Panicked or Purposeful: How are you planning for Ohio’s new graduation requirements?

As a former high school principal of both a traditional high school (Maysville – Go Panthers!) and a dropout recovery high school (Foxfire ROCKS), my blood pressure skyrockets over changing graduation requirements. When wearing those hats, I too experienced sleepless nights because my mind refused to stop worrying about how the changes would affect MY kids.  Regularly, I now can hear my friends and colleagues shouting “For crying out loud! The law changed in July. It’s November – I can’t keep waiting for guidance. I have to prepare my kids and staff. My counselors already started conversations about next year’s master schedule!” (Well, this is the G-rated version, anyway.)

… And so begins the panicked planning.  

Following my conversations with Ohio Department of Education staff members and my attendance at the state’s High School Graduation Requirement and High School Redesign Task Force, I can’t stress enough the need for high school and district leaders to STOP * BREATHE * PURPOSEFULLY PLAN.   

The Department is working at a furious pace to provide guidance for these changes.  But it can’t be instantaneous. Each new requirement affects not only the life of every young person in Ohio, but also many other state policies such as: assessment requirements, teacher evaluation, local report cards, and services for English learners and students with disabilities. In order to ensure the guidance we receive is accurate – the first time – it must be vetted through multiple departments, legal staff, and many stakeholders. Ultimately, resulting policy changes will have to be approved by the State Board of Education.

While I understand the need for information and the urge to start planning, I caution school and district leaders about making big decisions based on assumptions.  We just don’t have all the information we need. Panicked planning risks limited resources – time, energy, funding, partner engagement – if assumptions turn out to be wrong. It could also lead to communications nightmares.

Instead, EnvisionEdPlus recommends some strategies for purposeful planning that can help you be more strategic with the information available now. 

  1. Attend MORE than one roll-out session offered by your ESC or other regional partners. 
    • The new requirements are complex and will require you to think differently about how you prepare students for their next step in life. 
    • Dozens of administrators have told us that they didn’t understand the significant nuances of the requirements immediately. It wasn’t until they reviewed the requirements multiple times, that they fully comprehended changes. 
  2. Understand YOUR Data to determine the impact of the new requirements.  
    • What percentage of our students are likely to demonstrate ELA and math competence by just taking their EOC once? Twice? 
    • What percentage of our students are likely to enlist in the US armed forces? 
    • What percentage of our students are NOT likely to demonstrate competence in grade 9-10 on EOCs, but might succeed in CCP coursework in 11-12th grades? 
    • What percentage of our students could demonstrate career readiness through a CTE pathway? 
    • What the heck is a registered apprenticeship? A pre-apprenticeship? Is this something we should be doing? 
    • What industry credentials do we already offer?  What are the in-demand job needs of our region? Are there aligned industry credentials that might be beneficial for our students?  How can we partner with industry to create opportunities? 
  3. Watch for Guidance through newsletters and social media.
  4. Collaborate with others in your region to ‘unpack’ the requirements and develop purposeful plans. 
    • ODE’s guidance on locally defined diploma seals is coming. When it arrives, start collaborative planning with your ESC, Business Advisory Council or another organization. 
    • Some local seals that have been already adopted by local boards of education might not be in line with legislative intent.  Local seals should be competency-based and honor the experiences of students in your school and local community. 
    • Attend an Operation Graduation 2.0 Design Lab to co-plan with districts across the region. We are partnering with ESCs across the state so  teams can learn from schools that are already doing aligned work – and avoid their pitfalls. Meet experts in the field – industry partners, military recruiters, apprenticeship designers and others who can inform your plans. Events will begin in December as ODE rolls out guidance and will continue throughout the spring. 
    • Schedule a 2-3 day design institute for your school or district. EnvisionEdPlus will facilitate purposeful planning to guide your district (or school) through planning steps so you are ready to successfully roll out the new requirements by fall 2020.  

Just remember, to avoid panicked planning you need to

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Image Course Description Price Created On Last Updated On categories_ID
Supporting Families (Level 1) Consider the differences between engaging and supporting eight types of parents or family members you might encounter. Reflect on your past experiences with each of those types. Create and implement an action plan to improve your support for families who need it. 0.00 2020/07/17 2022/03/24 6
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 1) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of STEAM integration (design thinking) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. Two “office hours” will be available to chat with the instructor and others enrolled in this course. 0.00 2021/01/09 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 1) The brain is constantly changing and molding in response to the environment. These changes impact student learning. This is especially true in terms of trauma. This training is designed to help participants learn what goes on in the brain and how they can set up a learning environment for each of the students in their class. 0.00 2021/01/30 2022/03/24 4
STEAMing Up Literacy (Level 2) The content in this course is designed to begin your understanding of Problem Based Learning(PBL) and apply this knowledge to your own classroom. You will have the opportunity to implement a mini lesson and receive feedback about your lesson. 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
High Quality Literacy Instruction (Level 1 & 2) Core content includes an overview of Ohio’s Plan to Raise Literacy Achievement, evidence-based literacy practices, and resources and tools for literacy instruction. Participants will create, implement and improve two classroom-based literacy strategies (in-person, blended or remote). 0.00 2021/02/23 2022/03/24 5
Supporting Families (Level 2) In Engaging Families Through Support - Level 1, you learned about eight types of parents/caregivers and reflected on your past experiences with each type, culminating in a plan to better engage specific types as partners in their children's education. During this 8-hour asynchronous course you will delve deeper in your understanding of the eight types of parents/caregivers by speaking with individual family members you work with, discovering what they need from you and your program, and implementing an action plan informed by the actual families you serve. Doing so will give you sustainable skills and strategies to build stronger family engagement year after year. 0.00 2021/03/07 2022/03/30 6
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 1) Differentiation is effective instruction that is responsive to the learner’s preferences, interests and their readiness. It could be explained as a framework for thinking about your teaching and your student’s learning. This course discusses differentiation as an effective teaching tool. Included are many resources and strategies to help meet the learning needs of each student. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies and resources to adapt lessons to meet the needs of each student in their classrooms. 0.00 2021/03/18 2022/03/24 5
Trauma Brain (Level 2) This course gives an advanced understanding of the brain. including differences between “active” and “relational” based brains, trauma-related behaviors, and strategies to reach and teach trauma-impacted students so that they can re-engage in learning. Participants will learn about the range of thinking that a brain does, explore how students fit into the range of thinking, and discover healthy ways of engaging the full range of thinking. 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 4
Differentiated & Engaged Instruction (Level 2) This 8-hour, self-paced course is facilitated by Laurie Trotter, an EnvisionEdPlus Instructional Specialist. The course explores advanced differentiation as an effective instructional method that is responsive to the learner’s preferences and interests. Create, implement, and improve a lesson plan to engage all learners. Participants will learn through various articles, videos, examples, strategies, and resources to be able to be proficient in starting to adapt lessons to meet all needs of students in their classroom. Prerequisite: Differentiated and Engaged Instruction (Bronze Badge). 0.00 2021/05/31 2022/03/24 5
Creativity Belongs in the Classroom (Level 1) Encourage lifelong learning, improve focus, reduce anxiety and enhance thinking in your classroom or program. Creativity is a learned and trained process for getting the most out of higher level thinking and problem solving of your students. Learn how to embed creativity easily into your lessons, using strategies that will help unlock your students ability to be innovative thinkers and problem solvers. This course is appropriate for anyone who works with youth and also satisfies the HQPD Gifted competencies of A, B, and D. 0.00 2022/01/14 2022/04/10 5

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