BY BAILEY METCALF
Students in Hamblen County have the opportunity to earn the Work Ethic Diploma during their senior year. The Work Ethic Diploma is designed to give participating students preference for job interviews at any time after high school graduation. A student must earn 20 points by the end of their senior year to graduate with the Work Ethic Diploma. The Work Ethic Diploma is awarded to students who meet some of the requirements listed below.
Attendance, Absences, and Tardies
Students can be recognized for their attendance, lack of absences, or lack of tardies. If a student misses no more than five days during their senior year, they can receive one point. If a student is absent no more than three days during their senior year, they are awarded two points. Lastly, if a student had not more than one absence, they are awarded a maximum of three points.
Regarding unexcused absences, a student can only earn one point if they have no more than one. However, students can earn an extra two points if they have no unexcused absences during their senior year.
Similar to unexcused absences, unexcused tardies permits more point availability. Students who hold no unexcused tardies, meaning no tardies at all, can achieve two points; no more than one unexcused tardy still allows one point available. If a student holds more than one unexcused tardy during their senior year, no points will be awarded.
Students with no more than one discipline referral can earn one point towards their Work Ethic Diploma. If students have no disciplinary referrals during their senior year, they will earn two points.
Grade Point Average, or GPA, is the overall scaling system of grades received from one’s classes. If a student has a GPA of 2.0 to 2.9, one point can be earned. If a student has an overall grade point average of 3.0 to 3.4, two points can be earned. Anything higher than a 3.5, three points will be awarded to Work Ethic diploma.
A student can earn five points if they present written proof as being drug-free.
CTE Coursework Standard
CTE, or Career Technical Education, is a program for students to enroll in to provide academic or technical skills, knowledge, and training that is needed for future career opportunities. Completion of three or more CTE courses by the end of a student’s senior year awards them three points towards the Work Ethic Diploma. Students with two CTE courses completed awards two points while taking one CTE course awards one point.
Students who have been placed and approved for the regional level CTE competition during their senior year are awarded one point. Those who have approved for the state level of CTE competition get two points and those who approve for the national level during their senior year receive 3 points.
TN Promise and Dual Enrollment/ Credit Standard
Students who are in a good place with TN Promise and have completed the required eight hours of community service will earn two points.
Dual Enrollment, Dual Credit, or Advanced Placement courses or had been granted credit from any post-secondary institution during the senior year will also receive two points.
Industry Certification Standard
Industry Certifications are recognized nationwide as a great achievement. If a student received a national industry certification during or before their senior year, they will earn two points toward their Work Ethic Diploma.
Enrollment in Post-Secondary Standard
If a student has applied or has applied at a post-secondary school for the fall of the graduating year, they will receive two points.
Career Readiness Certification Standard
Students who have achieved a Bronze Level Career Readiness Certificate will earn two points. Those who have been recognized for a Silver Level are awarded four points. Those who have earned a Gold or Platinum Level are awarded a total of six points towards their Work Ethic Diploma.
Students who have participated in one industry awareness event during their senior year will receive one point. Those who have participated in more than one industry awareness event will receive two points. Students participating in an internship or a work-based learning activity will receive three points towards their final Work Ethic Diploma point total.
Those interested in receiving the Work Ethic Diploma can talk to their TNN teachers or counselors for more information. Teachers and counselors urge their students to consider this opportunity. From a counselor at West High, Ms. Byrd she states the outcomes of the Work Ethic Diploma: “Students who earn a WED are given blue cords to wear at graduation and are denoted in the graduation program. After graduation, WED recipients are guaranteed interviews (as long as they are otherwise qualified) at partnering employers. Students are eligible to complete the WED requirements during their senior year and have to submit necessary documentation by April 15.”Students must supply proof of certifications and documents to qualify and earn points. Students can register for an account on the Work Ethic Diploma Checklist website: http://workethicdiploma.com. Here, students can keep track of how many points they have already earned and what they need to do before their final days of high school. A clean-cut document, and the resource of this article, for the Tennessee Work Ethic Diploma Standards, are linked here: http://workethicdiploma.com/Images/pdf/Standards.pdf.