What now?

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So, over the last couple of days I have gotten some rather distressing news regarding my daughter and her high school graduation. Suddenly, graduating on time is in question, which up to this point it was not.

She is, for the most part, on track to graduate on time. She is heading into the second semester of her senior year and she is in progress of completing her final credits. She has been doing Running Start at the local community college and enjoying those classes too. Her grades aren’t going to light the world on fire, but she is very successful in the areas of interest and moderately successful in areas that aren’t so much.

Well, two days ago it was brought to our attention that she still needed to fulfill an additional requirement to meet the state standard in math. She didn’t meet the state standard her sophomore year and because of the pandemic they did not administer the test last year and it looks like they won’t again this year. So, she took a third year of math thinking that would satisfy the requirement since she didn’t pass the test in her sophomore year.

Now we find out that wasn’t enough.

According to her counselor, she needs to take the ACT and pass that with a certain score or she needs to take the college math placement test and then take and pass a college level math course.

SAY WHAT?

My daughter has struggled with math for three years. She has managed to get over the bar each time, but there were times that bar was wobbling, so to speak, and passing the class wasn’t totally a certainty. So, to see that she has more math to do isn’t a pleasant surprise.

Being realistic, she likely wouldn’t score high enough on the ACT to get credit that way and taking the college placement test will likely qualify her for a remedial level course, not a college level course, so she won’t be able to complete the requirement going that route in the last quarter of her final high school semester.

NOW WHAT?

Here’s the problem: We are just finding this out now. NOW!?!?

I called the high school counselor to ask why we were just finding this out now. He seemed a bit perplexed as to why I was asking. REALLY? Your job as the counselor is to make sure your students know what is needed to make it graduation. As it turns out, he never met with each senior before their senior year to outline the steps they needed to take care of to meet their graduation requirements. So his seniors didn’t get an individualized consultation looking at their progress and future path forward, that would have had an individualized plan laid out for each one of them.

WTF?

I taught high school history for 15 years and most of those years were to juniors and seniors. I can’t think of a time when the seniors hadn’t met with the counselor before their senior year so they knew exactly what needed to be done going into their senior year. My students always had that meeting. It was standard procedure at the school.

To my surprise, this doesn’t happen at my daughter’s school. In fact, it sounds like they have never even considered it as part of their aid to helping students graduate. REALLY? So how many other seniors are in the position of not graduating because of this? Granted it may not be a large number, but is should be a number that equals zero. Is this guy incompetent? Is he stupid? Does he really even know what his job is? Honestly, that pretty much his whole job – meet with students and help them plan their path to graduation. How does this not happen?

If we had known at the beginning of the year, going into her senior year, we could have made sure she took the high school level course that was offered at the school. Or, we could have made sure she took the college placement test, taken a lower level math course, and then progressed into a college level course naturally. Instead, we didn’t know this and we are left scrambling to figure out a way to make it happen. (Or, we cross our fingers and hope the state waives the requirement for this year like they did for last year – right now it looks like the Class of 2021 will have done a full year and a half of online learning.)

Needless to say, my frustration level is quite high. Not just for my own daughter, but for others who are in the same boat.

Waiting till the last minute to lay out this news is piss poor work. You had one job and you sucked at it. Get your crap together for next year. It may be too late for my daughter and others, but at least you could fix your crap for those who come after.

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