Endorsement tracks designed to help students plan future

Some see new options as helpful, others find stress, conflict

Beginning+this+year%2C+eighth+graders%2C+freshmen+and+sophomores+will+have+to+choose+an+%22endorsement%22+that+will+help+them+determine+their+classes+for+the+next+school+year.

Nicole Genrich

Beginning this year, eighth graders, freshmen and sophomores will have to choose an “endorsement” that will help them determine their classes for the next school year.

Hannah Ortega, Lead Reporter

High school is a time full of decisions ranging from choosing what to eat for lunch to determining true friends, and now a major decision has been presented to students.

Current eighth graders, freshmen and sophomores must choose an endorsement for next year with options including business and industry, arts and humanities, public services, and STEM. Within these endorsements are more specific pathways.

Endorsements are part of the new graduation plans established by the state of Texas,” counselor Lissa Testa said. “Texas schools were required to implement the new plans beginning with the 2014-15 freshman class. School districts are allowed to add to the requirements for graduation, but they are not able to go below the state standards.”

These new tracks are designed to help students pick classes that will prepare them for their future career.

“Endorsements provide a guide to elective courses for a specific area of study,” Testa said. “It can be helpful to have your classes mapped out for each year when you know what your interests are.”

Some students see the benefits in having a plan for their time in high school and a plan for taking classes that will help them study their passions.

“It helps you decide what kind of courses you want to take to get into the right place,” freshman Haidyn McKenzie said. “I have trouble deciding what classes to take, but with this, it just kind of relieves some stress.”

However, some students have not yet decided on what they’d like to pursue in the future, and they believe the endorsements are putting stress on them to choose.

“I don’t like it because I feel like it’s making me have to choose now what I want to do when I grow up and, honestly, I have no idea,” sophomore Lauren LaTour said. “I don’t like it because I want to choose to take classes that I like to take, not classes that I have to take because I’ve chosen the fine arts and humanities.”

Conflicting passions also present a problem when it comes to picking an endorsement.

“I want to go into management when I get older and I manage shows in theatre which is a fine art so that kind of contradicts the business management [option,]” LaTour said. “So, I’ve chosen arts and humanities as my endorsement because I’m choosing to do fine arts, but I’m going to go into management when I get older. I don’t know what I’m going to manage. I could manage in theatre, I could manage in companies. I don’t know.”

While some students think that endorsements aren’t necessary because a set of requirements is already in place for all students, Testa said that it shouldn’t be a problem.

It could potentially narrow a student’s course selections by focusing solely on one area of study as opposed to many different elective options,” Testa said. “However, since we have an eight period day, it gives students 32 opportunities to get the 26 required credits for graduation. Realistically, students can choose an endorsement and still have room in their schedule to take electives outside of that particular endorsement pathway.”