School Board honors students with FCAT perfect score

Published: Tuesday, August 13, 2013 at 02:40 PM.

“The biggest change is the designation of the diploma,” said Gail Riley, district director of Curriculum and Instruction. The state Department of Education has set the requirements for diplomas which are designated as “merit” and “scholar,” Riley said, and the change is based on graduation requirements, including the End of Course exam scores for some subjects being changed from a must pass to counting as 30 percent of the student’s grade.

The diploma changes were mandated by the Florida Legislature, as were most of the changes to the student policies presented to the board.

the requirements for earning a standard diploma in Florida have changed due to new legislation. Students still have to pass an end-of-course exam in algebra and a standardized test in language arts, but they would no longer have to pass end-of-course exams in geometry and biology. Instead, those exams would count for 30 percent of a student's final grade in that subject.

A passing score on the biology exam would be necessary only for students wishing to add the new "scholar" designation to their diploma. Those students would also have to pass the algebra II exam, earn two credits in a foreign language and enroll in at least one college-level class, among other more rigorous requirements.

Students can also strive to add a "merit" designation to their diploma by earning industry certification in a field such as automotive technology.

“A lot of this is determined when the students are seniors, then they can look back and see what they are qualified for,” Riley said.

Superintendent Joseph Taylor told the board members they would be heading to Tallahassee Thursday morning to present the plans for the new Kate M. Smith Elementary School construction to the Department of Education in hopes of getting the project funded. The district will be one of five proposals the DOE hears Thursday, and the projects will likely be ranked that day.

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