The Governor Visits Mt. Hope High School
To Discuss The State’s New Diploma System
Governor Donald L. Carcieri today entered the halls of Mt. Hope High School in the Bristol Warren School District to underscore the importance of the state’s new high-school diploma system and his personal commitment to its success.
In a joint meeting with administrators, teachers, and parents, and then a separate meeting with students, the Governor and Peter McWalters, commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education spoke about their vision for the new graduation requirements and received a personal assessment of what’s working and what can be improved in the new diploma system.
“Making sure that our graduating seniors are prepared to succeed in college and the workplace was the impetus for the changes in our diploma system,” said Governor Carcieri. “I’m committed to making sure we’re off on the right foot and that our children – every child without exception - achieve their potential.”
Beginning with this year’s senior class, all Rhode Island public-school students must successfully complete a new set of graduation requirements so as to demonstrate that they have achieved proficiency in core subjects and applied learning skills, explained Commissioner McWalters.
“We’ve created a system that’s student-focused and intended to make learning more meaningful,” said Commissioner McWalters. “Our goal is to educate students who can think creatively, who can solve problems independently, who can work in groups, who can speak about their studies and their work, and who can apply their learning in real-world situations.”
"The higher education community has been directly involved in the discussions of how best to prepare Rhode Island's high school students for college," said Commissioner of Higher Education Jack R. Warner. "Our faculty participated in the development of the new grade span expectations for high school students, standards that were vetted by the Governor's PK-16 council. We feel the new graduation requirements, which are based on those grade span expectations, will help students better prepare for the rigors of college study. In addition, we expect these new requirements will help reduce the need for remediation while enhancing the opportunities for success as students progress through the higher education system," Warner said.
In order to graduate, Rhode Island students must: • Successfully complete at least 20 courses in six core areas: English, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, the arts and technology. • Participate in statewide assessments. • Successfully complete an exhibition, portfolio, or Certificate of Initial Mastery that demonstrates that they have achieved proficiency in the core content areas. (Mt. Hope High School has elected the portfolio and comprehensive course assessment.)Apply their learning to projects designed around their own interests or passions.
The schools also must meet certain expectations: • Create Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) that plot the course of study and extracurricular and other activities for all students. • Develop Personal Literacy Plans (PLP) for any student not reading on grade level. • Provide multiple and varied assessments for students learning English and for students with disabilities. • Ensure that every student is well known by at least one faculty member.
“It’s very important to me and to our state that the new diploma system works for all students,” said Governor Carcieri. “I will be visiting other high schools throughout Rhode Island over the next few months to further gauge our progress on implementing these new requirements.” The next visit is scheduled for Thursday, December 20, at Westerly High School.