PROFILES IN PUBLIC SCHOOL CHOICE & INNOVATION

This is the latest in a series of stories highlighting how public schools are increasingly offering quality choice and innovation to Texas students and families.

Roscoe Collegiate ISD

If you judge Roscoe only by its railroad tracks and rural farmland, you might not recognize a school district on the cutting edge of quality school choice. But students in Roscoe Collegiate ISD in West Texas are benefiting from options and innovations previous generations could only dream of.

Roscoe ISD is a shining example of how public school districts of all sizes, demographics, and locations are pushing the boundaries of innovation and 21st century learning, and expanding quality school choice for students across Texas. No one told Roscoe ISD they couldn’t partner with industry, give all students the opportunity to graduate with both a high school diploma and a college associate degree, and introduce STEM, drone, vet-tech programs and more. They just did it. And it’s paying off big time, for students, the district, and the local economy.

Roscoe’s story below is a model for other public school districts – not just rural – that are exploring ways to be responsive to communities and families, while preserving the transparency and accountability that defines quality school choice.

“[W]ith the explosion of public charters, magnets and creative choice schools, the need to siphon money away from public schools as a way to embolden innovation and diversity of opportunity is no more.”

Dallas Morning News Editorial Board, 10/27/16

Roscoe, TX Profile

  • Originated in 1890
  • Total area of approximately two square miles
  • 50 miles west of Abilene
  • Population: 1,500
  • Approximately 500 households
  • Home to one of the world’s largest wind farms

District Profile

  • Enrollment: 622
  • 52% Economically disadvantaged
  • First rural Early College/STEM Academy in Texas
  • Pre-K – 20 system model
  • Open enrollment district of choice
  • District enrollment doubled since 2008
“My family has always wanted better for me. They didn’t go to college so they have always pushed that. Going to school here has shown me that I can do it. It’s that small school feel, but with the big expectations. Every teacher wants to help you, everybody is there for you. That helps you to see what you can do and believe in your own capabilities.”
Braden Moore
Student
screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-08-34-pm
“There are things going on out here, whether it’s emergency management or agriculture, energy, wind, solar, or oil. [Students] can see those things, get those experiences, and have opportunities for internships that people in the middle of Beverly Hills or Austin or Dallas don’t get to have because there’s so much noise.”
Greg Wortham
New Amsterdam Global Adjunct Faculty
screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-19-03-pm
They’re partnering with business which is great. They’re bringing relevance and connections for their students, and they’re cutting edge. How many places can you go and be working with drone technology?
Mary Ross
Executive Director, Workforce Solutions of West-Central Texas
Mary Ross
“We at Hoofstock Genetics need Roscoe and they need us. The technology we are trying to proliferate in the US requires skilled technicians and they don’t exist.  Not only do the students here get to learn and experience the technology at a young age and come through it with newfound knowledge, but we have possible employees for the future.”
Todd Stroud
Hoofstock Genetics
screen-shot-2016-11-21-at-1-16-47-pm

PUSHING THE BOUNDARIES OF INNOVATION IN RURAL EDUCATION

Dr. Kim Alexander, Superintendent of Roscoe Collegiate ISD, doesn’t see his students as inhabitants of the two square miles they live in. He doesn’t see his students as needing education or training for the jobs of today or next year. His vision goes well beyond Roscoe, Texas, and well beyond this year or next, and his expectations for Roscoe ISD graduates match that vision.

As a result of Dr. Alexander’s vision and the hard work of his team, staff, students, and families, 92 percent of Roscoe’s 2016 graduating class earned an associate degree. Dr. Alexander’s goal is for that number to be 100 percent by 2020 and for 90 percent of those students to finish a four-year degree in three years. Alexander believes, “The greater we can structure the expectation, the greater the student aspiration, and the greater the student outcome.” 

Dr. Alexander has led his district in expanding school choice and innovation in course offerings, certificates, mentorships, and hands-on opportunities. “Students are much more engaged when they know it’s for a real-world issue rather than just for a grade.” Many of Roscoe’s students will be earning much more than a grade for their academic experiences.

By partnering with nearby industries, higher education, and community partners, Alexander’s vision for Roscoe Collegiate has led to the creation of cutting edge programs that have the potential to provide meaningful jobs to his alumni and economic development for the region.

Snapshot of Roscoe Collegiate ISD

Percentage of students who have graduated with an associate degree, 2010 – 2016:

  • 2010 – 38%
  • 2011 – 52%
  • 2012 – 58%
  • 2013 – 73%>
  • 2014 – 89%
  • 2015 – 90%
  • 2016 – 92%

Roscoe Collegiate Early College/STEM Academy

P-20 System Model for Student Success

AVID for students in grades 6-12

Common Instructional Framework comprised of the 21st Century skills, of which employers are demanding proficiency among their employees

Harvard Instructional Rounds Model

Collegiate Edu-Drone

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Flight Technology and Pilot Training Program

Potential applications for pilot certification:

  • Maintain, program, and flight of UAV
  • Wind turbine inspections
  • Transmission line inspections
  • Pipeline inspections
  • Agriculture industry
  • Aerial cinematography

Collegiate Edu-Vet Five-Year Education Plan

  • Veterinary teaching hospital
  • Adjunct faculty board-certified veterinarians supervise student internships
  • Prepares students for careers in the broad biomedical sciences

P.S. If you liked this story, you might enjoy our Raise Your Hand newsletter. Receive stories, news, and ways to help, right in your inbox.  Sign up here.

NextPrevious