Curriculum FAQ

 

Michigan Merit Curriculum Frequently Asked Questions

 The following information was compiled in response to questions frequently asked by parents and students.

1. What are the district’s new high school graduation requirements?

The district’s new high school graduation requirements were adopted as a result of the state’s new Michigan Merit Curriculum. They are applicable for the Class of 2011 and beyond as follows:

4.0 English Language Arts
1.0 English Language Arts 9
1.0 English Language Arts 10
1.0 English Language Arts 11
1.0 English Language Arts 12

4.0 Mathematics
1.0 Geometry
1.0 Algebra 1
1.0 Algebra 2
1.0 Math or Math-Related Course

3.0 Science
1.0 Biology
1.0 Chemistry
1.0 Physics or Physical Science

3.0 History/Social Studies
1.0 World History
1.0 U.S. History
.5 American Government
.5 Economics

1.0 Visual, Performing Arts
1.0 Visual, Performing and/or Applied Arts

1.0 Health/Physical Education
.5 Health
.5 Physical Education

10 Hours Online Experience (will be included in academic courses)

 

2. How will these new requirements affect students?

For many students who already plan on taking the credits required by Livonia Public Schools, things will change very little with one exception; students may now earn graduation credits prior to entering high school.

Students will continue to be able to earn credit through Career and Technical Education courses, by testing out, and Dual Enrollment college classes not offered by their high school. For other students, it may change the courses they plan to take and may introduce them to new subjects such as Algebra and Biology.

3. Can I still take the electives I want?

Our district requires a minimum of 23 credits to graduate, of which 16 are from courses required by the Michigan Merit Curriculum. This allows students to choose up to seven elective credits.

Planning is key. Students pursuing a specialized area of study, such as music or science, should work closely with their school counselor to ensure they develop an Educational Development Plan that will accommodate their interests.

4. If my child fails a course required for graduation, what options are available to make up the credit?

There are several options available. A student may:

  • Enroll in a summer school course.
  • Take one of the 7 th hour courses that are offered on a limited basis.
  • Sign up for a night school class.
  • Repeat the course during the school day.

As other options become available they will be communicated to students/parents. Students can contact their counselor for more information.

5. How many years of world language are required?

Two credits of a world language will be required beginning with the graduating class of 2016. Students are not required to fulfill this requirement until then. Students may begin to fulfill this requirement through world language courses at the middle school level.

Some colleges/universities may have a world language requirement. Students are encouraged to contact the college/university directly.

Students who are fluent in reading, writing and speaking a language other than English should contact their guidance counselor for an exemption to this requirement.

6. Is there a computer course requirement in order to graduate?

No. The Michigan Merit Curriculum guidelines from the Michigan Department of Education for online learning require that students:

  • Take an online course, OR
  • Participate in an online experience, OR
  • Participate in online experiences incorporated into each of the required credit courses of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Livonia Public Schools has opted to include a minimum of six hours in a structured online learning activity in the ELA, math, science and social studies courses that comprise our graduation requirements. In this experience, students will utilize technology with Internet-based tools and resources as the delivery method for instruction, research, assessment and/or communication.

7. Are special education students required to complete the Michigan Merit Curriculum?

Special education students are general education students first, and by law, must be given access to, and support for success in, the general curriculum. Studies show all students learn and achieve more when they take a challenging curriculum rather than low-level courses.

All students receiving special education services in Michigan must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that details the appropriate education plan outlining modifications, accommodations, and support for student success.

In addition, the law states that districts may allow a parent or legal guardian to request a personal curriculum for the student that modifies some of the Michigan Merit Curriculum requirements and/or subject area content expectations of the required courses.

8. What types of support are available for students who may struggle with Algebra 2?

Several options are available:

  • Algebra 2 is taught over three semesters.
  • Incorporating Algebra 2 content through Livonia Career/Technical Center courses.
  • After-school math support.

Students should consult their guidance counselor for the option that best meets their needs.

 

9. What is a “test out," and when will they be available?

The state allows districts to grant high school credit in any course required for graduation if the student earns a qualifying score on the assessment developed by the school district. The assessment is called “test out.” It measures the student’s understanding of the subject area content expectations for each course.

Currently, the district is in the process of creating a “test out” beginning with ninth grade courses and continuing until a test is developed for all required courses. Once the test outs are developed, they will be available to students outside of the school year, probably in June 2009 for a fee. Specific details will be disseminated once the “test outs” are available for administration.

10. What is available to students through the 7 th Hour Option?

For 2008-09, Health will be offered during the first semester to students in grades 10-12 and Personal Fitness will be offered during the second semester to all students. These courses will also be offered during the normal school day.

Beginning with the 2009-10 school year, American Government and Economics will be offered during seventh hour, in addition to the courses previously mentioned.

11. Can a student take Health/PE in summer school or before entering high school?

Students may take Health or Physical Education through the summer school program after ninth grade for Personal Fit and after tenth grade for Health.

Student may not earn high school credit for Health and Personal Fit prior to entering high school.

12. Does a student have to take the preliminary course like Biology, prior to AP Biology?

Yes. A student needs to take Biology before AP Biology. For students who are interested in taking AP classes, it is likely they will have fewer electives in their schedule.

13. How will the parochial students have the Algebra 1 credit assigned to their transcript?

Students should contact their high school guidance counselor for information on this topic.

14. What can parents do to help students succeed with this new curriculum?

Expect your child to achieve and succeed. The more you expect, the more they will learn.

Beginning in seventh grade, students work with their middle school to develop a career and high school planning document called an Educational Development Plan (EDP). The EDP will help guide their scheduling choices and explore various career pathways.

Get involved and stay involved. When parents are actively involved, kids do better in school. Be a partner with each teacher. Teachers need your cooperation to do a first-class job. Together, you can help your child have a great school year. Help your child establish a study routine in a quiet area at home. Most importantly, be supportive.

For more information, please contact your school guidance counselor.