One of the most common concerns Tyler ISD faced while selling its bond package to the community was: What about the middle schools? At Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting, the district presented a look at what those answers might entail.
Early in the planning process for the May high school bond package, the question of timing for middle schools came up. The district still had several middle school facilities that needed to be renovated, as well. During the exploration process, it became apparent to the board that the middle schools needed a comprehensive plan before new facilities were decided upon
Superintendent Marty Crawford has made choice and competitive programming a priority in his three years with the district. Choice on the middle school level is key to the district’s future success, he said. With that in mind, a committee was formed and has spent much of the past year working on options for the district’s middle schools.
Those choices could take the form of a fine arts magnet, functioning as a continuation of Caldwell Elementary Arts Academy, a pathway into Early College High School and even expanded Science, Technology, Engineering and Math opportunities.
Crawford also has placed a priority on accessibility for all students.
“It’s one thing to say you’re providing a choice, but when students don’t have access to get to those opportunities, is it one?” he said.
The transportation department has been tasked with ensuring that students in all areas of Tyler have the means to make it to the campus that best fits their education.
According to the district, the goal is to expand the traditional model of zoned campuses to also provide choice campuses across the district. In doing so, students and families could choose to stay at their neighborhood school or they could choose to attend schools that meet their specific educational goals.
Choice school proposals would include Math, Science and Technology Magnets, such as a school within a school at Moore, to turn it into a more collegiate and project- based learning experience.
Caldwell could become a K-8 Arts Magnet. The committee also has envisioned a path for middle-school students to begin to build toward Early College High School, a language immersion program and a program with a focus on early graduation.
Meanwhile Hogg Middle School could take a focus on leadership, implementing earlier versions of JROTC type programming as well as public service and leadership-oriented electives.
Over the next few months, the committee will continue to work on the details for each proposal, before the district takes any official action.
“As we tweak some things and bring it back to you in the spring semester, (the board) can take action on it as you see fit,” Crawford said.
Caldwell recently has implemented more focused magnet programming, which will they showcase during the spring semester, giving parents a look at what a true magnet school might look like.
The committee has set preliminary phasing in of goals, which would align with the completion of construction of renovation at John Tyler and Robert E. Lee high schools.
With football season coming to a close, the district voted to move forward with the next phase of renovations at Christus Trinity Mother Frances Rose Stadium.
The $5.5 million phase of renovations will see the press box, booths, fences and handicap parking renovated. These renovations are not part of the May bond package.
n Elementary School Student of the Month - Alexandra Rodriguez, a fifth-grade student at Owens Elementary School.
n Secondary Student of the Month - Francisco Uribe, an eighth-grade student at Hogg Middle School.
n Teacher of the Month - Oscar Rodriguez, a kindergarten teacher at Griffin Elementary School.
n Bus driver Lavonda Mitchell and students Bakari Price, Larrianna Rose Hambrick (both John Tyler High School students) and Ricky Brown (RISE Academy) were recognized for their quick thinking and reaction during an incident with a fellow student who was having a seizure on the school bus. These students remained calm and provided exceptional support for the student, allowing the bus driver to maintain contact with the EMS services until they arrived at the scene.
This article has been updated to more clearly reflect how the district plans to approach traditional campus zone models.