All California High Schools Should Set Students Up for A-G Course Completion

Those infamous A-G requirements. It feels like all of us working in the education field often toss around the question of “Is he/she on track to meet his/her A-G requirements?” when discussing college with parents, but how often do we take the time to explain what these requirements mean to them?

According to the University of California’s A-G guide, “the intent of the “a-g” subject requirements is to ensure that students have attained a body of general knowledge that will provide breadth and perspective to new, more advanced study.” Thus, in order for students to be eligible to even qualify to apply to CSUs or UCs, students must satisfy a list of courses that are meant to be academically challenging as well as provide a well-rounded exposure to all content areas to ensure they are “prepared” for college success.

As we officially enter college application season, I want to shed light on the need for us all to do a better job of creating awareness for A-G requirements, so that students with college dreams are not left heartbroken at the last minute because they are told by their counselor that they did not meet the minimum requirements to apply.

In one of my visits to one of the local high schools in my community, I came across great visuals posted outside each classroom clearly stating which “A-G” requirement that class satisfied. While it was a small gesture, I realized in that moment, how necessary it was to have this form of awareness around course requirements in ALL high schools. If we are truly preparing our students to be college ready, shouldn’t ensuring they know what each class they take satisfies be mandatory for schools? In speaking to the principal, she shared that the A-G visuals outside every classroom were a result of creative brilliance form Cynthia Rascon & Christina Parkhill, her Avid Coordinator & Teacher. She also shed light on another issue that perhaps adds to the larger opportunity gap: not all teachers were aware of which A-G requirement their own classes satisfied.

I know that simple poster visuals are not the solution to ensuring students are not just graduating high school, but are also graduating with A-G completion. However, I do believe that it is a starting point. If all high schools were required to demonstrate that their class meets one of the A-G required courses, and if not, state it as so, then we can at least provide students the tools to advocate for themselves and take more ownership over the courses they take. One too many students with immense potential has fallen through the cracks because they were not “advised” correctly or because they missed one or two classes to satisfy the basic A-G requirements to at least be eligible to apply to college. It is time that we require more transparency from high schools and provide students first-hand knowledge around how each class they take sets them on the path to A-G completion or not.

Even if not all students choose to go to college, I believe it is still our responsibility to ensure students are provided that choice. Let’s make A-G awareness plans a requirement at all California high schools–we have failed enough students.

What do you think?

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Alma Renteria

Alma Renteria

Alma-Delia Renteria is a proud product of Lynwood schools. After graduating UC Riverside, with a B.A. in English and a year earlier than anticipated, she decided to commit her “gap year” to City Year. After City Year Los Angeles, Alma went on to purse a teaching career with Teach For America Los Angeles. Upon joining TFA, Alma began her education career as a middle school teacher. It was while teaching that she realized the need to do her part to help serve the community she grew up in and decided to run for office, getting elected to the Lynwood School Board at only 23 years old. Alma completed her Master’s degree in Urban Education at Loyola Marymount University and is currently pursuing a 2nd Masters in Education Leadership and her Admin Credential. She was recently appointed by the Speaker to the Instructional Quality Commission and also serves as a Digital Learning Instructional Coach at a dual immersion school in Pico Rivera.

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