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MPS board approves changes to graduation requirements


The Minneapolis Board of Education on Jan. 13 voted to approve changes to graduation requirements that offer students more flexibility to choose courses that interest them and match their post-secondary plans.

Over the past year Minneapolis Public Schools studied many different options for modifying our graduation requirements, with the goal of offering all MPS students a well-rounded and high-quality education. Changes to the graduation requirements will support this goal in the following ways:

  • All students will be more engaged in coursework that allows them to pursue their passions and interests.
  • Students who are struggling will be able to recover important credits in core classes like math and reading.
  • Students who are doing well will be able to excel further by taking additional foreign languages, International Baccalaureate (IB) or Advanced Placement (AP) courses and other electives.
  • Students who are career-focused will have more access to career and college programs through Career and Technical Education (CTE), Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) or internships.

The previous graduation requirements exceeded the minimum set by the state. The new changes also exceed the minimum set by the state. The changes are:

Reduce physical education (PE) and health requirements by one semester each
Many students are actively involved in sports after school and may prefer to use class time to enhance their academic careers in other ways. PE and health are extremely important for students to learn lifelong skills that promote a healthy lifestyle and we are committed to ensuring that students have access to high-quality PE and health programs. These classes will still be available to interested students in the form of elective credits.

Reduce social studies requirements by one semester
Social studies classes help us prepare students to be responsible global citizens. By offering ethnic studies courses and International Baccalaureate (IB) at most MPS high schools, MPS is firm in its commitment to this goal.

Increase elective requirements by three semesters
By increasing opportunities to take electives, we are giving students more access to learn languages like American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, Dakota, French, German, Hmong, Japanese, Latin, Ojibwe, Somali and Spanish. This will help them be more competitive workers in a global market. A semesterlong elective ethnic studies course will be offered at all MPS high schools, furthering our commitment to global citizenship.

Providing additional opportunities for elective courses also will allow students more time in their schedules to take more rigorous courses or catch up on missed credits.

No change to world language requirement
MPS does not currently require students to take world language courses to graduate, and there are no plans to add this requirement. However, students will have more opportunities to take world languages with the flexibility that the proposed changes offers. MPS is also exploring whether to incorporate world language instruction into elementary and middle school, so all students have this opportunity at an earlier age.