With most details of the state’s new reform of public education – known as House Bill 5 – settled only last week, HISD is ready with a multimedia toolbox to assist students, families, and support staff in making the most of the guidelines that will require students to choose academic and career paths that will prepare them for success beyond high school.
The district launched its “Plan Your Path” informational website, houstonisd.org/PlanYourPath, on Feb. 5. It offers:
• Simple explanations by grade level of STAAR testing requirements, including changes in required end-of-course (EOC) exams for graduation;
• A guide to the revised Texas graduation plan;
• An exploration of “endorsements,” the five areas of focus – Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM); Business and Industry; Arts and Humanities; Public Services; and Multidisciplinary – that HISD will offer to students to set and follow their academic and career goals;
• A section of frequently asked questions (FAQs), along with the opportunity to pose your own question;
• Advice for parents on how to work as partners with their children’s schools to assure their academic success.
Late in February, HISD will distribute an informational guide to all parents, in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese to explain HB 5, which will also be posted on school websites, and will host 10 community meetings throughout the district in March and April.
While many districts are struggling with dealing with HB 5’s changes, HISD was already developing many of its requirements on its own through its Linked Learning model. That initiative, which blends a rigorous academic focus with an emphasis on career awareness and preparedness from K-12, was fast-tracked when HISD received $30 million in federal Race to the Top funds in December in support of the concept.
To see a video of how HISD has been implementing HB 5 – and is remaining flexible to deal with changes – watch the video below.
[vimeo https://vimeo.com/85749946 width=”600px” height=”330px”]
Who will guide students and parents, helping them make decisions about career paths? Traditionally the role of school counselors, their numbers have tumbled as principals have opted to have additional administrative personnel called deans. Their duties are such that they will not have time to do this and they are not trained for this role. Other schools in the area still have counselors providing these vital services. Other districts mandate that there be counselors in every school and they have well developed guidance and counseling programs. Look at the Student and Parent links on the Spring Branch website to see an example of an exemplary foundation for the rollout of HB 5. At a community meeting Monday, January 24, at the United Way, HISD’s announced plan for the rollout of HB 5 lacked implementation details; it was embarrassing compared to those of Alief, Spring Branch, and CyFair.