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Success in Secondary School

Success in middle and high school requires planning and lots of hard work. This section of the Secondary School Information Guide is intended to answer many of the questions students and their parents have about planning for graduation and the rules and procedures schools in AISD follow. 

Use this guide to help select middle and high school courses. Many courses are required and there are also many enjoyable and enriching electives. Choose your courses carefully, plan to work hard, and get involved in extracurricular activities.

Academic and Career Planning

Academic and career planning is an ongoing process for students in AISD. In order to help students determine their career goals and prepare for selecting a high school Endorsement, counselors present guidance and career-planning activities each year to students in grade PK - 11. Objectives of these lessons are to expose students to career pathways, explore career interests through career inventories, learn about post-secondary education options, and plan courses they might take to meet graduation requirements and, ultimately, to determine their career goals. 

In grades PK-4 students are taught a minimum of one career lesson each year by elementary counselors. Students become familiar with the characteristics of jobs and careers and begin to explore the world of work. They also investigate their personal interests and start to make connections between these interests and future plans for school and work. In 5th grade, students complete an interest inventory and seek to relate these interests to classes they may take in middle school. They are also introduced to the concept of Endorsements and analyze how these Endorsements intersect with their interests. In addition, students receive information about the personal financial benefits of post-secondary education along with ways to fund post-secondary schooling.

Students in grades 6-8 utilize a web-based career interest program called Naviance. Students complete career interest assessments, learn about careers, post-secondary education, and begin to plan their high school courses. 

The prescribed level of achievement for all AISD students is the foundation high school program plus distinguished level of achievement. Students must declare one or more endorsements upon entering 9th grade. An endorsement is required in order to graduate with the distinguished level of achievement recognition. Eight grade students select courses in TEAMs based on their intended endorsement.

Parents can review the results of their student’s work and course selections on Naviance Family Connection. Contact your student’s counselor or ADVANCE College/Career Advisor for more information on this program.

In grades 9-12, students utilize Naviance for continued college and career planning and course selections. Listed below are recommended counselor led activities by grade level:

  • 9th grade students complete the Career Cluster Finder and the Career Interest Profiler assessments, explore careers and clusters and can view the Roadtrip Nation interview archive. Students will have the option to research and add 3 careers to their favorites based on the results of their interest inventories. Students can research colleges and add at least 3 that they are considering attending. Students can also begin building their resume in Naviance. 
  • 10th grade students complete the Strengths Explorer assessment, explore careers and clusters and can view the Roadtrip Nation interview archive. Students will have the option to research and add 3 careers to their favorites based on the results of their interest inventory. Students can research colleges and add at least 3 that they are thinking about attending. They can also update their resume in Naviance. 10th graders will also review their PSAT score results and potential to enroll in advanced courses
  • 11th grade students will continue to research careers and colleges, including college majors, and update their favorite careers and colleges they are thinking about attending. They may also update resumes.
  • 12th grade students will add at least 4 colleges to Colleges I’m Applying To, complete college applications, both the Common App and Apply Texas, www.commonapp.org or www.applytexas.org. Seniors receive support with resumes, letters of recommendation, and application materials.

Parents Can Help

Parents play an influential role in helping their son or daughter plan, prepare and develop post-secondary and career plans. Parents should:

  • Learn graduation plan requirements and be sure that the student meets them.
  • Encourage students to take a language other than English.
  • Make sure students select courses that help them meet their educational and career goals. 
  • Encourage students to take Advanced Placement courses and dual credit courses to earn college credit while still in high school.
  • Help students to learn about colleges and careers that interest them.

Encourage your student to be involved in at least one extracurricular activity. Students who are involved in after school (extracurricular) activities are often more successful in school. AISD offers clubs, teams and other opportunities for learning academic and social skills, making friends and developing leadership skills.