During the regularly scheduled monthly board meeting on February 19, the Tyler ISD Board of Trustees approved a middle school redesign plan that will create more individualized learning opportunities for Tyler ISD students.
“The taxpayers and community members of Tyler ISD have been incredible supporters of the District for the past 15 years, affording new facilities across the City and County, most recently the revitalization of both high schools,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “We made a commitment to bring a middle school redesign plan to our elected Board in the spring of 2017 and during the run up to the bond election. The design would look past facility needs and instead focus on curricula and the student experience, actions evident in the 2013 strategic plan.”
The new design will set clear feeder patterns and zones among elementary, middle and high schools, providing a more cohesive K-12 continuous progression throughout the student’s educational experience. The goal of the new design also increases availability to high performing schools and programs for those who are not in a specific school’s zone, and provides true magnet opportunities during the middle school years.
The middle school redesign plan is the kick start for the District’s new Pathfinder learning experience. Pathfinder gives parents and students opportunities to choose learning models in one of three content areas: Comprehensive (or traditional), Innovation and Choice. Each model focuses on the educational experience of students and provides individualized learning opportunities to best suit the variety of personalities and postsecondary goals of the 18,000 students across the District.
What can parents expect in each of the three Pathfinder pathways?
The Comprehensive model is the traditional learning structure already familiar to most parents and families. Students attend school in their neighborhood zones and enjoy the wide array of extracurricular activities they provide, such as band, athletics, drill team, cheerleading, academic clubs and more. Comprehensive schools will include Boulter, Hubbard, Three Lakes, and part of Moore Middle School. Comprehensive schools provide a structure that combines strong academics and curriculum with enriching extracurricular opportunities.
The Innovation pathway will also have a zoned attendance; however inter-district transfers will be available until the school reaches capacity. Innovation schools have unique and autonomous areas of focus, such as leadership or citizenship for example. The Innovation pathway includes James Hogg Middle School, which is slated to become a leadership development campus providing unique electives that focus on public service, speech and debate, and language immersion tracks. Principals will have more control over curriculum allowing them to initiate and evaluate elective offerings best suited to their students and goals, as well as offering single gender classrooms in specific content areas. Innovation schools at the high school level will eventually include the Career and Technology Center (CTC) and the future Tyler Tech (housed in the CTC).
The Choice Schools pathway offers single-focused curriculum, or areas of study, in a true magnet program setting. Acceptance to a Choice school is solely application-based, meaning they do not have a zone. Caldwell Arts Academy will become a K-8 fine arts magnet campus allowing the fine arts experience to continue through the middle school years. Moore Middle School will house the Moore Math Science Technology (MST) Magnet program, offering online learning platforms as well as experiential learning with flexible scheduling and pacing.
“We have a tremendous amount of success across Tyler ISD. Capitalizing on the great things we have going, by utilizing our scale and access to resources the school systems of East Texas may not possess, is certainly a vision we have," Dr. Crawford said.
Plans for structuring elementary and high school programs into the Pathfinder structure will be presented to the Board at a later date.
Tyler ISD will launch a Pathfinder website in the coming months to outline each of the three pathways, the schools that fall under each pathway, zoning maps, application requirements, and more. For questions, please contact Tyler ISD Constituent Services at 903-262-3073.