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Education News

Parents, Students Take Crash Course In New Graduation Requirements

Houston Independent School District holds meetings for families about new graduation plans.


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Parents sign up
Parents sign up at a meeting at Reagan High School to learn about the state’s new high school graduation plans. Next year’s high school freshmen will be the first to graduate under the new requirements.

Last year, Texas lawmakers passed sweeping changes to public education, including new graduation requirements for high school students.

The first class in the state to graduate under the new plan will be this year’s eighth graders.

That means school districts have a major lesson for those students and their parents.

“We want to help you plan your path, to graduation, college and a meaningful career.”

Dozens of parents and their children are watching a video at Reagan High School in the Heights.

“A new Texas law has made some changes to the state’s graduation requirements.”

That law is known as House Bill 5.

Parents like Ernesto Rosales are getting a crash course in what it means for their children.

“When I got here, I had no idea that they had actually made a law that helps students choose those kinds of things,” he says.

Rosales means new kinds of things like “endorsements.”

They’re part of the new Texas high school graduation plan. Students can specialize in a certain area, similar to picking a college major.

Rosales is wondering what his son will choose: Science and technology? Or maybe industry?

“Right now he’s in the eighth grade at Hamilton Middle School and I want him to be able to reach his full potential. So in order for us to help him, we have to know what’s being offered here,”he says.

High school teachers and administrators are also learning what they’ll offer students next year. Connie Berger is the principal at Reagan High School.

“This is new,” says Berger. “It’s new to all of us and we all need to be informed and as parents work with the schools and, of course, work with your student and their interests.”

To inform more parents, the Houston Independent School District is launching a series of meetings at local high schools.

Alejandro Morua is with the district. He’s here at the first meeting at Reagan High.

“Parents want to know, ‘So what do the graduation requirements for my child look like?’”

In Houston, that looks a little different than the state.

The official default graduation plan in Texas is just a regular high school diploma.

But here in Houston, next year’s high school freshmen will start on the college track.

“We are asking that the standard graduation plan for our students is 26 credits, which includes Algebra II. We believe that we want all of our students to be on the equal footing and to have that kind of rigor and preparation for college and career readiness.”

Students have to take more advanced classes like Algebra II if they want to be considered for automatic admission to public universities in Texas.

Parents and students can find out more details about the new graduation plans at the next community meetings. They will be held later this month and also in April.


Community Meeting Schedule: 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Monday, March 10

Tuesday, March 25

Thursday, March 27

 Monday, April 7

 Tuesday, April 8

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

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