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Juniors and Seniors Navigate New Exam and Graduation Policies

 

The senior year in high school usually comes to a close with celebrations like senior trips, prom, and graduation traditions.  It is a time to enjoy those last few precious weeks of high school with friends that might soon be missed, as graduates begin their path into becoming adults.  It is time to make special memories that sometimes last a lifetime.  

 

Because of COVID-19 complications, the Class of 2020 seniors will be missing out on many of these exciting experiences, and although they are making the best of the current situation, it’s really not the same.  Video conferencing is not the same as spending time with friends in person. Recalling years of athletic competitions is not the same as playing that bittersweet final game in that senior-year season. Honoring graduation during a time of social distancing is not the same as crossing a stage to accept a diploma surrounded by hundreds of guests. 

 

Parents of seniors are trying to find answers to confusing questions about new graduation requirements, and school districts and school boards are beginning to release updated information.  Policies on class rank, GPA calculations, and graduation ceremonies are up to the discretion of each school district. A few districts have chosen to use grades up until the fourth six weeks, while some have opted to use the grades as of the end of the first semester. Students and their parents are strongly encouraged to visit their school district’s website regularly to stay informed of policy changes, as well as using their school guidance counselors for assistance with any questions.

High school juniors are also navigating this new way of life.  As many of our juniors were planning summer college tours, preparing for college entrance exams, and thinking about the start of an exciting senior year in August, the usual way to do these things has changed.

TEA released an informative College Entrance Exams Update.  TEA suggests that all students stay informed about the evolving test schedules, and they recommend students continue to study for the exams.  The ACT and SAT offer test prep, practice exams, and advice online. There are also free educational tools and practice tests on Khan Academy.  Keep up with the latest information on exams at SAT Exam Info, ACT Exam Info, and the  College Board AP Testing Update.

It is expected that this year more students will choose to attend less expensive, local colleges.  The Princeton Review’s 2020 College Hopes & Worries survey explains that “heightened by fears of a sharp economic slowdown brought on by the coronavirus outbreak, a majority of students and parents now say affordability and dealing with the debt burden that often goes hand-in-hand with a degree is their top concern.” (CNBC article)  Considering the frequent changes involving these major decisions, some students have started from the beginning with searching career and college plans  Several college campuses have canceled or postponed their in-person tours, but there are resources available online that provide students the opportunity to take virtual tours.  There are also many online tools to help students research their college and career options. The College Board’s Big Future is a recommended tool for assisting students in finding the right fit.  Another informational website is Scoir, which helps students map out a plan to achieve college and career goals by asking personalized questions.

No one knows what the future holds.  This is a sometimes overwhelming and bizarre situation, and information can change daily. Continue to use your district’s online resources for assistance and guidance during this time.  We all hope that these interesting times will result in positive outcomes for our high schoolers in the future. We all hope we will come out of this unprecedented experience safer, stronger, more driven, and more grateful. Whether our high school seniors celebrate graduation in a huge ceremony or by any other means, it will not erase the many years of dedication and hard work they have put in. It is certain that the Class of 2020 will not be forgotten. 

 

Klein ISD superintendent and high school principals collaborated on an inspiring message for their seniors to remind them to stay positive.

 

Angleton ISD set up a senior page with pictures of friends and classmates together before social distancing.

 

Alief ISD highlights seniors on Facebook for their extraordinary achievements.

 

Additional Resources:

 

TEA https://tea.texas.gov/#Coronavirus%20(COVID-19)

 

TEA  Graduation requirements:

https://tea.texas.gov/sites/default/files/Guidance%20on%20Grading%20and%20Graduation%20Requirements%203.30.pdf

 

College Deposit Deadline Updates: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1I6FRnbfPFmzNzKoPwYSFgLPB23XYdDTNk7bnpp5omjM/mobilebasic

 

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