High School “Endorsements” May Help Prepare Students For Tech School

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – There’s some new requirements to graduate from South Dakota high schools that could impact your child’s future.

The state decided yesterday that high schools will start giving out what they call “endorsements” in addition to high school diplomas.

These endorsements are labels for what the student has chosen to focus on. The  “advanced career” endorsement may help students better prepare for tech school if that’s what they’re interested in.  

Like a lot of us, it took Elliane Antrim a little while to figure out what she wanted to be when she grew up. Originally, she wanted to be an art educator, but now you’ll find her feeling most at home in a pair of scrubs.

”I still get to deal with people and that’s what I really love,” said Antrim. “I love caring for people. I just have a big passion for people.”

Before Antrim was a student at Southeast Tech, she graduated from Brandon Valley High School, long before specialized “endorsements” came around.

”Everybody took all the same classes,” said Antrim. “You could take the AP classes, and I did take a few, but everyone was taking the same thing.”

Southeast Tech instructors support these endorsements.

”When students have to follow one path you know it works for a good majority of students, but it doesn’t work for everyone,” said Craig Peters, the Dean of Curriculum Instruction at Southeast Tech. “I think the state was losing out.”

Students will still need 22 credits to graduate. Students can now fulfill their graduation requirements with classes more relevant to their post grad interests, like tech school.

”When you have students that are pigeon-holed in, they’re not really active in their learning,” said Peters. “They’re not going to be as skilled as she could be.”

Southeast Tech instructors say tech school is a great fit for many students. This state decision comes at a time when tech jobs, like nursing, are in high demand.

”It’ll be an advance for all areas,” said Peters.

South Dakota will be be rolling out this new concept over the next two years.

This is the first time South Dakota high school graduation requirements have changed since 2009.

According to Margaret Pennock, Southeast Tech’s Community Engagement Grant Specialist, for students coming directly to Southeast Tech from high school in Fall 2017, 73% came from South Dakota high schools.

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