I was tempted to say, High School ain’t what it used to be, but the English teacher in me couldn’t quite say it! For example,  Muleshoe High School had five students graduate from South Plains College with an Associate’s Degree before they graduated from MHS with a diploma, thanks to all the dual credit classes they took while Muleshoe High School students.

Congratulations to Zabry Haseloff, Mikaela Haseloff, Amri Melton, Jazlyn Aguire, Zaira Bustillos who earned from 57 to 67 college hours each while taking a boatload of dual credit classes as well as taking other classes and participating in extra-curricular activates during  the four years of their high school careers.

I wanted to know more about how this all happened, so I visited with MHS Principal Cindy Bessire for information for this story, thinking I would explain how the girls made this happen.  But I was then bombarded with major information overload from the very beginning of our talk! I retired in 2004 before many new state requirements and class offerings were put in place. Dual credit, for example, has taken the place of the Advanced Placement classes, like I taught,  as a way for kids to earn college credit while in high school.

Other new high school requirements and programs have been added over the years, which was part of that information overload I talked about.  Had I been teaching as those things were implemented, my conversation with Mrs. Bessire would have fallen into place and made sense to me. Now, parents of high school students deal with all these new things as their children move up to junior high and high school, so they know what I am talking about.

But the rest of you in Muleshoe may not be as aware of the learning opportunities our high school offers to these kids. And you need to know and appreciate that Muleshoe ISD is working hard to give students a leg up in college as well as industry based and vocational opportunities.

Student Service Coordinator Steven Butler, who also coaches football and golf at the high school, meets with students at the end of their eighth grade year to discuss the endorsement of their choice and how to fulfill its requirements. Endorsements took the place of academic tracks, which I think is what we used to call them back in the old days. Endorsements can be college-bound as well as industrial and vocational based.

Coach Butler, each student, and their parents,  look at where the student’s interests and talents lie and what they want to do with their life. April Smith is in charge of the Academy, which meets in the library and prepares students for their choice of endorsement and helps them become TSI compliant for future studies. Students now have to pass the TSIA-Texas Success Initiative Assessment. Passing this test allows students to continue their post-high school education without having to take remedial classes, regardless of their chosen endorsement.

As to the dual credit program, Muleshoe has a pact with South Plains College to offer courses that would meet the requirements of four-year college electives courses. The cost of these classes is considerably less than tuition at four-year colleges, an obvious plus for parents and students having to pay their own way with student loans and jobs. If a student needs a class not offered by South Plains, then MISD looks to other colleges for that class.

The Career and Technical Education program is another example of a path available to students who want to focus on more industry/skilled labor careers. Read more about this program in two other stories on the blog: “I Thoroughly Enjoyed the CTE Power Lunch,” March 10, 2019, and “Another Successful CTE Power Lunch,” March 5, 2020. CTE was a new program added after my days at the high school, too.

After talking to Mrs. Bessire, I was overwhelmed by all the changes going on in education since I have left the classroom and impressed with the programs MHS offers. It’s a whole new ball game up there. Be proud of your school and what MISD is doing for our student population.

And yes, educators are definitely underpaid!

Thanks to Cindy Bessire and Steven Butler for their help with this story.