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New law will give high school students choice between two diplomas

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Updated: 7/26/2013 7:03 pm
ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- A new law is giving high schools students the opportunity to choose between two different "tracks: -- the college-bound path or the career path.

For Nease High School seniors Damien Torres and Michael Stivender, going to college is a choice that has not always been in their sights. Torres wants to go into the military and Stivender wants become a mixed martial artist.

But Nease High sophomore Brandy Sitgreaves has a different plan.

"I want to go to college and be a teacher," said Sitgreaves.

It's because of this kaleidoscope of goals that the law is getting the support of local educators.

"One is for students that are definitely going straight into a university, or scholar's path, and the other is for those whose concentration in high school is in a career-focused area," said Joseph Joyner, St. Johns County Schools superintendent.

Joyner said the idea is a realization that one size does not fit all.

"The idea of getting them used to the world of work is incredible.  It will increase their work ethic," said Joyner.

Some worry the change will lower academic standards but Joyner said most of the rigorous requirements will stay the same.

"As the matter of fact, the concentration of electives taken in the industry certification for the career and college track are very rigorous," said Joyner.

According to Joyner, the St. Johns County academy students tend to have higher grade point averages, better attendance, and less discipline issues than non-academy students. Joyner said they're already preparing to implement the new law.

Parents won't see any significant changes until the 2013-14 school year.
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