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The first of six iGraduate meetings in Keller ISD was held Thursday, Jan. 23 at Indian Springs Middle School. The iGraduate plan was created in response to the upcoming graduation plan changes in Texas due to House Bill 5 for students entering ninth grade in 2014-15. 

ISMS counselors led the session, and high school counselors were available for further questions afterward.

“We feel like this is the right direction and are very excited for our students,” ISMS Counselor Cara Britton said. “This will help our students learn more about what they are interested in and better prepare them for the workforce.”

One change that Keller ISD is making is that high school students will have eight class periods instead of seven, beginning next year. Students will also choose an endorsement from a possible five areas – Arts & Humanities, Business Industry, Multi-Disciplinary, Public Services, or Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM).

Each student will have a foundation plan and earn the same 22 credits. Then they will earn an additional four credits in their endorsement for a total of 26 credits needed to graduate.

The counselors explained it this way: “Think of Keller ISD as the university and the endorsement as the school. Then the student’s pathway is like a major chosen within the endorsement.” They showed examples of multiple pathways and encouraged parents to look over the possible pathways with their student on the iGraduate site.

The meeting touched on some additional details about the students’ ability to graduate with Distinguished Achievement or Performance Acknowledgements, or stamps that go on their diploma and make them more attractive to colleges. Parents were also shown schedule examples of students involved in multiple activities such as band and baseball, AVID and dance, or a third language and football. Students will also be given the opportunity to take classes from multiple endorsements.

Students entering the ninth grade in the fall of 2014 are asked to choose an endorsement by Feb. 14. A high school parent meeting for incoming ninth grade students at all four Keller ISD high schools will be held Feb. 24. This will give parents and students the opportunity to talk to teachers about their classes, organizations and other activities. The current eighth grade students will register for ninth grade classes the last week of February and following spring break, they will meet with counselors to plan out their four years of high school.

Superintendent Dr. Randy Reid added, “We are not asking students to make a long-term choice, but rather giving them as many opportunities as possible. High school counselors will meet with students each year to work with them on the entry requirements for colleges or careers they are interested in and make sure they are taking the appropriate coursework.”

Chris Bishop, an eighth grade parent at ISMS, had read a little about the iGraduate plan on the Keller ISD website, but he still had a few questions so he came to the meeting to learn more.

“I think the iGraduate plan is a great idea,” Bishop said. “Some students are meant for college, and some are meant to directly enter the workforce. I think this plan better trains our students for both.”

Amy Goble has an eighth grade student at ISMS and was pleased with the material presented at the iGraduate meeting.

“This was a very informative meeting. I had some questions about the distinguished plan guidelines, and they were answered,” Goble said. “I do think the iGraduate plans will better prepare our students over time.”

Below are the scheduled times for the remaining iGraduate sessions:

  • ·         6 p.m. Feb. 4 at Timberview Middle School
  • ·         7 p.m. Feb. 6 at Hillwood Middle School
  • ·         6:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Keller Middle School
  • ·         6 p.m. Feb. 18 at Fossil Hill Middle School
  • ·         6 p.m. Feb. 20 at Trinity Springs Middle School

For more information about iGraduate in Keller ISD, be sure to check out the FAQ page, which is continually updated as questions come in, and the video about endorsements.

Story courtesy of Keller ISD