“It’s not always easy; it’s challenging. Not everyone is cut out for this field, but I knew it was for me in that initial class. I really believe more students should try it.”
McAllen ISD is providing her with the course selection that will have her getting hands-on experience through “Clinical Rotations” in a hospital and learning to mix chemical compounds in a pharmaceutical class. She will earn multiple professional certifications that could save her and her family thousands.
“The Pharmacy Technicians Certification is like an $18,000 program for free!” she said.
Now, incoming freshmen will be allowed to select a career-specific path that suits their interests while challenging them to reach their full potential.
“As educators, it’s our obligation to not just apply the law – in this case House Bill 5 – but to also extend the thinking to its fullest potential given the resources,” said Dr. Ponce. “With this pushing of the envelope, our students can truly benefit and ultimately fulfill their dreams of reaching the college or career of their choice.”
In January 2014, the state legislature made changes that will impact high school students beginning with the 2014-15 freshmen class (the Class of 2018). Students are still required to earn a specific number of credits and pass the state assessments (known as STAAR).
In addition, students will now be able to earn endorsement options with career emphasis. The state has identified five types of endorsements:
- Business & Industry
- Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)
- Public Services
- Arts & Humanities
- Multidisciplinary Studies
Katherine is on course to earn an Arts & Humanities Endorsement, while Shelby earns a Public Services Endorsement.
It is important to note that some school districts will offer only one endorsement option. Incredibly, McAllen students will have a choice of all five endorsements starting with the 2014-2015 school year.
For the last several years, McAllen has been creating programs that offer students a cluster of advanced skills that fall in line with the new plan. Current high school students do not have to choose an endorsement.
A student may earn a public services endorsement by completing foundation and general endorsement requirements (including Algebra II and a fourth advanced science course) and:
(A) a coherent sequence courses for four or more credits in CTE that consists of at least two courses in the same career cluster including at least one advanced CTE course which includes any course that is the third or higher course in a sequence. The courses may be selected from courses in all CTE career clusters or CTE innovative courses approved by the commissioner of education. The ﬁnal course in the sequence must be selected from one of the following CTE career clusters:
- Education & Training
- Health Science
- Human Services
- Law, Public Safety, Corrections, & Security
(B) four courses in Junior Reserve Oﬃcer Training Corps (JROTC)