An alternate graduation program that has helped more than 90 students earn their high school diplomas is set to continue in the Bryan school district.
Both Bryan and College Station school districts approved the alternative graduation option in 2018 with a deadline to request to participate of Sept. 1.
Bryan school board members voted last month to extend the program through 2023; College Station school board members are not expected to continue the program in that district.
The program was open to students who entered a Bryan or College Station high school before the 2011-2012 academic year but did not pass one of three state assessments.
In Bryan, 55 students took advantage of the option before Sept. 1, while 37 in College Station earned their diploma through the program. Four others from Bryan chose to take the current state assessment, the STAAR test, and passed to receive their diploma as standard graduates.
“We are super excited,” said Jill Morris, director of data, statistics, testing and assessment in Bryan. “We hope that we continue to get as many people. Even if they’re not sure that they qualify, they should call and ask. We don’t mind doing that.”
Former students must request the alternative graduation option from the district they last attended. To be eligible, the person must have met the course requirements established for their original graduation year and must have taken their exit test at least three times.
Though former students who request an alternative diploma from Bryan must have last attended a Bryan school, they do not have to live in Bryan or Texas, Morris said.
The request can be made by filling out a form available at bryanisd.org or by contacting Barbara Gentry in the Bryan testing office at 209-1089.
The majority of the College Station students who graduated under the option did so during summer 2018.
The oldest graduate to earn their diploma was a 46-year-old from Bryan, whose class graduated in 1991 but he did not pass the Texas Educational Assessment of Minimum Skills standardized test, Morris said.
The most times a student took one of the pre-STAAR assessments was 17 times on the math TAKS test, she said.
“I’m just amazed at the persistence,” Morris said, noting the emotion many of the new graduates show when they learn they will receive their diploma. “There’s just such a great excitement and a feeling of sense of accomplishment because they’ve done something that they’ve always wanted, but never been able to do.”
One of the stories Morris heard from new Bryan graduates was a former student who had completed two college-level math courses at Houston Community College, but was not allowed to re-enroll until she submitted a transcript showing she had graduated from high school. She graduated in June.
Another example happened in May when a woman who would have graduated from Bryan High School in 1993 earned her diploma and graduated alongside her daughter.
“It’s been really a good thing for a lot of people,” Morris said.