The Kodiak Island Borough School District Board of Education voted unanimously to begin a review of the graduation requirements at Kodiak High School.

According to Superintendent Larry LeDoux, the current graduation requirements are outdated and may leave students unprepared for the job market.

The review will be conducted by a “diverse group of community members,” according to a document discussed by the school board during a meeting Monday. The document states that membership will be comprised of school board members, parents, students, community leaders, workforce professionals, educators, military personnel and Department of Labor and employment experts.

LeDoux said he does not have an exact number of committee members in mind, but emphasized the importance of getting diverse perspectives, and suggested that the committee may be divided into subcommittees that review different aspects of the graduation requirements.

According to a draft schedule for the review process, the committee members will be appointed in September. The committee will then develop, distribute and analyze surveys for students and community members. The committee will make its recommendations to the board in February, followed by public hearings in March, and final board approval in April.

The document further states that data collection will include a community survey that seeks to find out the strengths and weaknesses of Kodiak High School graduates, and a survey of high school graduates asking how well Kodiak High School prepared them for work and further education. 

LeDoux emphasized that if different requirements are adopted, they would be phased in gradually, so current high school students will not face abrupt changes in their graduation requirements.

The current requirement for high school graduation in Kodiak is earning a total of 24.5 credits, which include four credits in English, three credits in science, 1.5 credits in physical education, one credit in health, three credits in mathematics, one credit in career technology and eight elective credits. 

Student Advisory Representative Micah Fields, a sophomore at Kodiak High School, supported the requirement review.

“I see a lot of seniors with four open periods,” he said. “I think more graduation requirements would be a good thing in general.”

LeDoux said new graduation requirements may include skill acquisition expectations, rather than specific coursework. He noted that new requirements may relate to fields such as geography, civics, arts, lifelong health and career and technical development.

“We want to ensure that all of our students are ready for the world after high school,” he said. “The world is changing. We need to look at the skills that students need.”

He said the projected timeline for the committee is ambitious, adding that the committee will work efficiently to complete the review by the end of the school year. 

“It needs to be a tight schedule because it’s critical work,” he said. “Everything we do is designed to prepare kids for the world after school.”

Community members interested in joining the committee may contact the main office of the school district to complete a brief application.

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