School & District Management

Dallas Public School Choice Program Seeks to Expand District Options

By Denisa R. Superville — September 30, 2016 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Under its public school choice program, the Dallas school district has been attempting to increase the different types of academic models students have access to and encourage parents to give the district a second look.

The idea is to provide parents and students with schools that best fit their children’s learning styles and interests, the district says.

The program, which went into effect under previous superintendent Mike Miles, aims to create 35 “choice” schools by the year 2020. About 15 such schools are already in existence or have been approved.

The choice schools fall into a couple of different categories. Transformation schools are completely new schools, with open enrollment policies, which are selected through a competitive application process. Innovation schools are existing neighborhoods schools in which the school leadership team gets approval to adopt a new academic model.

Models can focus on leadership; business and entrepreneurship; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM or its variant STEAM, with the arts included); Montessori; and others.

Mike Koprowski, chief of the district’s transformation and innovation office, and Mohammed Choudhury, the office’s director, spoke to Education Week last month about the program, and Solar Preparatory School for Girls, a single-gender, STEAM, dual-language school, which is part of the public school choice initiative.

Solar Preparatory, which was one of three single-gender schools that opened in August, had an open enrollment policy. The district also had the added goal of creating a school in which half of the students qualified for free-and-reduced price meals. The district received 360 applications for 198 slots at the school, Koprowski said.

The socio-economic diversity pilot at Solar Prep was one way to begin to address the segregated nature of Dallas’ schools, they said.

There was some early evidence indicating that the new choice schools were drawing families to the district—another explicit district goal, they said.

About 1,600 applications poured in for 617 seats in four schools earlier this year, according to Koprowski. About 668 of the students in the applicant pool were not current Dallas ISD students, he said. Some had previously attended charter schools, others private schools, and others came from private or non-Dallas ISD early childhood programs.

The preliminary numbers, Koprowski said, “suggest that families that are not currently in the system are opting back into these schools, and we are encouraged by those results.”

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the District Dossier blog.

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion Best Ways for Schools to Prepare for the Next Pandemic
Being better connected to families and the community and diversifying the education workforce are some of the ways to be ready.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
School & District Management From Our Research Center Educators' Support for COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates Is Rising Dramatically
Nearly 60 percent of educators say students who are old enough to receive COVID vaccines should be required to get them to attend school.

4 min read
Mariah Vaughn, a 15-year-old Highland Park student, prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine during the vaccine clinic at Topeka High School on Monday, Aug. 9, 2021.
Mariah Vaughn, 15, a student at Highland Park High School in Topeka, Kan., prepares to receive a COVID-19 vaccine at her school in August.
Evert Nelson/The Topeka Capital-Journal via AP
School & District Management 10 Ways to Tackle Education's Urgent Challenges
As the school year gets underway, we ask hard questions about education’s biggest challenges and offer some solutions.
2 min read
Conceptual Image of schools preparing for the pandemic
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
School & District Management Reported Essay Principals Need Social-Emotional Support, Too
By overlooking the well-being of their school leaders, districts could limit how much their schools can flourish.
7 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week