HOUSTON — Part of “Standing for Houston” is spotlighting opportunities that can bring a positive change to your life.

The Texas Education Agency launched a free program for former students who entered the ninth grade before the 2011-2012 school year and didn’t graduate due to failing the TAKS, TAAS, or TEAMS test.

Those students now have the opportunity to get their diploma, but action needs to be taken before Sept. 1. 

Former students have to have met all other graduation requirements and have only the test(s) preventing them from graduating. The alternative requirements for graduation qualify an individual to graduate and receive a high school diploma if the individual meets one of the requirements below:

  • Has met the performance standard on an alternate assessment such as the corresponding EOC test, the TSI, SAT or ACT
  • Performed satisfactorily on the GED
  • Provides evidence of attainment of an industry-recognized postsecondary license or certification
  • Provides evidence of current active duty service in armed forces or a DD Form 214 indicating honorable or general discharge from the armed forces
  • Has successfully completed college-level coursework and earned college credit

"Our goal here is to find people that need this program and have them come back so that we can find the best fit and help them get their diploma," said Shelli Moore, who runs the Klein Independent School District Drop Out Prevention Program.

So far the program at Klein ISD has graduated 21 former students through one of the alternative methods. One of the students is Kelli Cruz. 

She passed all her high school courses but because she failed the state's standardized test, Kelli couldn't graduate in 2007. She 100 percent says she gave up, but without a high school diploma, Kelli knew her opportunities were limited. 

"It’s exciting," Kelli said. "So they can just see me achieve something that I’ve been wanting to achieve for years." 

If you or someone you know qualifies for the graduation options listed above, act now! All you have to do is connect with the school district you attended.