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Superintendent's column: VISD is ready for diploma program changes

By BY ROBERT JAKLICH
Feb. 22, 2014 at 4:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 21, 2014 at 8:22 p.m.

Robert Jaklich

Each and every day, our Victoria ISD family members work extremely hard to accomplish the mission of our school district - achieving excellence for all. By continuously working together, we are committed to providing a high-quality education where all students graduate and become successful, life-long learners.

As we prepare for the final months of the school year, I would like to thank our students, staff, parents, board of trustees and our community members for making the impossible possible. Our focus on "every child, every classroom, every day" allows us to serve as an educational leader across our "612 Square Miles of Excellence." A wonderful example of the power of our people can be found in the outstanding work of our counselors and administrative staff in regard to the recent graduation requirements brought about by the new House Bill 5 state legislation. At the Thursday school board meeting, our staff did an amazing job of providing our Board of Trustees, parents and community members a road map for success that has been developed for our students regarding the implementation of House Bill 5.

During this past Legislative session, House Bill 5 was passed into law. This bill embodies significant changes to high school graduation requirements. House Bill 5 creates a single foundation diploma and eliminates the minimum, recommended and distinguished graduation plans that are currently in place. It allows students to earn endorsements in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); business and industry; public services; arts and humanities; and multidisciplinary studies. House Bill 5 creates a distinguished achievement level above the foundation diploma that can be attained in any of the above mentioned endorsement programs by completing an additional science and math credit. As you can see, the implementation and transition of House Bill 5 is extremely intricate and complex.

In the Victoria ISD, we are embracing the changes to the new graduation requirements that were brought forward by House Bill 5. As we embark upon our responsibility to inform students, parents and the community of these changes, we are committed to making this information readily available and accessible to all. Our VISD counselors have done phenomenal work in developing information strategies for our eighth- through 12th-grade students and are currently providing this information in a comprehensive and uniform way throughout our school district.

VISD parents with students in grades eight to 12 are able to attend a special Parent Night with specific information for their child's grade level. These meetings are set to provide consistent, purposeful communication of the many graduation options that are available to our students. We are also increasing the time frame for our students' course selection and graduation plan selection process to ensure each student will receive the individualized guidance they deserve. Counselors are meeting with students to present information on graduation plans, course offerings, GPA, class rank, AP potential and graduation plan endorsements and to review their transcripts. Following the individual grade level parent nights, counselors will then spend the next two weeks meeting individually with students to provide additional guidance on course selection, credits and future goals. For further information, you may visit our school district's website at visd.net under "new graduation plans" or contact your child's school counselor.

Florence Scovel Shinn once stated: "Every great work, every big accomplishment, has been brought into manifestation through holding on to the vision." On behalf of our Board of Trustees and the entire VISD, thank you for your vision to see things as they should be, for expecting the very best for your children and for reminding us all that "The Victoria ISD is too great for small dreams."

Robert Jaklich is the superintendent for the Victoria Independent School District. Contact him at 361-788-9202 or through the VISD website, visd.com.

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