Nacogdoches students, parents & teachers prepare for HB5 changes

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Every spring, students enter highschool or college will start looking at what classes they will take the nextfall, but with the adoption of House Bill 5 over the summer, students andeducators are looking at the process in a whole new way.

One area that House Bill 5 changed wasgraduation requirements. Under the new system, the former graduation categoriesof minimum, recommended and distinguishedare being taken over by a new foundation diploma. The foundation diploma willallow students to excel in one of five areas: science, technology, engineeringand math (STEM classes), business and Industry, public services, arts and humanitiesand multidisciplinary studies.

When it comes totesting, the bill is reducing the end of course exams from 15 to 5. The coursesthat will still have end of course exams are English II, Algebra I, Biology andU.S. History.

Because of the changes, schools arenow looking at ways to improve the high school experience and at NacogdochesISD, the new standards are seen as opportunity.

"The new graduation requirementswill be a benefit to our students in respect to that they will be able to takemore classes that they are interested in," Principal Kenneth Wooten said.

The changes appear to make elective coursesmore important and on the surface end of course exams will be less of an issue.

"Until we see what is going tohappen next year, we just don't know, but yes less testing is always better,"teacher Kim Clark said.

With changes coming so fast, it hasmany parents looking for details.

"I'm here to find out more aboutthe classes that are offered and this House Bill 5 and what it is going torequire," parent Trish Smith said.

Jasmine Patel is a junior and couldpossibly graduate early thanks to duel credit college classes. She feels thatthe new curriculum would make what she is doing a common occurrence.

"It's education curriculum,"Patel said. "That's what everyone promotes in high school that we should be incollege, but why do we need to dumb it down for standard testing."

Smith shares the same feeling..

"I think it is important to give children theopportunity to find out more about the careers they want to pursue in thefuture," Smith said

The reduction of high school testing requirements wentinto effect this year, and the changes to the graduation and course creditrequirements will go into effect next school year.

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