Board of Education Approves New Graduation Requirements to Foster Postsecondary Success for CPS Students 

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
Phone: 773-553-1620
CHICAGO - The Chicago Board of Education today unanimously approved the addition of three new high school graduation requirements that will better prepare students for college, career and the rest of their lives. The new requirements include a more rigorous sequence of science courses designed to equip students for STEM fields, a robust and consistent financial education course, and Learn.Plan.Succeed, an initiative to ensure that every CPS student graduates with a plan for postsecondary success.

“Every time we raise the bar for Chicago’s students, they succeed and exceed our greatest expectations,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We have a responsibility to set our students up for continued success so that high school is a milestone and not a destination. These efforts are a natural outgrowth of years of successful and record-breaking academic progress, and will help to ensure that students have the tools they need to succeed after high school.”

Since 2011, CPS student achievement outcomes have dramatically improved, with students achieving record high rates of graduation, college enrollment, and SAT scores. Mayor Emanuel and CPS are committed to continuing to support new resources, policies and goals that further drive the record achievement our schools have made. Through these new standards, CPS will help foster postsecondary success for all of the District’s students.  

“CPS is laser-focused on establishing high standards and supports needed to ensure our students are competitive and prepared for the college and career of their choice," said CPS Chief Education Officer Dr. Janice K. Jackson. “By establishing stronger graduation requirements designed to prepare students for success in the 21st Century, we are fostering equity, quality and consistency of standards and guidelines for all high schools and all graduates.”  
Summary of New Graduation Requirements: 
Learn.Plan.Succeed. This graduation requirement will help guide postsecondary success for students by requiring that they work with their schools to develop plans for life after graduation. CPS is the first large urban district in the country to implement this groundbreaking proposal, which many CPS schools have successfully implemented on their own.
Working with the Mayor, CPS is raising approximately $1 million in funding from the philanthropic and business communities to provide eight additional college and career coaches so that every Network has a dedicated specialist. Additionally, CPS will provide critical training for all counseling to obtain the Chicago College Advising Credential (CCAC).
Implementation: Class of 2020
Summary of Changes: Requires students to provide evidence of a postsecondary plan in order to graduate, including:
College acceptance letter received and returned
Military acceptance/enlistment letter
Acceptance into a job program (i.e., coding boot camp)
Acceptance into a trades pre-apprenticeship/apprenticeship
Acceptance into a “Gap-Year” program
Current job/job offer letter
Waivers will be developed to accommodate students with  extenuating circumstances

Science Curriculum:
In order to ensure that all students receive a robust science education that prepares them for STEM jobs, CPS has realigned its science requirements and sequencing to provide a more comprehensive and consistent curriculum. The new guidelines will require 1 credit each in biology, chemistry and physics.  
The new requirement ensures that all students have access to college preparatory coursework that is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which have been adopted by the state of Illinois. This new requirement will better prepare students for the SAT, college courses and careers in STEM. 
Currently, all high school students are required to earn 3.0 credits in science, including 1 credit in biology and 2 credits in other lab sciences. Under the new requirement, students will still earn 3 science credits, but they must earn 1 credit in biology, 1 credit in chemistry and 1 credit in physics.
Two-thirds of all CPS high schools are already offering these three courses to their students. CPS will work with schools that need to develop additional capacity to offer all of these courses, and the District is committed to ensuring that all high schools have the resources to meet this new standard in time for the Class of 2022.
Implementation: Class of 2022
Summary of Changes: Requires high school students to take 1.0 credit in biology, 1.0 credit in physics and 1.0 in chemistry.

Financial Education: The updated financial education requirement will ensure that all students graduate with the practical knowledge and skills to make empowered financial decisions. 
Many CPS schools already offer consumer or financial education, but through this requirement CPS will ensure that everyone who graduates from CPS school learns about these important concepts. With this requirement, CPS also ensures equity of access to impactful coursework that equips students with the knowledge and skills to make empowered financial decisions.
To ensure the curriculum properly prepares students for future success, Financial Education will be defined as building student knowledge, habits and skills in six main conceptual areas: Concepts of Economics, Banking, Credit, Money Management, Investments and Insurance.

Implementation: Class of 2021
Summary of Changes: Redefines financial education and establishes expectations and requirements for schools by clearly articulating concepts to be covered in alignment with the new ISBE standards for financial literacy.

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.

Page Last Modified on Thursday, May 25, 2017