Dallas ISD announces new choice schools and programs

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Dallas ISD’s Office of Transformation and Innovation (OTI) today announced the brand new choice offerings identified through the Public School Choice 3.0 selection process. The chosen schools include one neighborhood school redesigning its academic model for all its students, one school piloting an innovative program, and one brand new middle school that will be open to all district students.

Felix G. Botello Elementary School, located in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, will launch as an Innovation School with a new Personalized Learning academic model beginning in August 2017. As the only elementary AVID model school site in the district, Botello has a track record of success, receiving five academic distinctions from the Texas Education Agency under the state’s current accountability system. The school will stay in its existing facilities with current staff and continue to enroll students from its traditional attendance zone without admissions requirements, maintaining its neighborhood identity.

Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary School in West Dallas will begin piloting a Montessori program as the district’s first Innovation Pilot School. As a pilot campus, the district will support De Zavala’s efforts to kick start innovation through implementing Montessori best practices in its early grades to further accelerate student achievement.

Finally, Ignite Middle School (proposed name pending Board approval) will be a brand new, open enrollment Transformation School. The campus will open its doors as a Personalized Learning campus in August 2018 with the upcoming school year serving as a crucial planning year. Ignite will immerse students in a rigorous project-based learning environment where they will have the opportunity to explore various career fields at their own pace. While the location is to be determined, Ignite will be open to any student in the district without admissions requirements. A team of accomplished Dallas ISD educators led by Dr. Michael Gayles, assistant principal at T.W. Browne Middle, designed the school.

These three schools were selected from a pool of 11 proposals that were submitted into the district’s most recent Public School Choice proposal selection process that was open to educators locally and nationwide.

“Creating highly effective student-centered schools that will serve all students takes passion, commitment, and imagination,” said Mohammed Choudhury, interim chief of Transformation and Innovation, who oversees the annual request for proposal process. “This was an extremely rigorous process. Successful teams participated in school design workshops, demonstrated evidence of community buy-in, and went through interviews to ensure that the best possible school was proposed.”

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.

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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