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Students prepare for graduation plan changes (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
Jan. 28, 2014 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated Jan. 28, 2014 at 7:29 p.m.

Willishia Rudd gives a presentation on the equipment worn by Invista employees to a group of Victoria East High School sophomores at Operation Pay Day. Rudd is the site training coordinator for Invista.

Kyle Steen, 16, listened intently as Willishia Rudd explained the basics of an entry-level job at Invista.

The details were familiar to Kyle, whose stepfather works at the fibers and polymer manufacturing plant.

Kyle was one of several Victoria East sophomores at the Operation Pay Day event featuring instructors and professionals from Victoria College and area industries.

The program was aimed at showing students how much they can expect to earn after high school if they choose to enroll in one of several new courses being offered next school year that teach process technology, instrumentation and electronics and firefighting skills.

"It's made me think about my future," said Kyle, whose family moved from San Antonio to Victoria when he was a 5-year-old.

The start of new courses in the Victoria school district coincides with the state's new graduation plan requirements, which are currently under review by the State Board of Education and are expected to be made final next month.

A fundamental part of the new graduation plan so far requires students to choose one of five endorsement tracks: science, technology, engineering and math; business and industry; public services; arts and humanities or multidisciplinary studies.

Over the next few weeks, eighth-graders, freshmen and sophomores will be introduced to their new graduation plan options.

Juniors in high school will have the option of staying with their current plan or switching to the new one.

Victoria ISD District Counseling Coordinator Kim Motley said juniors may have a better chance of graduating under the Distinguished Achievement Program with the new plan.

"For a junior who has already been active in extracurricular activities such as band or ROTC, it'll be easier to graduate under an endorsement," Motley said.

Under the new drafted requirements, students graduating under the Distinguished Achievement Program would not have to take three years of a foreign language or meet some of the advanced measures previously required, Motley said.

Instead, students would have to take Algebra II and satisfy one of the five endorsement plans to graduate under the Distinguished Achievement Program.

Entry-level employees at Invista earn an average of $42,240 a year one to two years after high school graduation, said Rudd, Invista's site training coordinator.

"I wish they had programs like this when I was in school," Rudd said. "It's an awesome opportunity to help our students get started early."



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