Released by Lindale ISD

The Lindale School Board adopted new high school graduation requirements in an effort to send the most prepared group of Lindale High School graduates into college.The board voted on February 10 to require a year of technology, along with a semester of health and speech.

“I am very pleased and proud of the recommendation from our high school principals and counselors,” Lindale ISD Superintendent Stan Surratt said. “We will require more credits than the state plan. We think speech and health credits will be very beneficial to all students.”

The decision came after the Texas Legislature passed House bill five (HB5), giving more local control over graduation requirements to Texas school districts. The bill allows schools to scrap the traditional requirements of technology, health, and speech.

“Where Lindale puts an emphasis on speech, other communities may choose for the subject to be an elective or require other subject classes,” Surratt explained.

However, Lindale’s school board voted to keep those requirements. Now, the Foundation Plan will require 24 credits to graduate. The state only requires 22 credits. The Endorsement Diploma will require 26 credits to graduate. The adopted plan focuses on higher education, encouraging students to pick a career path early, through allowing students to essentially specialize in a certain endorsement. There are five endorsements including Public Services, STEM (Science Technology, Engineering, and Math), Arts and Humanities, Business and Industry, and Multi-disciplinary. Districts have the power to choose what courses they offer under each endorsement, but should offer as many of the endorsements as possible.Students would select an endorsement, similar to a college major, and take a sequence of classes aligning with the particular endorsement. For example, four years of Spanish would earn you an endorsement in the Arts and Humanities.

“The endorsement will give more flexibility and course choices to students,” Surratt said.“Our plan at Lindale is for most students to graduate with an endorsement diploma.”

HB5 states the new plan will go into effect with the 2018 freshman class. However, Lindale will start the process a year early. So, when scheduling begins for the current freshman class of 2017, there will only be two graduation plans—the Foundation Plan, requiring 24 credits, and the Foundation with an Endorsement plan, requiring 26 credits. Every student must take speech, health, and technology. If students choose to go with the more advanced plan,then they will schedule a series of classes supporting the endorsement they choose.

“It will definitely prepare them better for college because we are encouraging them to select a specific track in the area they are most interested,” said Lindale High School Counselor David Ramsey. “As a result, they will be ready to select a college major after graduation with ease.”

While the board’s verdict brings some changes to the high school, Award-winning Lindale High School speech and debate coach, Janice Caldwell, said she is thankful some things are staying the same.

“I am so blessed to teach in a place that understands our future in business and in life depends on our ability to communicate,” said Caldwell.“Every child should be exposed to this discipline because they will need the critical thinking and speaking skills garnered in this program.”

Administrators are excited for the chance to decide what is best for their students.

“I am thankful the legislature and the state board of education gave more local control in this process,” Surratt said.

The change allows the district to send every Lindale Eagle soaring into higher education, focused and ready to land in a career.