Alternative Graduation Requirements Gives Former SISD Students Opportunity to Earn Diploma

With the recent passage of Senate Bill 463 and the Socorro Independent School District Board of Trustees adopting a resolution that approves alternative graduation requirements, SISD students, who have not graduated due to an assessment deficiency and who qualify under certain criteria, will now have the opportunity to receive their diploma.

The alternative requirements will allow students, who have been out of high school for many years but never received their diploma because of not passing a standardized state test, to have their information reviewed by an SISD local graduation committee to see if they qualify to graduate based on the new requirements.

“This process is very emotional because these individuals, many of them who are adults with children of their own now, have wanted to move on with their lives but haven’t been able to,” said Cory Craft, SISD academic compliance officer. “This will give them a new lifeline to pursue going to college, career goals or bettering their job opportunities.”

The resolution states that pursuant to Education Code 28.02541, a district may award an individual a high school diploma if they entered the ninth grade before the 2011-2012 school year and did not perform satisfactorily on all or part of an assessment required for graduation, but did meet all other graduation requirements for the year they entered ninth grade.

Under the local alternative graduation requirements, the district committee may deem students eligible to receive their high school diploma based on criteria, such as an industry certification, current or former military service, successfully completing at least one college course, or meeting standard on a different assessment such as the SAT or ACT.

One SISD student who recently qualified to earn his diploma was elated at the opportunity to go through the new graduation requirement process.

“This has opened a thousand doors for me and given me so much confidence now, knowing that I am a high school graduate,” said Mike Torres, a former Americas High School student.

Torres said now he can finish a course he needs at El Paso Community College and pursue his goal of applying for the El Paso Police Department.

“I see a better future, most importantly, for my family. Getting my diploma is a huge accomplishment and a big deal,” he said.

The district committee will be reviewing individuals who may qualify to graduate under the local alternative graduation requirements now through Sept. 1, 2019.

Individuals who would like to inquire about going through the review process with the SISD local graduation committee may call (915) 937-0353.