A.F. school board encouraged to make graduation requirements more flexible

AFHS principal says current requirements beyond state mandates

by Daniel Moore
Press Staff Writer

The American Falls School District requirements for graduation are higher than the minimum required by the state, American Falls High School Principal Travis Hansen told the school board on Monday, Jan. 22. Hansen proposed changing the graduation requirements to be closer to the state requirements and to have more flexibility in the classes students need to graduate.

American Falls School District operates on a trimester system. Currently, American Falls high school students must take a math and English class every trimester to graduate. However, to meet the state requirements for graduation, they only need to take a math or English class two of the three trimesters. Hansen proposed using the third trimester for what American Falls school officials are referring to as STEAM classes, which includes classes in science, technology, engineering, arts and math. The acronym adds arts to the popular STEM series courses of study.

The students would have more leeway to take classes of their choosing in that third trimester, and teachers have more flexibility to create courses that normally do not fall under the standard fare offered at the school, Hansen said.

Not all students would be able to choose what they want that third trimester. Freshman who take the “language arts” courses instead of the regular English courses would continue with language arts the whole year. Students who take the language arts courses are often struggling with English, and they will need that extra semester to keep up, Hansen said.

On the other hand, those taking honors courses will need to take three trimesters of the math and English courses to prepare for dual enrollment classes, Hansen said. Those who want to try for college sports also need more classes to meet NCAA requirements.

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