By Alyssa Daniels
Students have been taking ISTEP since elementary school and some students are still taking this test in high school now, but now there is a new graduation pathway coming into the school when the class of 2023 enters the school. Students will no longer have to take ISTEP.
This new pathway, the Graduation Pathway, will help students get more involved in school and prepare for the future without the stress of ISTEP.
Students will have to complete a set of requirements including earning all their credits, an activity that proves employability skills and some test or activity that goes with what students want to do after high school.
The tests could include the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), American College Testing (ACT) and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) or Central Nine (C9) classes.
Although this pathway doesn’t go into effect until the class of 2023 attends WCHS, the counselors and administration are using it for seniors retaking ISTEP this year and juniors taking ISTEP nest year. WCHS counselor Shannon Fritz explained how this will help juniors and seniors.
“…We are allowed to switch upperclassmen to graduation pathways, which could mean students can stop retesting ISTEP. There is a plan for the counseling office to talk to seniors about switching to graduation pathways once we are through this current session of ISTEP retesting,” Fritz said. “Juniors will most likely test ISTEP again in the spring and then look at switching to graduation pathways.”
This new pathway will get students more involved in the school and the community all together, which is also what employers look for when looking for a employee. Peer and PCC teacher Krista Mann explained how this pathway will help students in the future.
“Based upon my past experience working with employers across the state and schools, I know that employers appreciate and look for students who can demonstrate employability skills, critical thinking, and contribute to the school and community,” Mann said.
For the pathway, there is no change from how many credits students must have to graduate. According to Fritz the school “…will be trying to add a cadet teaching program, expanding our senior internship program and expanding some class offerings in the business department.”
English teacher Brooke Fuentes has taught all grades (9-12) so she has been able to see how students manage their grades and their plan for after high school. With that, Fuentes explained the positive of the new graduation pathway.
“I think it has some positive parts. I like that it acknowledges that not every student’s goal is college after high school. I also like that it stresses the importance of non-academic skills like the employability skills part,” Fuentes said. “Our students are currently leaving high school and struggling in college or at their jobs because they don’t have the soft skills they need to survive; things like perseverance, study skills, responsibility, etc.”
This new graduation pathway is being integrated in the future so it can help students not have to take ISTEP anymore and help with their futhering each students’ career after high-school. This new diploma should also get students more involved..