Dallas ISD announces plans for new cohort of Choice Schools

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Dallas ISD’s Office of Transformation and Innovation today announced plans for two new Choice Schools.

Martin Weiss Elementary School, located in southern Dallas, plans to launch as an Innovation School with a Leadership Model beginning in August 2016. Innovation Schools are existing neighborhood schools that re‐purpose the existing campus into a new, schoolwide academic model.  They stay in their existing facilities with current staff and continue to enroll students from their traditional attendance zones without admissions requirements, maintaining their neighborhood identities.

CityLab High School (proposed name pending Board approval) plans to launch as a brand new, open enrollment Transformation School with an Urban Planning/Community Development model starting in August 2017. Location is to be determined. The school will be open to any student in the district, without admissions requirements. The proposal was designed by a team of experienced educators both within and outside of Dallas ISD and they plan to work with various external partners in the city.

These schools were identified through the district’s annual Public School Choice competitive proposal process that was open to certified educators nationwide.

“This was an extremely rigorous process,” said Mohammed Choudhury, director in the Office of Transformation and Innovation, who facilitated the request for proposals. “Teams were expected to participate in school design workshops, demonstrate evidence of community interest and staff buy-in, and work closely with our office to ensure that the best possible school was created for all students.”

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 Middle, and IDEA High School.

“We continue to move forward with our goal of expanding the range of options so that all students can attend a best-fit school that taps into their interests, learning styles, and aspirations,” said Mike Koprowski, Chief of Transformation and Innovation. “Top-notch quality is critical for the long-term success of the initiative.”

Weiss Elementary, under the leadership of Principal Shundra Brown, earned the distinction of Top 25% in student progress for the 2014-15 school year. She regularly engaged parents and the community since Fall 2014 about adopting a Leadership model. The school, which is already implementing project based learning schoolwide, will utilize The Leader in Me curriculum to develop strong leadership and social and emotional competencies within their students.

The vision at CityLab High School is to create a school where the city becomes the space in which to apply curriculum through an inquiry-driven, interdisciplinary learning environment. Students will engage with and explore the diverse social fabric and neighborhoods of Dallas, focusing on disciplines such as architecture, public policy, and community development. The proposal, led by Skyline High School architecture teacher Peter Goldstein, incorporates Design Thinking methods and competencies while partnering with community based organizations to ensure that students have the resources and opportunities they need to succeed.

For more information about Public School Choice, visit www.dallasisd.org/choice, email choice@dallasisd.org, or call (972) 925 – 3306.

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