VISD says students allowed all 5 tracks on way toward diplomas

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Feb. 20, 2014 at 11:01 p.m.
Updated Feb. 20, 2014 at 8:21 p.m.

A crowd of high school juniors groaned when they learned Algebra II is no longer required for graduation.

Most of the students who gathered during a recent informational assembly had already taken or are currently enrolled in Algebra II, said Victoria East junior Ian Moore.

"It seems like they've dumbed down the system a bit by giving us more options," Moore, 16, said. "But I think the endorsement tracks are a pretty neat thing."

At the Victoria school district board of trustees meeting Thursday, administrators gave an update on the state's recent decisions about the new graduation requirements.

"We want to make sure the rigor remains the same in all our courses," said Susanne Carroll, VISD executive director of curriculum, instruction and accountability.

Under the new plan, students are required to select one of five endorsement tracks - science, technology, math and engineering; arts and humanities; business and industry; public service or multidisciplinary - in order to graduate.

During a presentation led by Kim Motley, VISD counseling coordinator, board president Tami Keeling commended the district for being one of the few districts in the region to offer all five endorsement tracks to students.

"Other people in our region are worried about what they're doing to do," Keeling said.

As of Thursday evening, Bloomington school district Superintendent Delores Warnell said the number of endorsement tracks to be offered is still being discussed.

"We know for sure we'll have at least two," Warnell said. "The multidisciplinary track and one other."

Industrial school district Superintendent Tony Williams said the Industrial High School will offer at least three of the five tracks, and his staff is working on developing a fourth.

Administrators are still working on the specifics, but so far, Cuero school district Superintendent James Haley said he foresees being able to offer two or three endorsement tracks next school year.

At Calhoun High School, all five endorsement tracks will be available, said Calhoun County school district Superintendent Bill Wiggins.

Carroll urges parents to meet with their students' counselors individually to learn about the changes.

Several parent nights have also been scheduled since the beginning of the school year.

Superintendent Robert Jaklich said makeup parent information nights on the new graduation requirements are being discussed.

"We realize we have a lot of work to do still," Jaklich said.

There was one change to the social studies course requirements that Ian said he wished had existed earlier - the option of opting out of geography for world history.

"So that was a bit upsetting because I'm not good at geography," Ian said. "I would have loved to have taken a different class."



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