Nearly 700 students have applied to attend one of two new Dallas Independent School District Choice Schools opening this fall. These new Choice Schools are part of the district’s Public School Choice initiative, which seeks to launch a total of 35 new Choice Schools by the year 2020.
New Choice Schools will offer the same types of specialized options as existing magnet schools, but the difference is that they will not have any academic entry requirements and will be open to all students regardless of academic ability.
A total of 406 students applied to attend the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy, which will be a new high school at the James W. Fannin school site. Beginning in August 2015, the school will start with only ninth grade, adding one grade each subsequent school year up to 12th grade. A randomized computer selection process was used to allocate 125 available seats for incoming ninth graders. The Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy High School will be a Personalized Learning school in which students receive personalized instruction based on what they need to know, when and how it should be taught, with content tailored to their needs. Every student will be issued a laptop and will have internship opportunities with a business mentor beginning in the 10th grade.
Another 279 students applied to attend the D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School, which will be a new middle school at the D.A. Hulcy school site. Beginning in August 2015, the school will start with only sixth grade, adding one grade each subsequent school year up to 8th grade. A randomized computer selection process was used to allocate 200 available seats for incoming sixth graders. The school will be a student-centered, community-based school that anchors teaching and learning under a science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics model. Traditional subjects will still be taught. However, the elements of STEAM will be emphasized in day-to-day courses and electives and embedded within the curriculum itself.
“Though we are still in our first year of this initiative, the demand for more choice options in Dallas ISD is absolutely clear. The number of applications, quite honestly, exceeded our own expectations,” said Mike Koprowski, chief of transformation and innovation. “This response will motivate us to work even harder to bring more high-quality choice options to more families and students.”
In the coming days, students and families will be notified of their acceptance or waitlist position via email and a letter. If selected, students and families must decide by June 4 whether or not to accept the offer.
Applications came from diverse areas of the district. D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School applicants hailed from 41 Dallas ISD schools, while applicants for the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy hailed from 37 different schools in the district. Twenty-six applications came from families who live within Dallas ISD boundaries but were sending their child to another district public school, a private school or charter school.