Keller school district officials will begin holding informational meetings later this month on state graduation plan changes for students entering high school next year.
Current eighth-graders are required to select from one of five endorsements before signing up for classes for 2014-15. The endorsements are: arts and humanities, business/industry, public services, science,technology,engineering,math STEM and multi-disciplinary.
The graduation changes are part of House Bill 5, a law to reduce state testing while increasing options for students.
Superintendent Randy Reid said the new pathways will allow for more individualization of education plans and help students see how what they study can impact their career goals.
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The various endorsements are set up like colleges in a university while the pathways are similar to college majors. For instance, the public service endorsement includes a pathway for education, which may appeal to those interested in becoming teachers, while the STEM endorsement has a pathway for aerospace engineering.
Most of the pathways end in some type of practicum or internship opportunity.
One concern about the new approach is that many eighth-graders don’t know what they want to do when they grow up, but officials said students will have a lot of flexibility.
“Once they’ve selected those endorsements, they will have plenty of time to change them, if necessary,” Reid said.
Students may also choose the multi-disciplinary endorsement which allows them to take one course in each of the four areas. Students can select multiple endorsements, if their schedules allow.
For instance, a student involved in marching band could take the band pathway in arts and humanities and the health science pathway in public services.
Officials discussed the new graduation requirements at the Dec. 19 board meeting.
Trustees said the changes increase the workload for middle school and high school counselors. Officials have already added one counselor at each high school and are looking into increasing counseling staff at the middle schools.
While current high school students will not select endorsements, they will have more choices of electives as the district expands Career and Technical Education classes to meet the new state mandate. The end of the requirement for four years of math and science and the addition of an eighth period creates even more flexibility.
More information is available on the district website, kellerisd.net, under the “iGraduate” tab.
Parent information meetings will be held at all KISD middle schools starting Jan. 23 at Indian Springs Middle School.
Sandra Engelland, 817-431-2231