LPS prepares for new graduation standards
April 2008, Governor Granholm signed into law the most comprehensive
set of high school graduation requirements in the nation. The new law
outlining the Michigan Merit Plan (MMPlan) will impact every student who
attends a public high school beginning with this year’s eighth graders.
Three part plan
plan is comprised of three components: the Michigan Merit Curriculum,
which calls for increased credit hours required for graduation; High
School Course Content Expectations, which form the basis for what will
be taught in every course; and the Michigan Merit Exam, which will
replace the existing high school MEAP test.
MMPlan’s first component will see the number of required credits in core
curriculum areas for graduation from LPS jump from 12 to 16 for next
year’s freshmen. The impact on future elective opportunities for
students is to be determined. A comparison of the district’s current
requirements in each of the four core academic areas reveals the need to
increase credit requirements by a half credit to one-and-a-half
credits, depending on the subject area.
For example, LPS
currently requires 3.5 credits in English Language Arts (ELA) to
graduate. The new system calls for 4.0 credits. In mathematics the jump
is higher, with the state mandating 4.0 credits as opposed to the
current 2.5 credits required by the district. Courses must include
Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II and a math credit taken during the
In science and social studies the difference between
the state and the district is only .5 credits, with the state requiring
3.0 as opposed to the current 2.5 credits in LPS. Mandated science
courses will include biology, chemistry and/or physics plus one
additional science credit. The state’s social studies curriculum calls
for classes in civics, economics, and geography integrated in US History
and world history.
The district and the state match up in the
area of health & physical education requiring a total of 1.0 credit.
But the district will need to add 1.0 credit in visual, performing and
applied arts; 2.0 credits in world languages, beginning with the
graduating class of 2016; and an online learning experience.
the second component of the plan, the state is providing high school
course content expectations as the basis of what students will learn. To
date, course content expectations for ELA, mathematics, science, and
the online learning experience have been released, with the promise for
social studies by spring 2007. Content expectations in health &
physical education, visual/performing/applied arts, and world languages
are still being written.
Financial implications for the district
will be significant, since changing sequence of courses and their
content will require new textbooks and instructional materials to be
purchased in all content
areas as well as teacher training, according to Sheila Alles, director of Academic Services.
final component of the plan introduces the new three day Michigan Merit
Exam (MME), designed to replace the existing high school MEAP in
According to Alles, the district is embracing the
challenge to implement the mandated changes with active planning and
preparation. District curriculum coordinators in all subject areas have
formed staff committees to study content expectations to align our
courses with the state model, review materials, devise professional
training opportunities for teachers and research best practices for
teaching the subject areas.