Blog Posts, Ohio Graduation Series

What’s Up with Ohio’s New Graduation Requirements

Last week I attended the State Board of Education meeting for additional insight into Ohio’s New Graduation Requirements. Below are some important updates.  

Clarification on Industry Credentials (when used as competency alternative)

State Diploma Seals

  • Prior to issuing official guidance on Diploma Seals, the State Board of Education must approve a resolution establishing a ‘state system of diploma seals,’ per HB166.  The Integrated Student Supports (ISS) committee reviewed the seals, and some of the basic guidance last week. The committee also unanimously approved the resolution to establish a ‘state system of diploma seals’.  During its next meeting (December 10-11, 2019), the full Board is expected to vote on the resolution. Once that step has been taken, then ODE can begin rolling out guidance.  
  • ODE staff reiterated to the ISS committee that guidance is not yet ready for the Technology Seal, Industry Recognized Credential Seal and Military Seal because those seals require additional stakeholder review and reflection prior to consideration by the State Board of Education.  If you need a quick refresher on draft guidance regarding the Diploma Seals, check out Task Force considers draft diploma seal guidance

Local Diploma Seals

  • The ISS committee had a great conversation about local diploma seals.  Members supported a balanced approach that will ensure rigor while at the same time staying true to the fact that the local diploma seals really are ‘locally designed’.  At the upcoming Task Force meeting (November 25), ODE plans to share examples of ‘model’ local seals and draft guidance to help districts understand their responsibilities and flexibility when developing these seals.  
  • Over the last couple of months districts and ESCs have been asking for information on how to design local seals. We have also seen that some districts have already had their Boards approve local seals.  Unless your district has students in the Class of 2020 that you are ‘rolling’ to the NEW graduation requirements, EEP cautions leaders not to jump ahead of the guidance. There is NOT an urgency for policy on local diploma seals.  We see this as an opportunity for districts to think outside of the box – instead of simply checking the box – when creating your local diploma seals so they reflect the uniqueness of your community and the youth you serve. 

Managing Student Data for the New Graduation Requirements

ISS committee members asked pointed questions regarding support for schools, in particular for high school counselors, to manage and track data like the newly required graduation plans and plans for supporting at-risk youth, 250 hours of work-based learning, and diploma seals.  Department staff acknowledged this challenge and mentioned they are having conversations with counselors, ITCs and vendors on this very subject. The Department is not likely to recommend vendors or products, but they are convening interested parties to clearly articulate what schools need to monitor.  This will allow vendors and ITCs to ensure the services they design are well-aligned with school needs. 

Proactive companies, like our colleagues at Learning Circle Software, are paying attention. Learning Circle offers a robust learning and data management system that will allow all schools and community partners to collectively: a) identify risk and growth opportunities for children early and connect them with targeted interventions or programs in schools or in the community; b) manage both the intervention itself and the communication process between school staff and program partners (for each child); and c) measure the overall impact for educators and community leaders to inform future program goals and investments. 

Don’t forget – Register NOW for an Operation Graduation 2.0 Design Lab in your region.  We currently have Design Labs scheduled in Marietta, Hamilton, Urbana, Archbold, and Sandusky.  Design labs in Central Ohio and Northeast Ohio are in the works, so stay tuned.