(1) Purpose. (a) The purpose of this section is to create a quality option in Mississippi's high schools for students not wishing to pursue a baccalaureate degree, which shall consist of challenging academic courses and modern career-technical studies. The goal for students pursuing the career track is to graduate from high school with a standard diploma and credit toward a community college certification in a career-technical field. These students also shall be encouraged to take the national assessment in the career-technical field in which they become certified.
(b) The State Board of Education shall develop and adopt course and curriculum requirements for career track programs offered by local public school boards in accordance with this section. The Mississippi Community College Board and the State Board of Education jointly shall determine course and curriculum requirements for the career track program.
(2) Alternative career track; description; curriculum. (a) A career track shall provide a student with greater technical skill and a strong academic core and shall be offered to each high school student enrolled in a public school district. The career track program shall be linked to postsecondary options and shall prepare students to pursue either a degree or certification from a postsecondary institution, an industry-based training or certification, an apprenticeship, the military, or immediate entrance into a career field. The career track shall be designed primarily for those students who are not college bound and shall provide them with alternatives to entrance into a four-year university or college after high school graduation.
(b) Students pursuing a career track shall be afforded the opportunity to dually enroll in a community or technical college or to participate in a business internship or work-study program, when such opportunities are available and appropriate.
(c) Each public school district shall offer a career track program approved by the State Board of Education.
(d) Students in a career track program shall complete an academic core of courses and a career and technical sequence of courses.
(e) The twenty-one (21) course unit requirements for the career track shall consist of the following:
(i) At least four (4) English credits, including English I and English II.
(ii) At least three (3) mathematics credits, including Algebra I.
(iii) At least three (3) science credits, including one (1) unit of biology.
(iv) At least three (3) social studies credits, including one (1) unit of U.S. History and one (1) unit of Mississippi Studies/U.S. Government.
(v) At least one-half ( 1/2 ) credit in health or physical education.
(vi) At least four (4) credits in career and technical education courses in the dual enrollment-dual credit programs authorized under Section 37-15-38 .
(vii) At least one (1) credit in integrated technology with optional end of course testing.
(viii) At least two and one-half (2- 1/2 ) credits in additional electives or career and technical education courses required by the local school board, as approved by the State Board of Education. Academic courses within the career track of the standard diploma shall provide the knowledge and skill necessary for proficiency on the state subject area tests.
(3) Nothing in this section shall disallow the development of a dual enrollment program with a technical college so long as an individual school district, with approval from the State Department of Education, agrees to implement such a program in connection with a technical college and the agreement is also approved by the proprietary school's commission.
(4) The career track program for students not pursuing a Baccalaureate Degree shall not be available to any student entering the Ninth Grade in the 2017-2018 school year or thereafter.
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