Boyle students can earn work ethics seal on their diplomas

Published 7:24 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Boyle County High School will begin offering a “work ethics seal” on diplomas this school year, intended to identify students who have excelled at academics, extracurriculars and community service and are considered highly employable.

“This rigorous program encourages all students to prepare for success beyond high school by completing a number of criteria ensuring they will be ready to enter the workforce, whether it be immediately after high school, or after a postsecondary education,” according to a news release from the school district.

“Any student can participate, but they must demonstrate their commitment to academics and to the community by completing the three sections of the program. The first section emphasizes teamwork and leadership, while the second concentrates on problem solving and critical thinking. The final phase focuses on reliability and responsibility. These sections all require students to be academically successful, involved in sports or other extracurricular activities, and to be involved in the community.”

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The Boyle County Board of Education approved creation of the work ethics seal in July. Boyle County High School Principal Mark Wade told board members then that the seal is a “first step” in developing stronger workforce development connections between the school and employers.

The work ethics seal will signify more than just strong academic performance, Wade said. It will answer questions for employers like, “Is the student going to be dependable? Have they come to school? Have they had zero drug infractions on our drug-testing policy? Have they been able to hold down a job? It goes through a whole bunch of different scenarios.”

Boyle County’s mandatory drug-testing policy is new this school year as well; it only applies to students who wish to participate in extracurricular activities or drive their cars to school. School officials told the public earlier this year results of random drug tests would be kept confidential and would never affect students’ academic records.

Assistant Superintendent David Young told board members in July the state has mandated that school districts offer a workplace ethics seal that “assesses certain skills in kids” but can be designed with flexibility to fit local communities.

A committee worked with local economic development and human resources leaders to craft Boyle County’s work ethics seal program.

“It’s something that it’s rigorous enough that our kids will have to work to earn it, but it’s an attainable goal,” Young said. “… We hope that it will be a way for us to communicate some things to our local businesses, that a student is coming out of our high school prepared to do a good job for them in their industry.”

All Boyle County High School students are eligible to pursue a work ethics seal this school year, “no matter their graduation year or their post-high school plans,” according to the news release.

“Boyle County High School teachers and staff have worked with local businesses and the Danville-Boyle County Economic Development Partnership to ensure the criteria meet the needs of employers,” the release states. “Oftentimes, students who choose to go away to college or to a technical program end up returning to their hometowns, so this will further enhance and strengthen the community in the future.”

Students who complete the work ethics program will wear special cords identifying the achievement at graduation, in addition to having the work ethics seal appear on their diplomas.