Earning an Endorsement

  • What is a 21st Century Academy Endorsement?

    The 21st Century Academy Endorsement is a special notation on a student’s transcript that indicates the student was part of a 21st Century Academy and attained a certain level of accomplishments specified by the academy. All 21st Century Academy students are encouraged to earn an endorsement.

    Are There Various Levels of Endorsement?

    Three levels of endorsement may be attained by students in all academies and will be marked on their transcript along with the academy name. Students who do not endorse but complete the academy coursework receive a certificate of completion.

    • Endorse
    • Endorse with Honors
    • Endorse with High Honors

    How are 21st Century Academy Endorsed Students Recognized?

    endorsement cord image

    • Students receive a specific notation on their transcript.
    • Students are identified in the high school graduation program.
    • Students earn a special red, black, and white cord for graduation.

    Why Should a Student Pursue an Endorsement?

    • The endorsement is a good indication for colleges and employers that you are a dedicated student with a passion for a specific area.
    • An endorsement is similar to an honors designation.
    • An endorsement recognizes a student for their subject-matter concentration.
    • An endorsement is a great self-marketing tool!
    • Students who complete endorsement requirements have a resume worthy experience with a professional portfolio of coursework, extension experiences, student work-based learning experiences, and projects that can be shared with potential colleges, post-secondary institutions and employers. 

    How Does a Student Earn an Endorsement?

    All academies have individual endorsement requirements. These requirements include:

    A Portfolio —

    To earn an endorsement, all academies require students to prepare a portfolio. Portfolios include:

    • Academy coursework, including additional required and highly recommended courses
    • Individual Plan of Study (IPS)
    • Extension Hours (eHours)
    • 21st Century Endorsement Requirements Summary sheet
    • Resume
    • Work-Based Learning Experiences (WBL), including feedback from WBL sponsor, if appropriate. The purpose of a WBL is to connect skills students are learning in the classroom to authentic, "real world" experiences to help students connect their school learning with post-secondary and career opportunities. Student Work-Based Learning Experiences take many forms during a student’s four-year academy experience. This includes various career presentations during school, job shadowing (typically short term), earning industry-standard certifications, internships, practicing skills/knowledge in an authentic learning experience, doing projects for "clients," and more.
    • Academy Employability Skills with feedback
    • Grade Point Average (GPA)
    • Senior Capstone Presentation with feedback

    Academy Coursework —

    This coursework fits into the requirements for graduation. These typically fall under the “Individual Focus” category, of which a minimum of 6 credits are needed for graduation. These courses are identified in each student’s Individual Plan of Study (IPS) and housed in Xello. (visit the Xello website)

    • 21st Century Courses: For all levels of endorsement, students are required to successfully complete the 21st Century Grade Level Coursework which is identified by each academy.
    • Additional Required and Highly Recommended Coursework: Each academy may identify coursework that is Required or Highly Recommended outside of the 21st Century Academy required grade level coursework.

    Individual Plan of Study logo Individual Plan of Study —

    All Olathe Public Schools students will develop an individual plan of study before leaving eighth grade. A template provided in the district's Program Planning Guide can be used to map out a students' plan. It will then be inputted into Xello (visit the Xello website) Each academy has an example of a student IPS available for families to use as a guide. A student's IPS is a working plan and is revisited and updated each year depending on the student’s developing interests.

    Extension Hours (eHours) —

    Experiences outside the regular school day extend the academy's opportunities and make them unique! Extension hours are specific to each academy. They are earned outside the regular school day and not tied to a course grade. Examples of eHours include but are not limited to:

    • Leading community presentations
    • Academy related volunteer/community service
    • Attending an academy related guest speaker session
    • Participating in academy-related competitions
    • Providing service to the academy
    • Participating in academy events (i.e. open houses, career events, etc.)
    • Submitting scholarship/award applications
    • Participating in college or post-secondary visit related to the academy
    • Participating in an academic conference or a summer internship
    • Taking prep classes for post-secondary admittance exams (i.e. ACT Test Prep classes)
    • Taking a post-secondary entrance or certification exam (i.e. ACT, SAT, Compass)
    • Participating in district sponsored Skills for Success Workshop
    • Participating in an approved Work-Based Learning Experience outside of school day (WBLs)
    • Presenting Senior Capstone Project (outside school day)

    In order to endorse, students are required to earn a certain number of eHours.

    • Total eHours needed for levels of endorsement:
      • Endorse = 200 eHours
      • Endorse with Honors = 300 eHours
      • Endorse with High Honors = 400 eHours
    • eHours are continuously earned over all four high school years.
    • A minimum of 50 eHours is earned each of four years, including senior year, regardless of total.
    • Students log eHours that are tracked in an electronic format.
    • Approval for what is accepted as an eHour is determined by the academy facilitator(s).
    • Students may begin earning eHours as soon as they are accepted into an academy (second semester of eighth grade).

    Grade Point Average (GPA) —

    To earn an endorsement,

    • Students must maintain a specific GPA in their 21st Century Academy Grade Level coursework:
      • Endorse = 3.0 GPA
      • Endorse with Honors = 3.5 GPA
      • Endorse with High Honors = 4.0 GPA
    • Students may be required to maintain a specific Academy GPA including ALL the required coursework. This is individual to each academy.
    • Students must maintain a specific overall cumulative GPA for their high school education.
      • Endorse = 2.75 GPA
      • Endorse with Honors = 3.0 GPA
      • Endorse with High Honors = 3.5 GPA

    Senior Capstone Presentation —

    To earn an endorsement, all academies require students to do a Senior Capstone public presentation about their individual project or professional learning experience placement. Specific feedback is provided for the presentation.

    Refer to individual academy endorsement requirements on each academy's endorsment table.