Carroll High School Principal Brandon Bitting knows the state's new graduation requirements can be overwhelming.
That's why he plans to ease families into the expectations at freshman orientation in February. He plans to take a “bite-size” approach in explaining the mandates.
“I don't want to panic people,” Bitting told the Northwest Allen County Schools board Monday.
Thursday marks a year since the State Board of Education voted 7-4 to institute additional graduation requirements despite hours of testimony against the plan.
Starting with the class of 2023 – the current eighth-graders – students must demonstrate workforce skills and postsecondary-ready competencies along with earning course credits.
Carroll has condensed a 58-page document detailing the new system into a one-page checklist for students.
The checklist has three main components, but Bitting plans to focus on only one at orientation night: the courses students will take. Explaining how students may fulfill the two other elements can wait, he said.
“We're not going to worry,” Bitting said. “We've got time.”
He did, however, provide the school board with an overview.
While Bitting explained various ways students can fulfill the employability skills portion – including participating in an extracurricular activity that also has a community service component – board Vice President Elizabeth Hathaway questioned the logistics.
“Who charts all this?” she asked.
Carroll created an employability skills verification form for students to complete as documentation that they fulfilled the requirement, said Bitting, who brought samples.
The extra paperwork involved will likely lead to additional staffing to help reduce the burden on guidance counselors, Superintendent Chris Himsel said, which the board would approve.