Legislation passed in 2013 (called “House Bill 5” or “HB5”) made significant changes to high school graduation requirements, replacing the Minimum, Recommended, and Distinguished Achievement graduation plans with one Foundation program, on top of which students can earn endorsements and a “Distinguished Level of Achievement.” TEA maintains a great HB5 website full of useful information.
TEA has provided a Graduation Toolkit to help students, parents and counselors work through graduation plans. A document explaining the overview of the graduation requirements can be found here: Graduation Program Overview.
THE FOUNDATION PLAN
To earn a Texas high school certificate, students will need to graduate by fulfilling the requirements of the Foundation Plan. However, all students are HIGHLY ENCOURAGED to graduate with more requirements than the foundation plan (i.e. an endorsement).
In addition to the Foundation Plan, students are highly encouraged to graduate with at least one endorsement. A document explaining the overview of each endorsement can be found here: Endorsements Overview. Chaparral Star Academy offers all 5 endorsement as opportunities to its high school students. To determine how, feel free to look at How can a CSA Student earn each Endorsement. CSA encourages all students to graduate with an endorsement, as there are numerous Benefits of Graduating with an Endorsement.
DISTINGUISHED LEVEL OF ACHIEVEMENT
In addition to the Foundation Plan and Endorsements, students are highly encouraged to graduate with a Distinguished Level of Achievement. A student may earn a distinguished level of achievement by completing four credits in mathematics, four credits in science, the remaining curriculum requirements and the curriculum endorsements for at least one of the five areas. A document explaining the benefits of the distinguished level of achievement can be found here: Distinguished Level of Achievement Benefits.
In addition to the Foundation Plan, Endorsements and the Distinguished Level of Achievement, a student can earn Performance Acknowledgements. Students may earn an additional acknowledgment on their diploma because of outstanding performance in areas such as dual credit courses and bilingualism and biliteracy; on Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, PSAT, ACT’s Plan, the SAT or ACT exams; or by earning a nationally- or internationally-recognized business or industry certification. Please contact the front office for more specific information or feel free to look at Performance Acknowledgements Flowchart.
STATE TESTING GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS
Along with any of the graduation plans, students are required to earn a Level II: Satisfactory Performance on each of 5 End-of-Course (EOC) exams – Algebra I, Biology, English I, English II and US History. Students who earn high school credit through correspondence course or dual enrollment at Austin Community College are still required to pass the corresponding EOC. However, students who earn high school credit through credit-by-exam are exempt from taking the respective EOC. Transfer students who took any of the 5 courses at a private school are also exempt from taking the respective EOC given that the private school credit is accredited and accepted by CSA.
Score levels are printed on a student’s transcript, his/her graduation plan and copies are always available for pickup in the front office with advance notice.
Students can also use results on other certified assessments to substitute for the graduation requirement. However, the student must take the approved replacement assessment before he/she has attempted the course and/or EOC. In other words, a student cannot opt out of taking the EOC for a future substitute assessment. The EOC Substitute Assessment Standards Chart details which assessments (and respective scores) can replace the EOC graduation requirement.
CPR TRAINING GRADUATION REQUIREMENT
According to TAC Chapter 74 Rule 74.38, in order to graduate and receive a high school diploma, a student must receive mandatory CPR training. Typically, CSA delivers this training annually to 7th graders during PE class and on a specific date for all seniors who have yet to fulfill this requirement. A student can be exempted from receiving this instruction when the student provides proof of receiving similar CPR instruction from an outside source.
SPEECH GRADUATION REQUIREMENT
To receive a high school diploma, a student must demonstrate proficiency, as determined by the district in which the student is enrolled, in the following:
• Delivering clear verbal messages
• Choosing effective nonverbal behaviors
• Listening for desired results
• Applying valid critical-thinking and problem-solving processes
• Identifying, analyzing, developing, and evaluating communication skills needed for professional and social success in interpersonal situations, group interactions, and personal and professional presentations
CSA instructs students in these skills in Professional Communications, Oral Interpretation, Public Speaking, Independent Study in Speech, Principles of Human Services and Interpersonal Studies. A student graduating from CSA will be required to take one of these courses if he/she has not earned the speech graduation requirement elsewhere.