More community meetings planned on major changes in high school

Counselors and registrars will be on hand to answer questions about new graduation requirements shaped by House Bill 5

The Houston Independent School District is continuing a series of community meetings this week that will connect middle school parents with high school counselors and other experts on House Bill 5, which is changing high school in a big way for next year’s ninth-graders. 

The Texas Legislature passed a package of new requirements for school districts that changed STAAR end-of-course requirements, established tight attendance guidelines, and set forth criteria for personal graduation planning that includes a career component. The regulations do allow some latitude for school districts – and whenever possible, HISD has opted for a rigorous academic pathway as a minimum requirement for students and has chosen to offer the maximum number of career options.

The planning requirements start with this year’s eighth-graders – the class of 2018 –  who will commit to and start their personal pathways next school year. Parents who attended the first two community meetings learned about how the district is combining career awareness and selection with a rigorous academic curriculum from pre-K through graduation.

“I wish this had been invented years ago,” said Adrian Hernandez, who attended a community meeting at Reagan High School with his wife, Isabella, and daughter Sophia, an eighth-grader at Hamilton Middle School who plans to attend Waltrip HS. “When you start early thinking about college and jobs, it helps you get to the next level.”

Parents and students who attend community meetings will be introduced to new concepts that will customize each student’s high school experience, including:

• Personal graduation plans that begin with a rigorous 26-credit Distinguished Level of Achievement (including Algebra II) mandated by HISD;

• Endorsements – required course pathways with a career focus that reflect a student’s interests and goals beyond high school;

• Performance acknowledgments – how students can “supersize” their diplomas with achievements, such as mastery of a second language.

• Automatic admission to Texas state colleges and universities.

The following meetings are planned*:

Tuesday, April 8

  • Worthing High School, 9215 Scott St. 77051
  • Hattie Mae White Educational Support Center, 4400 W. 18th St., 77092

*All meetings are 6 to 7:30 p.m.

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