Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Journey Begins! Your Child's Career Key

This is the second in a series of emails to help you guide your child as you prepare for the upcoming process of course selection - the first steps in the transition to high school. Our first email provided an overview of HB5. This email provides information about Career Key, a career inventory that your 8th grader recently completed in our new Naviance system.

Career Key is a career inventory that helps students match their personality and interests to careers. It’s a great way for kids to learn about themselves and the types of careers that may be their best match based on personality type.  Learn more at

A Conversation That Will Last a Lifetime

Your child’s Career Key findings are a great resource to spark conversations between the two of you. Please use these tools as you and your child consider his/her roadmap to and through high school. This will prepare your child for the upcoming course selection process which starts in mid-January. The insights these tools provide will be helpful as you work together in the spring to select an endorsement as part of the new Foundation Plan for high school graduation.

Naviance: Your Online Planning Tool

The first step in reviewing your child’s Career Key results is to log onto Naviance, our new online portal for planning for high school, higher education and beyond. If you have not received your Naviance password, please contact your child’s counselor.

Winter Break is a great time to review your child’s Career Key results in Naviance. Eighth grade counselors will review Career Key results with students during the school day in early January and with parents at January parent meetings. (Stay tuned for dates coming directly from your middle schools.)

In the meantime, you also may wish to visit the SBISD website under STUDENTS > GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS for a one-page overview of reading your child’s Career Key results.

We hope you are finding these emails helpful. We welcome and appreciate your feedback as we work to assure you have the information you need to best help your child succeed.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Introduction to House Bill 5

Click here to watch informational video on House Bill 5.


HB 5 creates a new graduation plan called the FOUNDATION PLAN.  The FOUNDATION PLAN replaces the previous Minimum, Recommended and Distinguished plans and is the plan under which students entering high school during the 2014-15 academic year will graduate.  The FOUNDATION PLAN expands the availability of career and technology (CTE) courses and encourages students to select a personal pathway of study, called an ENDORSEMENT.  All students entering the 9th grade in 2014 will select an endorsement pathway in late Spring, 2014. 

The new plan offers a strong foundation of study with the benefit of added flexibility for students to personalize their own educational experience.  Students will be able to explore areas of interest and study before they reach college and may earn an Associate’s degree or certification while they are still in high school.

The FOUNDATION PLAN consists of 4 English credits, 3 math credits, 3 social studies credits, 3 science credits, 1 fine art credit, 2 foreign language credits, 1 P.E. credit, and 5 elective credits.
Remember, advancement at the high school level is based on the number of credits a student earns in particular content areas.  Successfully passing five End of Course Exams (EOCs) is required for graduation.


The plan offers students the choice of an ENDORSEMENT, or targeted area of study.  Much as a student would pick a major in college, the new option for an ENDORSEMENT offers a student the ability to earn a total of 26 total credits (a combination of core requirements and endorsement electives in a targeted area of study) for high school graduation.  The five ENDORSEMENT options are:
  • Arts and Humanities
  • Business and Industry
  • Public Service
  • STEM (Science and Math)
  • Multidisciplinary
Endorsement course work consists of 1 Math credit, 1 Science Credit, and 2 Electives.  All 8th graders will choose an ENDORSEMENT in the spring, using EXPLORE and other career interest assessments to help inform their decisions. (More on these in upcoming emails along with a parent meeting at your child’s school (dates to be determined).)  Students may change their ENDORSEMENTS at any time, or may opt at the end of their 10th Grade year to graduate under the FOUNDATION PLAN with no endorsement.  Students who graduate under the FOUNDATION PLAN with no endorsement will be eligible to apply to 4-year public universities in the state of Texas, but will not qualify for Top Ten percent consideration.  We recommend that all students graduate with an ENDORSEMENT.  Doing so ensures students have the most opportunities and options available to them.


For an in-depth look at course offerings,  credit options, credit restoration, graduation planning and additional resources beyond what we've covered here, visit the SBISD website under STUDENTS > GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS. Or, visit the SBISD website and look for the HB5 icon on the homepage.

In Spring Branch we believe all students deserve an education that fits their personal needs.  One size does not fit all when it comes to learning or our student's futures, and we believe the new FOUNDATION PLAN with ENDORSEMENTS offers students the chance to customize their learning and be better prepared for their future upon high school graduation. 

Please look for more information in the days and weeks ahead. Your campus will notify you of dates for January parent meetings at your child’s school.

What can I do as a middle school parent to help my child?

Talk to your child about your expectations, their dreams, and how exploring coursework or extracurricular activities now will help them find interests that may lead to a future career. Start a college or career dialogue with your student. Talk to your child about the future, and why it's important to think about career or college options now. Express your thoughts, concerns or expectations about college or future career options. Even if it doesn't always seem like it, your student is looking to you for guidance and direction.

Visit the SBISD PARENT TOOLKIT for tips and information on a wide range of topics.

Talk to your campus counselor or teacher. Success for our students takes all of us working together. We're here to help!

Additional Resources: