Raise Your Hand Texas is excited to mark National School Choice Week, because public schools across Texas are embracing innovation and choice — with transparency and accountability — in many different ways. Increasingly, public school students and their parents are weighing educational options, customizing academic course selections, benefiting from personalized learning opportunities, and veering from a one-size-fits-all approach by taking advantage of public school choice year-round. The following stories and blog posts feature some of those examples.
Grand Prairie ISD is a model example of what public schools can accomplish with existing resources and community engagement. When faced with a $15 million budget shortfall, the district got creative. Today, half of the schools in the 29,000-student strong district offer some form of choice within an open-enrollment system. Take a look at how this district is reinventing public education to benefit all students.
Academy High School in Plano – the district’s first school of choice – is charging full “STEAM” ahead with its avant-garde interdisciplinary structure that actively incorporates art into the STEM disciplines of science, tech, engineering, and math. Instead of traditional classrooms, students collaborate in large open areas with moveable furniture. Using labs, idea rooms, and presentation spaces, each grade level focuses on one single, all-encompassing project at a time for up to half a semester. Check out this story about the art of STEAM, and prepare to have your mind blown.
The vast majority of school-aged Texans — approximately 90% — attend public schools. Many Texas students currently have multiple choices and/or options to customize their education. And many school districts are exploring and working to expand their offerings to benefit all students. We encourage all school districts to involve families and local communities in dialogue about how public schools can serve the unique educational needs and interests of every single student.
Check out our blog post outlining some distinctive options within Texas school districts.