To Change: CHS’s Compulsory Curriculum Changes


art | Natalia Escobar

As times change, the world does too, and schools must adapt accordingly. A school’s biggest responsibility is to educate its students and prepare them for adulthood. One way to do this is by making certain classes mandatory for graduation, but as technology and science rapidly advances, the information in those classes can become obsolete. To avoid this, the school puts together a graduation requirements committee approximately every decade in order to evaluate and reconsider the need for current graduation requirements and to plan future ones. Considering that the last committee was in 2012, a new committee has been established this year to overview the changes needed to update those graduation requirements to accommodate for the ever changing environment.
For example, the creation of powerful AI, websites, and other forms of new technology has changed the current educational landscape, but the Technology Education course and curriculum at Claremont High School has remained mostly unchanged. For this exact reason, the Technology Education subcommittee was formed to discuss changes that will affect the class of 2024 and onwards. They recognized the necessity for the reevaluation of the technology education graduation requirement and course.
“Our conversations were always student-centered and we felt that, because of our district’s technology vision, students come into high school already possessing many technological skills, so to learn them in a course in high school would be too late,” Assistant Principal Jessica Ly, one of the administration staff selected for the committee, said.
The recommendation the subcommittee proposed is to remove technology education from the list of graduation requirements while still emphasizing the importance of technology education. Along with the removal of this graduation requirement, the committee also discussed the implementation of novel technology education courses with readjusted curriculums that better suit modern technological needs.
In addition to evaluating old graduation requirements, the committee included in their investigations a suggestion to implement a new requirement: an ethnic studies course. In Oct. 2021, Gavin Newsom signed into effect Assembly Bill 101, which mandates that the students of the graduating Class of 2030 and beyond will need to take a semester-long ethnic studies course in order to graduate high school. As mandated by the bill, the course must be available for students to take by the 2025-2026 school year.
The committee aimed to achieve this goal by analyzing statistics from the Claremont Unified School District to determine which ethnicities and races are prevalent in the Claremont community. They examined the structure and content of ethnic studies courses in other districts to see possible directions in which to take the course and modify it to be relevant to the Claremont community. The committee integrated its observations into two recommendations. First, the committee concluded ethnic studies should be implemented in a multitude of current classes across all subjects, in order to create a more inclusive and representative education in all subjects. The second recommendation was that a single ethnic studies course would be insufficient to properly educate students. Instead, several ethnic studies courses and programs should be implemented into the high school’s curriculum in order to provide a more comprehensive education.
Finally, a committee was created to review graduation requirements for PE credits. Claremont High School is currently not in compliance with California standards regarding PE; specifically, the state requires that students must have some form of physical activity all throughout the school year. Another problem was an unfair distribution of PE credits.
“We also took on the task of figuring out what deserved PE credit because students are getting PE credit when they are not doing actual physical activity— film crew, sideline crew, and managers, for example,” said Junior Abbygale Sanchez, another member of the graduation requirements committee.
As the committee gathered PE statistics to analyze and started to draft their recommendations for necessary changes, they were careful to note the effects changes would have upon current students. In the end, they decided that any possible changes — especially those revoking the number of PE credits given to those doing team management or film crew — would only affect the current 8th grade Class of 2027 so that current students’ planned graduations are not thrown out of their spiral. This way, the school will meet the state’s requirements while still being accommodating to current students.
Although nothing is confirmed, the suggestions that the committee has made will undoubtedly modernize the school and help the future students of Claremont High School be better prepared for adult life.