Many middle schools offer fine arts courses of less than a semester in length. How could they meet the "two semester or the equivalent" requirement?
Many middle schools offer classes that are in a nine- or 12-week rotation. In order to meet the two semester or the equivalent requirement, a student would have to complete four fine arts courses within the nine-week-long rotations (4 courses x 9 weeks = 36 weeks of FA, the equivalent of two semesters) or three fine arts courses within 12-week-long rotations(3 courses x 12 weeks = 36 weeks of FA, the equivalent of two semesters).
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How does the fine arts waiver relate to students taking a career-technical track as provided by ORC §3313.603?
“Career-technical track” is interpreted as a minimum of one credit or one year in coursework representing coherent sequential career-technical content (e.g., two semesters of Family and Consumer Sciences coursework, one year in a specialized Workforce Development program and/or one year in a Career-Based Intervention Program).
It is important to distinguish between this definition and instances which would not qualify as a “career-technical track.” Non-qualifying examples include a student completing a:
Semester of a Work and Family Studies course and a semester of a workforce development foundation course. (This does not qualify as a “career-technical track” because these two semester courses are not aligned as a coherent sequence of career-technical content.)
Business and Management Foundation course that is less than 120 hours, without also completing additional workforce development career-technical coursework. (This does not qualify because it is not one year (or one full credit) of a coherent sequence of career-technical content.)
A 60-90 hour Work and Family Studies course. (This does not be qualify because it is not one-year (or one full credit) of a coherent sequence of career-technical content.
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How can students complete their fine arts requirement for high school while still in the seventh or eighth grade?
The Ohio Core requires two semesters or the equivalent of fine arts for students to graduate, unless the student is enrolled in and completes a course of study in career-technical education. Students may complete the coursework in any of grades seven to 12. The coursework in grades seven or eight also may count for high school credit if it meets these two requirements for advanced work:
it is taught by a teacher licensed to teach the course at the high school level; and
the course content meets high school curriculum requirements, as designated by the local board of education.
Otherwise, the coursework still counts toward the two-semester completion of fine arts graduation requirement.
The Ohio Department of Education has created a form which may be used to document completion of the fine arts requirement in seventh- and eighth-grade.
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What is meant by "two semesters," particularly at the seventh- and eighth-grade level?
The short answer is that the same length of time recognized in other schools as a semester would apply to the fine arts requirement.
The typical school year is approximately 36 weeks in length. In most schools a semester is one-half of that or 18 weeks. For example, if a seventh-grade fine arts class, such as general music, band or visual art, was scheduled to meet daily for that 18-week period, one semester of fine arts was completed. Students in that class would have to complete a second 18-week semester class to fulfill the minimum requirements of the statute. If the fine arts class was scheduled to meet daily for the entire school year, that course would meet the two-semester requirement.
If the fine arts courses meet the requirements for advanced work below the ninth grade, credit can be awarded toward graduation and count toward the two semesters of fine arts requirement in grades 7-12.
If the courses do not meet the requirements for advanced work below the ninth grade, no credit toward graduation can be awarded but the courses will count toward meeting the two semesters of fine arts requirement in grades 7-12.
It also could be the case that a student meets part of the fine arts requirement in grades 7-8 and meet the remainder of the requirement in grades 9-12.
Unless the school adopts a specific fine arts credit requirement, a student could meet the requirements of this provision by any combination of fine arts coursework whether credit-earning or not.
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