Sunday, February 9, 2014

Endorsements - What Must You Do?
House Bill 5 included considerations relating to Curriculum, Assessment, and Accountability.  In upcoming articles, we will share an overview of requirements and opportunities in each area, beginning with Curriculum.  One major element in this area is the introduction of an concept known as Endorsements.  Incoming 9th grade students must select an endorsement, in writing, although they do have the opportunity to change their selection during their high school years.
Under HB 5, districts are encouraged to offer up to 5 endorsements, or courses of study.  While fundamentally similar to the career planning efforts of counselors over the years, the endorsement approach formalizes and groups curriculum under specific disciplines, including:
- Business and Industry
- Public Services
- Arts and Humanities
- Multidisciplinary
While offering the Multidisciplinary endorsement is the minimum requirement, by no means should you, as Trustees, limit your thinking to offering only that endorsement.  We encourage you to work closely with your administration to determine how you might realign existing course offerings, or partner with neighboring districts and/or community colleges to offer courses that increase the number of endorsements offered to your students. 
Again, a major thrust of HB 5 is to give you the flexibility to take actions that better address the needs of students in your district; through partnering with other entities, you will have a greater chance to meet those needs.  There will certainly be cost considerations relating to technology, facilities and staffing, but you must weigh these costs against the value students derive from the decisions you make.  Make these decisions wisely and responsibly!

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