The goal is to eventually provide 350 meals a week. Whole Foods, North Sound Church and Campbell Nelson VW/Nissan are partnering with the Foundation for fundraising.

The Foundation will be helping to coordinate the district’s STEM Expo, which is set for March 31. It also will be involved in the Read Across America event on Feb. 28.

The Foundation is involved in administering the District’s surplus computer program. It’s anticipated up to 400 computers will be distributed to low income students.

The Celebrate Schools! 5k Run/Walk drew about 1,110 participants, almost double last year’s number. The event was a city of Lynnwood official festival and the Foundation plans to present an appreciation plaque to the city on Nov. 10.

– The Board was briefed on the State Assessment Report, which focused on Science MSP in grades 5 and 8, Reading and Writing High School Proficiency Exam in grade 10 and Algebra and Biology EOC exams across grade levels.

Edmonds School District students on average performed as well or better than the state average in all grades and subjects except: Algebra EOC, grades 7-9; Science, grade 5 and Biology, grade 10.

District performance in grade 10 Reading has increased for three years but performance in grade 10 Writing has decreased for three years (while state performance in writing remained constant).

The District noted that about 23 percent of district seventh graders took the Algebra EOC test in spring 2014 compared to about 10 percent of seventh graders across the state.

In grade 5 Science, five out of 10 District sub-groups performed less well than their state counterparts. In grade 8 Science, all District sub-groups performed better than their state counterparts.

– The Board heard a Pre-Kindergarten report that looked to explore the relationship between Pre-Kindergarten (PreK) experience and various measures for students. The report was based on a limited sample of 790 students and the District made clear that relationships reported are correlational rather than cause/effect. Of the 790 students, 608 (77 percent) reported some PreK experience and 182 (23 percent) did not.

The District concluded that students with some PreK experience on average have higher kindergarten readiness skills than those who have no PreK experience. Gaps between students with some PreK experience and those with no Pre-K experience are much larger for students from low income homes. The group with no PreK experience had higher absenteeism in kindergarten than students with some PreK experience. The District concluded that there is a need for stronger outreach to low income parents.

– An update on the district’s English Language Learning (ELL) program detailed the growth of the program. ELL students make up 11 percent of the student population. This is 2 percent higher than the state average. As of Oct. 1, ELL students number 2,399 (1,839 elementary, 560 secondary).

The district met state performance targets in English language proficiency for AMAO 1 (making progress in learning English) and AMAO 2 (percentage of students attaining English proficiency).

But 68 percent of students that qualify for Title III or Transitional Bilingual Services 3rd-12th grade are below standard on state assessments. The District also has not met the state performance target in English language proficiency for AMAO 3 for two consecutive years. AMAO 3 is the number of students meeting AYP targets in the reading/writing and math ELL cells.

New ELL programs/services are being offered at Brier Terrace Middle School and Scriber Lake High School.

– By David Pan

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