Keystone Oaks School District News Article

Out with the old, in with the new....requirements

On June 9th, they day will come for seniors to graduate and other students in lower grades to advance to the next grade. But when it’s finally time graduate, what if your diploma was held because your requirements weren’t complete? As of recent at Keystone Oaks High School, the graduation requirements have changed from needing 120 hours of community service to 60 of community service that is job-related to whatever a student wants to do after high school, 8 artifacts in a career portfolio, and a job shadow. The question comes down to, how does a student get his or her community service hours or artifacts before graduation?

After speaking with Mrs. Scanlon, the coordinator of community service and career readiness, about what prompted the change in graduation requirements, she stated, “We realized we needed to start getting students better prepared to leave high school. We recognize it’s important know your math, English, and other sorts of skills to be successful, but more importantly, preparing you to get a job. Many students don’t know how to get a job and it's not something you learn in school.”

Statistics show that 50% of students feel unprepared to leave high school. Students need to be able to walk out of high school and know how to write a resume, get a solid job, and have plan for the future instead of graduating and going to college aimlessly. Keystone Oaks is enforcing this new change so that students won’t feel as nervous to leave high school and will have a decent steady plan ahead of them.
With these new requirements come the question of how a student is supposed to achieve these new changes without too much difficulty and good time management before graduation day.

“You could do things around the Pittsburgh area, local to Dormont, Greentree, or Castle Shannon, and different connections at school in terms of clubs. These are easy ways you could earn those 60 hours of community service. For the career portfolio, Ms. Tom and Mrs. Varrenti in the guidance office, have file folders for every student and a checklist. They will talk about the more hands-on stuff like how do you get and how do you keep the job once you get it. Your English classes will be giving you a lot of opportunities in your 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th grade year to gain your artifacts, as well. We anticipate to have at least two artifacts every year you are earning,” stated Scanlon.

These requirements will take time to get but will ultimately help students graduate and succeed.

Ms. Brooks, the English teacher for grades 10 and 11, discussed getting requirement opportunities within English classes.
“In our English classes we have things embedded in the curriculum that would already work. For instance, we write a letter of interest to someone asking for their help in some capacity and to use this as an artifact we will ask them to write us a letter of recommendation for a job. We also fill out a application like you would have at Eat n’ Park or Dairy Queen. “ 

“I wrote an essay for Mrs. Kraemer about job interest which counted as an artifact,” stated senior Jaclyn Dzvonik.

Another senior, Ryan Domalik, stated “ I am turning a copy of my certificate from Westinghouse Science Honors Institute, writing papers about college visits, writing about college fairs and job shadows. I got almost all my community service hours from Boy Scouts. I actually got 60 from my Eagle project.”

It seems that though the new requirements are time consuming they are very well possible to complete before graduation day. As long as students work on the requirements every year that he or she is at Keystone Oaks, it will make the future less abrasive because students will already be prepared for some obstacles that will come their way.

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