March 24, 2014
HPISD School Board approves new graduation plan effective with Class of 2018

Dear HPISD Parents,


This year, the State Board of Education adopted new rules relating to graduation requirements.  Students currently in the eighth grade - the Class of 2018 - will be the first group required to graduate under the new plan, which is part of House Bill 5.


House Bill 5 allows local school boards some discretion regarding which endorsements and supporting courses to offer. While some courses are still required by the state, there is flexibility at the local level. During its March 18 meeting, the HPISD Board of Trustees approved an HP graduation plan, effective with all incoming freshmen for the 2014-15 school year.


To help explain the new requirements, a meeting for parents of incoming ninth-graders will be hosted by HPMS Counselor Joyce Burress and the HPHS counselors at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. March 25 in the HPMS auditorium. 


Here is a Q&A providing details on the new graduation plan:


Q: Who is affected by the HP new graduation plan? 

A: Students who are current eighth graders in 2013-14 and all students thereafter will graduate under the new plan.


Q: Is the new graduation plan different from past HP plans?

A: While the state has required new terminology and some guidelines, the fact is that HP's course requirements will not be a major departure from the plan that has been in place in HP for many years.


Q: How many different options are available under this new graduation plan?

A: There are three options available:

  • Foundation
  • Foundation + Endorsement
  • Distinguished Level of Achievement
Click here to download a PDF with more information on the differences among the three options.


Q: If students complete only the Foundation program, can they apply to a four-year college?

A: Yes, students may apply to four-year colleges upon successful completion of the HPISD Foundation High School Program. HPISD encourages students to research college and university entrance criteria. Students who graduate on the Foundation program without an endorsement may not meet entrance requirements for some colleges and universities.

Q: Who will be eligible for consideration in the top 10 percent for automatic admission to a Texas Institution of Higher Education (top seven percent for UT Austin)?

A: Only students who graduate with the Distinguished Level of Achievement will be eligible for consideration for this honor. 


Q: Must students declare an endorsement? 

A: Yes, students must declare their preferred endorsement areas, in writing on their four-year plan/Personal Graduation Plan, by the beginning of their ninth-grade year. An endorsement is a targeted area of study.


Q: What endorsements must HPISD students choose from?

A: There are four endorsements available:

  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business and Industry
  • Multidisciplinary
  • Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
The graphic below outlines the four endorsements. Click the graphic to download a larger PDF copy. 


Q: Can students graduate with more than one endorsement? 

A: Yes, students who successfully complete the HPISD Foundation High School Program and a fourth science, social studies, and mathematics course will have completed the courses necessary to achieve the Arts and Humanities Endorsement and may also pursue additional endorsements. 


Q: Will students be able to change their endorsement?
A: Yes, students will be able to work with their counselor to change their endorsement while in high school. 


Q: Will students be able to take courses under different endorsement areas?
A: Yes, the Multidisciplinary endorsement will allow students to take courses from each endorsement area.


Q: Can students be undecided as to which endorsement they want to pursue? 

A: No, every student must choose an endorsement. 


Q: Which courses are colleges looking for in college applicants?

A: To better understand which courses are most important for college applicants, HPHS counselors researched the course admission requirements for 29 colleges and universities to which HPISD students often apply. Click here to download a PDF of the findings.


Q: How will students know what courses to take? 

A: Counselors will be meeting with students to map their four-year plan/Personal Graduation Plan (PGP). During these meetings, counselors and students will discuss the order that a student must successfully complete specific classes to meet requirements for the Foundation, the Foundation + Endorsement and the Distinguished Level of Achievement programs.


Q: Will all students have a Personal Graduation Plan? 

A: Yes, all students will meet their counselors as part of their preregistration for ninth grade and develop their four-year plan/PGP. Parents will be required to sign the four-year plan/PGP to ensure that they are aware of the choices made by their children. 


Q: Are students required to take Algebra II? 

A: Algebra II is a requirement for HPHS students who choose to graduate with a Foundation + Endorsement or Distinguished Level of Achievement program. It may also be required under a specific endorsement. HPISD encourages all students to take Algebra II as part of their preparation to go to college or to join the workforce.


Q: Will Speech and Health continue to be required under the new HP graduation plan? 

A: While Speech and Health are not required under the State High School Foundation Program, the courses will continue to be a requirement under the HP graduation plan. 


Q: Will students' transcripts and diplomas reflect Endorsements, Performance Acknowledgements, and Distinguished Level of Achievement? 

A: Yes, both transcripts and diplomas will clearly indicate the Distinguished Level of Achievement under the Foundation High School Program, an endorsement and a performance acknowledgement. 


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