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Meeting and Exceeding North Carolina Graduation Requirements

Meeting and Exceeding North Carolina Graduation Requirements

Graduation rates have always been a prime indicator of education success. Reaching this bar, however, is about more than just checking a box and receiving a diploma. In recent years, the North Carolina State Board of Education has raised graduation requirements and added more focused diploma endorsements to better reflect the skills and knowledge students need for success in the workplace, community colleges, and colleges and universities. The ultimate goal is to prepare students for whatever they want to do after high school graduation.

At Edmentum, we’ve evaluated the specific graduation requirements in North Carolina, looking closely at both the courses required as well as the standards and skills that must be taught, and then aligned those specifications to the courses we offer. Let’s take an in-depth look at the investment made to our North Carolina–specific courses in the last year and how these thoughtful changes and updates support North Carolina students.

Research and Design

The first step in any new project is always research! In this case, it meant Edmentum’s Curriculum Specialists on the State Programs team in Curriculum and Assessments diving into North Carolina education and learning everything we could about graduation requirements, various diploma endorsements, and the courses that the state’s students complete in order to graduate and move on to college or careers. North Carolina requires all students to complete one of two courses of study to earn their diploma: Future-Ready Core and Future-Ready Occupational.

We put our focus on ensuring that we met the needs for students on the Future-Ready Core diploma track, looking across the various endorsements that may accompany a Future-Ready Core diploma. Future-Ready Core includes courses from the four core subject areas—mathematics, English, social studies, science—with additional credits that can be aligned to individual students’ interests or career pathways—CTE, foreign languages, AP® or IB® courses—and a number of other credit options that fall under electives in North Carolina.

From there, we compared the list of courses that students are either required to take for graduation, like English 4, or that students commonly take for graduation, like Chemistry. We created a list of courses to compare against Edmentum’s already extensive catalog. Our investment to date was already significant, having created 14 courses over the last three years that were specifically aligned to the North Carolina standards, but it was paramount that we filled in any gaps.

Existing North Carolina–specific courses included:

The list of courses that remained became the Curriculum Specialists’ charge for the next year of state-specific course development.

Course Development

Once the State Programs team had the right details on courses needed, it was time to start development! The Curriculum Specialists dove into course creation, starting with the North Carolina standards. We created course scope and sequence documents for each course that set up the structure and order of the course. Then, we designed lessons, activities, and even assessment items to support the students’ learning experience. We did all of this with North Carolina students and educators in mind—but how did we know it was right? We talked to educators!

Educator Feedback

As part of Edmentum’s “Educator First” mission, the Curriculum and Assessments department works with educators on each and every program to ensure that we are meeting and exceeding expectations for curriculum and instruction. For this project, Curriculum Specialists reached out to North Carolina educators at the high school level in many different districts, schools, and subject areas to ensure that we were following their expert advice in creating content for North Carolina. We also worked closely with the educators in Edmentum’s own virtual academy, EdOptions Academy, to verify that our new curricula would support our fully virtual learners as well. For example, Mr. Cason Justice, a World History teacher, reviewed and helped the team tweak a course activity to better fit the expectations of students and provide some student choice and scaffolding to the activity, supporting a variety of learners. Thanks to extremely valuable input and expertise from these educators, we were able to create courses that align to the North Carolina standards and support students using digital curricula in any learning environment!

By February 2019, we had created 13 NEW full-year courses just for North Carolina educators and students!

These courses, added to our already-large catalog of North Carolina courses, help students reach graduation and start their next chapter!

Interested in learning more about the courses Edmentum offers? Not only can you use our Courseware with your own teachers, but also you can leverage courses through our completely virtual academy, EdOptions Academy, which employs state-certified teachers to provide your students with even more flexible learning options. Check out our complete North Carolina course catalog.