Wednesday, October 16, 2013

HB5 a Step in the Right Direction

By Dr. Denise Morgan, Deputy Superintendent

House Bill 5 brings a much needed change to education in Texas. As I have discussed with many of my colleagues over the years, we need more choice for students in high school. That is exactly what is now in store for the students of Texas. House Bill 5 brings a foundation education program of 16 credits, with an additional 8 credits in one or more endorsement areas chosen by the student. Although all graduation plans can lead to college, the endorsements can help also assist those who may choose not to attend post high school studies and find themselves needing to master productive skills prior to entering the workforce. 

As a parent of four children, I am very excited about the future. Although my goal for each is to enter college, they each have their own ideas about their futures. Single track graduation plans do not allow them to explore these varying dreams. My oldest finds himself exploring college with his own deep rooted desire to serve his country. Looking for ideas for the future, he wanted to explore options in high school to help decide on possible majors in college that also might lend themselves to military service. With the four by four graduation plan and athletics, he found he was able to take only a few electives, limiting his exploration. My second child, will get the benefit of choice as he moves through this new high school program. He can choose a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program endorsement, pretty consistent with the current four by four education plan, or he can choose to take endorsements in general studies (exploring several areas), agriculture, business, the arts, and computers to name a few. 

As the two younger children move through elementary and junior high, we are likely to see many business partnerships emerging. These partnerships can help students to explore different fields to either continue their education post high school diploma or enter the workforce with the skills they need to be employable. 

With choice brings responsibility to the educators of Texas to help guide students as they explore options. To assist with this exploration, students will begin with interest inventories that lead to occupational options with their interests in mind. These can assist them in choosing or exploring different endorsements in high school. These endorsements will help lead them to a better foundation and understanding of what post high school diploma education is needed for them to reach their goals and dreams. 

Navasota ISD is exploring all endorsement areas and is focused on hiring quality teachers to respond to the areas of interest of our students. Course selection will be key in the upcoming years, as it will assist in the hiring of staff. As we move forward, students will be meeting with campus counselors to learn about the different endorsements available. Class meetings and parent information sessions will also allow us to share more details of the new graduation requirements.

As a community member, I encourage you to look up House Bill 5 and review first hand this exciting change. (Overview of HB5 and HB5 Resources)

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