New Graduation Requirements

Olive Ritchie, Staff Reporter

Recently, it has become apparent to community members, students, teachers, and other faculty members that the Salida High School graduation requirements need to be updated. The new block scheduling has made it so high school students can advance more quickly than they could in previous years, making graduating early much easier and creating fewer classes available for upperclassmen. 

“[The block scheduling] has resulted in Salida High School to have a three-year program that is being spread over four years. I’ve found that most students need a robust and meaningful four- year education before they go off into the world,” SHS principal Talmage Trujillo said. 

Teachers, staff members, Salida School Board of Education members, a Colorado Mountain College representative, and administrators are all working together to determine what changes to the graduation requirements are needed. They are considering input from parents, students, and community members as they make decisions. 

“From feedback from parents and students, we have a need for classes that deal with things like talking about taxes, how to manage money, how to buy a house, and advocating for yourself,” Trujillo said. 

One of the hopes with the updated graduation requirements is to tailor each student’s education to what they want to do with their life. 

“We’re looking at steps to ensure that students are as prepared as they can be to enter college, the workforce, and specialized training in industries that don’t require college. For example, if we send a student to a welding school, we want to make sure we’ve done everything we can with our resources for that student to be competitive in that school,” explained Principal Trujillo. 

The graduation requirements are not the only thing being examined at SHS. The structure of the schedule is also being considered. 

“There are a few hypothetical schedules that allow students to finish most of their required credits in two or three years, and then they could move into pathways towards whatever career they’re interested in,” SHS librarian Kate Clark said.

Salida High School is planning on gradually introducing these changes. The staff doesn’t want to completely derail the routes that students have already started to establish. 

“We’re going to have to phase these recommendations in to account for the fact that people have already started down one pathway with a certain set of rules, and we want to be sensitive and considerate about that,” Trujillo said.

The graduation requirements are being updated to help prepare students to meet the needs of the ever-changing world. 

Trujillo said, “We don’t want to keep working to prepare our students for a world that no longer exists. The most important thing to me is that they leave the school confident and with secure footing in any path they choose.”