Dallas ISD announces new choice schools and programs

Botello, De Zavala, and Ignite will join fifteen other schools under Dallas ISD’s Public School Choice initiative, bringing the district total to eighteen Choice Schools. The current Innovation Schools are Cabell Elementary, Kramer Elementary, Lee Elementary, Lipscomb Elementary, Preston Hollow Elementary, Rogers Elementary, Weiss Elementary, Marsh Middle, Franklin Middle, and Bryan Adams High School. The existing Transformation Schools are Mata Elementary, Solar Preparatory, Hulcy STEAM Middle, IDEA, and CityLab High School (opening in August 2017).

The goal of Public School Choice is to grow the range of options so that all Dallas ISD students can attend a best-fit school. Best-fit schools are schools where educators can deeply engage students by tapping into their individual interests, aspirations, and preferred learning styles. These new Choice Schools will offer the same types of rigorous academics as Dallas ISD’s Magnet Schools, but will be open to all students regardless of academic ability. The district’s goal is to have 35 new Choice Schools and programs by 2020.

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District currently accepting applications for transformation schools

CityLab High School is one of five Transformation Schools that are currently accepting applications for the 2017-2018 school year. The other schools are Solar Preparatory; Eduardo Mata Montessori; D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School; and the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) at Fannin.

These schools offer specialized academic programming, similar to Magnet Schools but without academic entry requirements, because all children deserve a best-fit school that taps into their individual interests, learning styles, and aspirations. Transformation Schools are open enrollment for all students, regardless of academic ability. Transportation will be provided districtwide within certain parameters.

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New CityLab High School to take learning beyond the classroom

Led by architect and veteran Skyline High School teacher Peter Goldstein and local architect Lorena Toffer, the school will provide a transformative educational experience where learning extends beyond the classroom walls into the streets where students live, work, and play. Students will be prepared to become the next generation of design professionals and civic leaders, equipped with an appreciation and holistic understanding of the urban environment. Programs of study will include architecture, environmental science, and urban and regional planning, leading to one or more endorsements in Business and Industry, Public Services, or Multidisciplinary Studies.

Like other district Transformation Schools, CityLab will be open to all incoming ninth grade students regardless of academic ability. Enrollment will be based on socioeconomic status, following the successful model piloted by Solar Preparatory school for Girls. 50% of accepted students will be eligible for free and reduced price lunch, and 50% of students will not be eligible. To further encourage a diverse student population, 70% of CityLab seats will be reserved for students living within Dallas ISD boundaries, and 30% will be reserved for students living outside of Dallas ISD boundaries. The application window will be open from November 28 to January 31 (The Hub).

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'This is like a super-school': Dallas' new all-girls school has ambitious goals

Before dawn on the first day of school, principal Nancy Bernardino and assistant principal Jennifer Turner sat in their office at the old Bonham Elementary campus in East Dallas, putting together jars of snacks for their teachers.

After months of work, the to-do-list was down to a handful of final details.

“It’s been a year-and-a-half in the making - and we’re finally here,” Bernardino said. “For us, it won’t be real until our girls walk through those doors.”

On Monday, the duo helped open one of Dallas ISD’s newest schools, repurposing a closed elementary for their new school, Solar Preparatory. The school has 198 students from kindergarten through second grade, and will eventually enroll students through eighth grade (The Dallas Morning News)

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PSC 3.0 is now live! District invites educators to design and launch a Choice School in Dallas ISD

The Office of Transformation and Innovation (OTI) is excited to formally announce the release of the Public School Choice (PSC) Competitive Proposal Process, Version 3.0. Through this process, educators have the opportunity to create high-quality, best-fit options for Dallas ISD students to realize their full academic potential.

The recently completed Public School Choice 1.0 and 2.0 competitive proposal processes are ushering in 10 Choice Schools ranging from those that anchor teaching and learning under a Personalized Learning model to a Leadership school to schools that are driven by a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM) framework (The Hub).

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Dallas ISD announces plans for new cohort of Choice Schools

Weiss Elementary and CityLab join eight other schools under the Public School Choice initiative, bringing the district total to 10 Choice Schools. The Innovation Schools are Cabell Elementary, Rogers Elementary, Marsh Middle and Bryan Adams High School. The Transformation Schools are Mata Elementary, Solar Preparatory, Hulcy STEAM Middle, and IDEA High School (The Hub).

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The Learning Lab: Inside the Effort to Re-imagine Dallas Schools

Dallas — the school district but also the city — has been shaped over the past century by hundreds of thousands of individual decisions like this one, made by families seeking the best education for their kids. It has not gone well for Dallas. Those with the means have almost uniformly opted out of DISD, moving to the suburbs or sending kids to private or charter schools. White families fled the district en masse in the decades following desegregation. Middle-class black and Hispanic families weren’t far behind (The Dallas Observer).

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Community, school leaders celebrate D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School

Jonica Crowder-Lockwood, principal, noted that scholars learn in a different way than they did a decade ago. She explained that Hulcy STEAM engages students through community- and project-based learning anchored under a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics model. In the past several weeks, Lockwood has watched her students create blogs, participate in robotics competition, practice leadership and public speaking skills, and create and present projects about real world issues (The Hub).

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Editorial: Why opening another all girls school in Dallas ISD makes sense

The Dallas school board just gave a triple boost to the chances of success for girls who will attend one of its new “transformation” schools next year.

Its decision late last month to reopen Bonham Elementary in East Dallas as an all-girls K-8 campus focusing on sciences and the arts could be a shining jewel in the efforts to help young women become trailblazers in fields where they’re consistently underrepresented (The Dallas Morning News).

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New effort seeks 'audacious' ideas to remake USA high schools

Since its emergence nearly two centuries ago, the American public high school has endured as one of the most promising yet problematic features of our education system. The subject of countless reforms and re-imaginings, the big, comprehensive public high school seems at once ripe for change and stubbornly resistant to it (USA Today).

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STEAM, business choice schools in DISD give life to previously closed campuses

For three years the hallways at Dallas ISD’s Fannin Elementary have remained mostly silent, but come Aug. 24, the red-brick campus on Ross Avenue will be filled with students again. In 2012, East Dallas’ Fannin Elementary and D.A. Hulcy Middle in South Dallas closed as part of a cost-saving measure. The schools were two of nine that shut their doors that year. This school year, they will be given new life under the district’s Public School Choice initiative. Fannin Elementary will reopen as an innovation, design and entrepreneurship academy for high schoolers while Hulcy Middle School will be revived to focus on science, technology, engineering, art and math (The Dallas Morning News).

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Bryan Adams part of DISD’s inaugural cohort of choice schools, plans to launch leadership model in fall

Bryan Adams is among seven Dallas ISD choice schools that are planned to launch in the next couple of years. Unlike magnet schools, choice schools will not have any academic entry requirements. Enrollment is open to students district-wide, but priority is given to students in the school’s attendance zone (The Dallas Morning News).

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Dallas ISD Moves Forward on Plan to Launch Seven Choice Schools

After months of planning and community engagement, Dallas ISD’s Office of Transformation and Innovation formally announced its plan to launch its inaugural group of Choice Schools. The district plans for seven Choice Schools to be in this first group: two are being announced today; four were announced last winter; and one has been proposed in the district’s Interim Bridge Plan. As part of its Public School Choice strategy, the district plans to launch a total of 35 new Choice Schools by the year 2020 (The Hub).

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100 Schools Worth Visiting

School visits are a great way to learn and key to developing an innovation mindset. Based on a couple thousand school visits and with help from colleagues and readers, we’ve compiled a list of 100 schools worth visits. Far from exhaustive, our list includes schools that achieve extraordinary results, create powerful learning experiences, and/or have created innovative technology blends (Getting Smart Blog).

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