Maintaining Your District’s Compliance with Ohio Graduation Requirements
Table of Contents
- What are the seals in the Ohio Graduation Requirements?
- State & Local Seals
- How to Maintain Compliance with Ohio Graduation Requirements?
- Final Thoughts
Ohio State developed various pathways to graduation based on the foundational understanding that no students are alike. The hallmark of these new graduation requirements is the introduction of “Diploma Seals”. Seals are obtained as evidence that the student is ready for their next steps in education or career. There are a number of State and Local seals that students can use to customize their graduation pathway. In the past, all students would earn credits through coursework, and then choose from 3 pathways that were largely based on test scores. For the classes of 2023 and beyond, the State Department of Education delineated the graduation requirements into 3 areas:
Course Credits – earn required credits in specific subjects through coursework
Demonstrate Competency – earn competency score on State tests or can choose alternative demonstrations, which include College Credit Plus, career-focused activities or military enlistment.
Demonstrate Readiness – earn minimum 2 Seals that allow students to demonstrate one or more of the following: academic and technical knowledge, professional skills, social and emotional competencies, or learner and reasoning skills. At least one of the Seals have to be State-defined.
These new additions: Demonstrate Competency and Demonstrate Readiness are top of mind for all parents of students who entered 9th grade between July 1, 2019-beyond. Also, each district may have more graduation requirements that are specific to them.
Under the umbrella of Demonstrate Readiness, there are 12 Diploma Seals to choose from. The idea behind these new seals is to recognize that students have individual experiences, strengths and pursuits after high school.
With a little less than two years to go, you face an uphill task to ensure that your district complies with these changes. One of the biggest challenges ahead is being able to track each student’s progress throughout their high-school years and identify any gaps.
But before we discuss how you can maintain your district’s compliance with the new Ohio graduation requirements, let’s take a quick look at what exactly are these seals.
What are the Seals in the Ohio Graduation Requirements?
Ohio created 12 seals that can be used to demonstrate the technical, academic, and professional readiness of the students in the state. These seals also give the students a chance to demonstrate their “soft skills” in multiple ways rather than looking for academic mastery alone.
Every seal works as a stamp of approval for the student. Along with the state seals, the Ohio government also allowed each district to come up with local seals. To be eligible for a diploma, the student needs to have a minimum of two seals — at least one seal must be State-defined.
Ohio Means Jobs-Readiness Seal – demonstration of work-readiness and professional competencies.
State Seal of Biliteracy – achieve proficiency in both English and one other world language.
Industry-Recognized Credential Seal – earn a 12-point approved industry-recognized credential or group of credentials totalling 12 points in a single career field.
College-Ready Seal – earn remediation-free scores on SAT or ACT.
Military Enlistment Seal – provide evidence that a student has enlisted in a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces; or Participate in an approved JROTC program
Technology Seal – (1) earn a score equivalent to proficient or more in the IB or AP exam. (2) earn a final course grade equivalent to “B” or more in a class taken through the College Credit Plus program. (3) complete a course offered through the school or district that meets the guidelines.
Citizenship Seal – (1) earn a proficient or higher score on American history and American government end-of-course exams. (2) earn a score equivalent to proficiency in the IB or AP. (3) earn a final course grade of “B” or higher in appropriate classes taken through the College Credit Plus program.
Science Seal – (1) earn a proficient or higher score on the biology end-of-course exam. (2) earn a score equivalent to proficiency in the IB or AP exam. (3) earn a final course grade of “B” or higher in appropriate classes taken through the College Credit Plus program.
Community Service Seal – complete a community service project in accordance with the guidelines adopted by the school district’s local board of education or school governing authority.
Student Engagement Seal – participate in extracurricular activities like athletics, clubs, or student government to a meaningful extent.
Fine and Performing Arts Seal – demonstrate skills in the fine or performing arts according to the guidelines adopted by the school district’s local board of education or school governing authority.
State law directs the guidelines for these seals be set by districts and schools.
How to Maintain Compliance with Ohio Graduation Requirements
While the seals aren’t mandatory for the classes of 2021 and 2022, they will be for the classes of 2023 and beyond. To avoid hiccups, it’s essential that your district starts preparing to implement the seals in the education system right away. This will ensure that you can comply with the Ohio graduation requirements well in time. Here’s how you can go about it.
1. Track Student Progress
One of the biggest challenges that your district might face while implementing the new requirements related to Diploma Seals is that of tracking the progress and associated documentation of every student in one place. Some Seals require validation forms from multiple mentors and community partners, while other Seals need to show the number of hours completed over time. A single view of the student is so important to determine if they have managed to satisfy all the criteria set by existing Ohio law, code or board policy.
While your SIS is equipped to handle the State-defined Seals, clevr can make the process of managing Local Seals simpler for you and for students. The best part about this capability offered by clevr is that every form that’s associated with each student automatically follows them over time, even if they change schools. This makes it easy for you to track their progress, even incoming students from other schools.
Each district or school must maintain appropriate records to identify students who have met the requirements. A robust, easy to use system will be critical to accomplishing this.
2. Create Seal Forms to Support Students
One of the most important functions of a district is managing student records. This process can be challenging and the lack of an enterprise solution forces districts and schools to store all this data in physical form or downloadable form that are not directly associated with the student. Even when it comes to digitizing them, many districts leverage traditional documentation tools such as Microsoft Office Suite or PDF that have no built-in workflow and do not comply with student data privacy laws.
That’s why clevr introduced integrated forms. These forms facilitate data versioning and also help with historical records management. Additionally, these forms are automated. As a result, student demographic information is already prepopulated and role-based permissions ensure that data is kept secure and only visible to individuals that have the right access levels.
Using an enterprise-grade solution, you can establish consistency across all the schools in your district. At the same time, you can centralize all the student data. As a result, you’ll be able to confidently determine if a student satisfies the established criteria for Seals or not.
Additionally, data centralization makes it easy to manage the data and also improves its security. Furthermore, you can set up and maintain protocols to ensure that the student data remains secure even when you’re granting access to the parents and support team members.
While there’s still some time before the new additions to the Ohio graduation requirements require full compliance, districts need to be prepared.
With so many new options for students to successfully graduate, this added flexibility needs to be met with an equally flexible system to assist schools in tracking each student’s progress, compliance, and completion, in accordance with the Ohio Department of Education guidelines.
clevr is a robust, easy to configure and use software solution that can support schools and students with transparent information related to Ohio Local Seals management. Easily track community service hours, extracurricular activities and attendance, plus provide opportunities for student / parent reflection and input. Introduce automated workflows specifically aligned to guidance counselors, and enhanced reporting capabilities to ensure every student is on track for graduation, with a unified student profile.
Consider adopting a new approach to ensure that your district complies with the new requirements. By incorporating an enterprise-grade solution like clevr that’s specifically designed for K-12, you can seamlessly migrate your existing forms and workflow to a proven system.