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SBOE Announces Historic High School Graduation Requirements Task Force

Tuesday, June 6, 2017
50% of the Members Will Reside or Work East of the River

Washington, DC - The DC State Board of Education (SBOE) announces today the formation of a new High School Graduation Requirements Task Force under the leadership of Ward 1 representative Laura Wilson Phelan and Ward 8 representative Markus Batchelor. With a clear focus on ensuring that all students across the District succeed in college and career, this task force will review, analyze and, as necessary, make thoughtful, implementable recommendations to adjust DC’s high school graduation requirements for all DCPS and public charter students. Ushering in a new wave of transparency, all applications for the task force will be open to public review.

Current graduation requirements in the District were established 10 years ago, and they require students to earn 24 course credits and complete 100 hours of community service. These requirements are one-size-fits-all, without pathways that allow students to gain easy entrance into college or earn diplomas with distinction. Additional details and guidelines should be added to these requirements to ensure that all students will graduate with the knowledge required for college and the workforce.

“This task force will bring together key education stakeholders and leaders from across the District to discuss the elements of the graduation requirements that are working and those that need to be adapted to 21st century learning,” said Ms. Wilson Phelan. “We strive to create a pathway to graduation that will be motivating for all students, across all eight wards.”

Half of all DCPS and public charter students reside in Wards 7 and 8, and the State Board wants to ensure that the task force is representative of the city’s student population. Approximately 50% of the task force members selected will live or work in Wards 7 and 8. The task force will involve a wide swath of diverse voices relevant to high school graduation, including middle/high school parents, adult education representatives, community/education group members, high school teachers/principals, and a student representative. In addition, representatives from the DC Council Education Committee, SBOE, DME, PCSB, OSSE, and DCPS will also be invited to participate. To apply to serve on the task force, click here.

“We are ecstatic that half of the members of this task force will reside or work east of the river,” said task force co-chair and Ward 8 Board Member Markus Batchelor. “I was proud to join my Ward 1 colleague in advocating to ensure this task force is truly representative of the students and families we serve. This bold step reinforces the State Board's full commitment to having historically marginalized voices at the table on such an important issue as high school graduation requirements.”

The application period is now open, concluding on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 12 noon. The SBOE will share clear selection criteria, and explain how members were selected. Task force meetings will begin this July and continue on a bi-weekly basis through spring 2018. To review ongoing updates and information, please visit:

A tentative timeline is below.

Date Description
June 6, 2017 Release of task force application, process and selection criteria
June 23, 2017 Application closes at 12 noon
June 30, 2017 Task Force members selected and announced
By July 21, 2017 First meeting held
July-January 2017 Meetings held every other week
November-February 2018 SBOE holds public hearings/discussions on grad requirements
By February 28, 2018 Task force votes on report
March 2018 SBOE Discussion & Vote
By April 2018 SBOE sends recommendations to OSSE
Early June 2018 SBOE receives final regulations/requirements from OSSE 
June 2018 Public Comment on final requirements
September 2018 Final SBOE vote, start implementation for SY 2019-2020

The SBOE looks forward to engaging with the public throughout this process. Members of the public can submit comments regarding the work of this task force directly to the State Board Policy Analyst, Maria Salciccioli. Maria can be reached via email at [email protected].

The State Board of Education provides policy leadership, support, advocacy, and oversight of public education to ensure that every student is valued and learns the skills and knowledge necessary to become informed, competent, and contributing global citizens. More information about the SBOE can be found at