CIS is new graduation requirement for class of 2012 and beyond

By Amy Laube | Head Copy Editor
Marshfield’s senior class was surprised earlier this school year when it was announced there was an added component to the anticipated senior portfolio required for graduation: Oregon Career Information System (CIS) activities, which range from searching for occupations to setting long-term goals.

CIS is a six-year online program that is meant to help students understand what they want to do after high school. It has been a graduation state requirement for the past decade; however, it was not until late last school year that MHS began to implement the program for the current seniors. According to senior counselor Jessica Skinner, the school had decided to meet the requirements through alternative ways, such as the senior portfolio. When it was decided the portfolio was ineffective, the CIS activities were then added to the list of requirements.

“We saw that students felt like they weren’t getting any value out of it,” Skinner said. “They weren’t taking it very seriously.”

She said there was no concrete reason as to why this year’s senior class has been chosen to complete the program in one years’ time as opposed to beginning with the seventh grade class who could finish it in the expected time frame. However, she rationalizes it by saying the program must be purchased regardless.

“We have to purchase the program, so if we have to purchase it, it makes sense to get as many people through it as we can,” Skinner said.

Reactions from the senior class have largely been negative. Senior Randi Backman called it a waste of time and targeted the lack of organization from the school’s administration.

“I don’t think the school is handling it well at all,” Backman said. “They don’t have a lot of people [in charge of the program], and there’s a lot of people confused who don’t know what to do.”

Senior William Ring criticized the nature of the worksheets, many of which have been called repetitive.

“I think the research part is good, but all the writing is unnecessary,” Ring said.

Skinner attributed the repetitiveness of the activities to the lack of time available to complete them. She said some of the activities are meant to be finished in the eighth grade or freshman year, but they are necessary in order to finish the activities designated in later years.

“It’s a lot of reflection on goal-setting and who you are as a person, and that’s not going to change a lot in a whole year as opposed to six years,” Skinner said.

Physical education teacher and senior advisor Brad Kohn believes the CIS activities give students a better indication of what careers are out there for certain skill sets and passions, which is something he finds important.

“I think that it opens up a lot of possibilities for kids,” Kohn said.

Though Ring said the program had useful information, he thinks it is too much work to throw at the senior class all at once.

I think it just adds to the stuff seniors have to do,” Ring said. “It’s kind of overwhelming.”