A new choice in educating students

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Imagine a classroom where students work in teams and consistently interact with technology.

In this classroom, education is structured to support a “one-size-fits-one” approach to learning that taps into students’ individual strengths and interests, allowing teachers to customize lessons and no longer simply teach to the middle.

Personalized Learning is Dallas ISD’s approach to individualized instruction, designed to meet students where they are and determine how to provide them with the best chance for success. Opening in the Fall of 2015, the Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Academy at James W. Fannin will be the district’s first high school to operate exclusively as a Personalized Learning campus.

“The school will focus on next generation skills, including innovative thinking and collaboration,” Assistant Principal Courtney Egelston said. “Students will work with their peers in small groups and with the laptops that are part of the program. They can learn anywhere.”

In August, the school will open for incoming ninth-grade students and grow a grade level each year to become a full ninth- through twelfth-grade high school. Each grade will be limited to about 100 students, and each student will be paired with a professional mentor with internship opportunities as early as tenth-grade. The district will provide busing to and from school for students who meet eligibility requirements.

For parent Jennifer Fitzgerald, the class sizes of the school are appealing.

“I like the idea of it being small,” she said. “When I read the school description to my son, he was really interested in the ‘creating the next great invention’ part that this environment will foster. He’s always talked about being an inventor.”

Fitzgerald explained she is “trying to make sure I look at all of the options” for her son, who is currently at J.L. Long Middle School.

The final community information meeting for the school will be at 6:30 p.m. on May 12 at the Dallas ISD Administration Building, 3700 Ross Avenue. With more than 150 applications already received for the 100 spots, including some from students currently in private and charter schools, the response affirms the need for this new venture.

You can apply online or pick one up in the office of your school’s eighth-grade counselor.

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