Personal Graduation Plans
4-Year Graduation PlansDeveloping a four year high school plan and updating it annually keeps students on track to graduation and in sight of their post-secondary plans. The process of four year planning encourages students to explore career opportunities as well as post-secondary possibilities. Students should use their 4-year plan as a tool that will help them make intelligent choices about their lives after high school year. Annually, students develop and update their four year plans with assistance from their school counselor. Students and their parents are encouraged to utilize this tool in conjunction with graduation requirements.Beyond core graduation requirements, four year planning allows students to create a road map preparing them to meet college and career pathway requirements. The intent of sequences of courses is not to force students to choose a career, but rather provide them an opportunity to explore a multitude of career options. Career pathways give students a lens through which they can begin to see the connection between a strong academic background and personal career goals.
What is four-year planning and how can a parent get involved?
Four-year planning means planning out courses to take in order to (a) complete high school graduation requirements (b) gain perspective on post-secondary opportunities. The benefits to four-year-planning are limitless, but include awareness of your progress regarding general requirements and gaining a sense of direction.
There are two things your student should keep in mind when considering four-year planning. First, with enough advanced planning, students will be able to fit in all of the requirements they need to graduate in four years. Second, four-year planning should be thought of as an ongoing process.It is normal for a student to change their plan as new opportunities develop or roadblocks arise. Four-year planning is extremely helpful in putting high school life in perspective, looking at the future and realizing that there is life after high school.
House Bill 5 (HB 5), passed by the Texas Legislature, made substantial changes to the state's graduation requirements. It has moved from the current Minimum, Recommended ("4x4") and Distinguished graduation plans to the Foundation (22 credits), the Foundation + Endorsement (26 credits) and the new Distinguished Plan (26 credits). The Foundation + Endorsement allows students to earn an Endorsement in a specific area of study by completing four additional credits.
All 8th graders will be required to choose one of five endorsements as outlined in the new graduation plan. The five endorsement areas are: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Business and Industry; Public Service; Arts and Humanities; and Multidisciplinary Studies.The earned Endorsement will be reflected on the student’s official transcript at the completion of their high school career.