New graduation requirements for 2014-15 school year

Emily Burleson, News Editor

House bill 5, the set of new graduation requirements adopted by the Texas Legislature this January, will affect the incoming freshmen of the 2014-15 school year and all years following.

The bill alters the options students have to graduate, eliminating the Minimum, Recommended and Distinguished Achievement programs. Now students must complete the Foundation plan in order to graduate, which is similar in nature to the previous Minimum plan.

Students will be encouraged to earn an endorsement and further Distinguished Achievement and/ or Performance Acknowledgement on their diploma in addition to the basic requirements.

Katy ISD announced during their December Board meeting that students will need a parent signature to opt out of choosing an endorsement. Currently, the five approved programs are STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), fine arts, public services, business and industry, arts and humanities and multidisciplinary.

Noteworthy changes in the Foundation plan involve Computer Science counting as a Language Other than English credit, of which two are required to graduate, also a change from the Minimum plan. Three mathematics credits will be required, but Algebra II is no longer necessary.

“You’re going to see a lot of flexibility for students as they’re able to make an increased level of choices in their course selection that will ultimately lead to graduation from Katy ISD,” said Chief Academic Officer Christine Caskey at the December board meeting.

The district may also allow students who are not on track to graduate in four years because of failed or missed courses an opportunity to graduate by the Foundation program.