With current eighth graders being required to choose one of five endorsement areas (or graduation pathways) before they enter the ninth grade in August, school districts and charter schools are working on a tight schedule to finalize their local graduation plans.
Region 7 ESC Federal Programs Coordinator Debbie Connor said administrative teams will leave the workshops with free resources, ideas concerning course offerings and master schedules, an assessment of what they have and what they need to successfully implement HB 5, final HB 5 implementation parameters, and customized processes for course selection, scheduling and implementation.
“We know how great HB 5 is going to be for our students, and we want to make sure we are assisting our schools in the best way that we can, which means we all need to work together to share ideas and resources,” said Connor. “We want to assist the district personnel responsible for scheduling and course offerings for students by providing them with valuable tools and resources at these workshops.”
The five areas that a school can offer are: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Business and Industry; Arts and Humanities; Public Services; and Multidisciplinary Studies. The earned endorsement will be reflected on the student’s official transcript at the completion of high school.
HB 5 proves to provide flexibility for high school students in being able to select what they want to learn through the endorsement areas, and in turn, it is creating significant implementation challenges for some high schools.
In addition to determining how students will be counseled in order to adequately adjust graduation plans, school administrators are also trying to figure out which endorsements they can offer based on available funds, the number of teachers needed, and whether or not they currently have teachers certified to teach courses that fall under the endorsement areas.
“Plans of flexibility, course sequencing and the courses allowed to count toward an endorsement will be clarified within each endorsement, and each administrative team will have the opportunity to build their customized programs of study with the on-site assistance of a variety of specialists,” said Connor. “Counselors, as well as superintendents, board members and principals, will leave these sessions with the big picture they need to maximize options that will benefit all their students.”
Another key component of the workshop is to help participants understand the connections between their schools, higher education, the workforce and the business community and the role those connections play in developing their programs of study.
“To really prepare our students for whatever comes after high school, whether it be entering the workforce, joining the military or going to a two- or four -year college, the interest of many stakeholders must be included in the process,” said Region 7 ESC CTE Coordinator Ken Lamartiniere. “Administrators will gain greater insight into those interests from the presenters we have scheduled for the workshops.”
Rich Froeschle, Texas Workforce Commission Director of Labor Market and Career Information, will provide several short presentations on topics including targeted occupations within the Region 7 area, higher education graduation information, the future of the local and statewide job markets, and how to use that information during day one of the two-day workshop.
Lamartiniere said these presentations will help attendees develop their programs of study based on locally available, high-demand jobs and the skills and education needed to obtain those jobs.
Preston Swincher, a professional public speaker, writer, thinker and analyst of public affairs, will also present on day one of the workshops to provide attendees with the tools and information they need to build connections with a technology-driven generation of students and workforce.
Other presenters include Robin Painovich, Career and Technology Association of Texas (CTAT) Executive Director, Dr. Karen Alexander, AchieveTexas Project Coordinator, and several Region 7 ESC staff.
“With such a wide variety of session presenters, facilitators and activities, these workshops will be a one-stop-shop for current information and productive use of time for planning for our districts and charters,” said Connor. “Attendees will also benefit from hearing how other schools have overcome HB 5 challenges and can adapt some of these strategies to meet their local needs.”
Lunch will be provided on both days, and attendees will actually work on their programs of study, scheduling and course offerings during the afternoon of the second day. Connor said she encourages attendees to register to attend both days of the workshop.
“Both days are important because information on day one will provide participants with data relevant to their students and the job market, and information on day two will provide final HB 5 implementation parameters for the decision-making team to utilize when choosing course sequences and offerings for students,” she said.
Connor also stressed the importance of superintendents, school board members, counselors and principals attending together as a decision-making team.
“It is vital that each of these important members are sitting at the same table, hearing the same information and working together to customize the options for their particular community and district or charter school,” said Connor.
Participants must register separately online at https://misweb.esc7.net/ for each day of the workshop. Day one can be registered for using session number 042853, and day two can be registered for using session number 042880. For questions or help with registration, call 903-988-6848 or e-mail Connor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Region 7 Education Service CenterRegion 7 ESC is committed to student success by providing quality programs and services that meet or exceed customer expectations. One of 20 regional education service centers statewide, Region 7 ESC participates in the planning development, coordination, implementation and evaluation of innovative educational programs for 96 school districts and 10 charter schools in the counties of Anderson, Angelina, Cherokee, Gregg, Harrison, Henderson, Nacogdoches, Rains, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, Smith, Panola, Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood.