Former students get a second chance at diploma


Frisco ISD

For students set to graduate before 2015 that received inadequate TAKS test scores, graduation was deemed impossible. However, a new program implemented allowed 14 former students to receive their high school diploma.

Maddie Aronson, Managing Editor

Earning your high school diploma can be one of the most monumental steps students can take with their education. This year, 14 Frisco ISD students who were previously ineligible for graduation due to inadequate TAKS test scores, got to continue this part of their journey in education, due to new legislation that grants this opportunity for eligible students through 2023. 

“It is important for former students to have access to this program because they attended all 12 years of school, passed all of their FISD coursework and overcome many adversities,” FISD  Student Services Support Team coordinator Beth Hemby said in an email. “One test kept them from earning their high school diploma. As a result, many were not able to go on to fulfill their dreams. Earning their diploma adds closure to that part of their life and allows them to move forward with successful careers, post-secondary education and higher earning potential.”

Students who were set to graduate before 2015 can qualify for the program, if they meet certain criteria that proves their learning in a different way. 

“For students who put in the required work and met all the District requirements, the old testing requirement felt fundamentally unfair,” FISD deputy superintendent of schools Kenny Chandler said in a news release. “I am extremely pleased that the state has realized that learning can be accurately assessed in a lot of different ways other than just with a cumulative standardized test over a year’s worth of learning.”

The TAKS test had proved difficult for some students, and was the only thing standing between them and their diploma. This program has provided students like mother of two, San Juana Olvera, with a fresh opportunity to graduate. 

“I pretty much gave up on myself after three tries [on the TAKS test]. I told myself, ‘This isn’t going to happen,’” Olvera said. “I am finally going to be able to move on and go to college. I wanted to do it for my kids. I want them to see that I did it and I want them to feel like they’re going to do it.”

For those who may be interested in the program, students may contact the Student Services Department at (469) 633-6000, to learn more details about the requirements, and possibly begin the process of received their diploma. 

“[Students] will complete a project or online course through Edgenuity to satisfy the district requirements for the law. Once the project or course is completed and graded, they will receive their diploma through the mail,” Hemby said. “The law also allows for other conditions to earn a diploma, including serving in the military, completing a GED, attending a community college, college or university, or obtaining a certification in a trade. If a perspective person has completed any of these conditions, they can automatically receive their diploma.”

This new state law has opened countless doorways for students, to continue or complete their education, and help them build a better future for themselves.

“It is important for former students to receive their diploma because of increased job opportunities and earning potential,” Hemby said. “Additionally, some of these students have young children that will learn from their perseverance and positive example.”