Dallas ISD's School Choice Initiative: An Innovative Option for Teaching Trust Leaders

Dallas ISD just wrapped up its third cycle of the innovative Public School Choice initiative that seeks to expand choice school options for students across the district.  According to Dallas ISD, the goal of this program is to help all students attend a “best-fit” school and realize their full academic potential.  

Nancy Bernardino, Teaching Trust-trained Principal of SOLAR Preparatory School for Girls, shakes a student's hand as she enters for the day (Source: Dallas Morning News).

Nancy Bernardino, Teaching Trust-trained Principal of SOLAR Preparatory School for Girls, shakes a student's hand as she enters for the day (Source: Dallas Morning News).

The initiative fosters the development of new Choice Schools, which can fall into one of two categories: Transformation Schools (essentially “start-up” schools) and Innovation Schools (existing schools that adopt a new, specific “anchor” focus).  Transformation Schools allow leaders to create brand new school campuses that are open to enroll students from anywhere in the district. Innovation Schools, in contrast, are created at existing school campuses and continue to draw students from the surrounding neighborhood, maintaining the district’s traditional attendance boundaries.

To encourage innovation, Dallas ISD has adopted a competitive application and selection process for educators wishing to launch new Choice Schools for the district. New to the proposal process is the inclusion of opportunities for applicants to replicate existing successful transformation school models.

Billy Snow, Dallas ISD's new Chief of Transformation and Innovation, joined the district in April having served 21 years in a diverse set of roles, such as as teacher, principal, and leader of turnaround schools in several districts in Texas and Louisiana. He shares, “I am excited to continue to build out the vision of creating school models that can be incorporated in schools throughout the city where students, families, and educators will have more access to quality ‘best fit’ schools.”

We are proud to report that six of the ten schools from DISD’s Public School Choice initiative have participated in Teaching Trust programs. We are encouraged at the number of Teaching Trust-trained leaders who are participating in the development of Choice Schools – thinking outside the box, imagining what is possible for students, and proposing innovative ways to meet the diverse needs of students across Dallas ISD.

Teaching Trust-supported schools that are part of Dallas ISD’s Public School Choice Initiative include:

Transformation Schools

  • Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA): Personalized Learning High School
  • SOLAR Preparatory School for Girls: All-girls Pre-K-8 STEAM Academy; socio-economic diversity pilot site
  • Ignite Middle School: Personalized Learning Campus; opening in August 2018

Innovation Schools

  • Thomas C. Marsh Middle School: Personalized Learning Campus
  • Dan D. Rogers Elementary: Personalized Learning Campus
  • Bryan Adams High School: Leadership Academy

Teaching Trust is excited and proud to support Dallas ISD’s efforts to ensure that more students have high-quality educational options that fit their individual needs. 

To learn more, visit: http://www.dallasisd.org/choice.