• Vision Becoming Reality for CISD Choice High School

    After a two-year research and development quest, Coppell ISD has been invited to adopt
    a 21st century school model that aligns with the shared vision of the community, Board of
    Trustees and district administration. District personnel met Monday with Bob Pearlman,
    Director of Strategic Planning for the New Technology Foundation.
     
    "This community has great capacity to replicate our model. Typically, this would be late
    in the process to join forces, but with the background work that has been done in Coppell,
    this can be a world-class school," says Pearlman. "Working with its parents and the
    community, Coppell ISD has done its homework investigating new models of schooling and
    is unusually sophisticated about 21st century learning."
     
    That sophistication is no accident. The quest began 2 years ago when Dr. Jeff Turner,
    superintendent, and the CISD Board of Trustees commissioned a community committee,
    the Grade Alignment Committee, to study options for reducing overcrowding at Coppell
    High School. After extensive research during the spring of 2006, the committee
    recommended two viable options for CISD: an academy/choice high school and a ninth-
    grade center. The Board then directed staff to study these two options further during the
    fall of 2006. At the same time, Dr. Turner and staff began to solicit input from the
    community regarding the "ideal high school." An open forum was held, an online student and
    community survey was conducted, and parent, student, and faculty advisory groups began
    meeting with the superintendent.
      
    In November 2006, the Board voted to open an academy/choice high school in fall 2008. Dr. Turner once again turned to the community for a dialogue about 21st Century Learning in Symposiums I and II held in February 2007. The Pinnacle 2010 Committee, a 40-member group comprised of Coppell professionals from every industry, as well as some district personnel, also met weekly in the spring of 2007 to research, conduct site visits, and design the guiding principles for the choice high school. The Pinnacle group used the results of the online survey with over 3,000 respondents sharing their interests in the choice high school and the community input solicited during the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007 to inform support their recommendations to the board in May of 2007.
       
    "During these two years of work on the choice high school, patterns began to emerge
    from the community," says Dr. Turner. "When we discovered New Technology
    Foundation this fall, we found a model that encompassed all of that shared vision we
    had with the community about 21st Century learning. The integrated curriculum, 21st
    century skills, internships…it was all an integral part of this established and very
    successful model."
     
    The New Technology Foundation (NTF) is a not-for-profit school development
    organization supported in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. NTF facilitates
    districts in replicating the 21st Century New Tech model; there are 35 such schools
    nationwide and three in Texas.
     
    "It is so exciting to see how the project-based learning is designed to engage students in a
    unique way,"says Kathie Gautille, CISD School Board President. "This is what we have
    been looking for to add to the repertoire of our successful schools in CISD and offer
    another great high school choice for students."
     
    NTF will work with CISD to develop replication plans, timelines, recruiting materials, and
    facility designs based on New Tech models and customized to CISD specifications.
    "What we do is transfer to you all the knowledge, best practices, technology tools, and
    resources that make New Technology High Schools successful," says Bob Pearlman. "It is
    your school. We give you the benefit of our experience by recommending what we have
    found to be successful."
       
    The tangible benefits of that experience include a principal residency and teacher
    shadowing at an established New Tech school, 24/7 access to curriculum coaches for all
    teachers at the site, extensive training over the next several years for the campus staff,
    and access to the network of New Technology schools.
       
    "We believe partnering with New Tech will ensure that the vision of the community
    becomes a reality," says Turner. "We are excited about how students in CISD will
    benefit from this venture, both at the new school and at every CISD school as we
    continue to increase our knowledge about learning and teaching and continue sharing
    that knowledge across the district."
      
    The CISD Board of Trustees will conduct a special work session on Monday, November 5th at
    6:30 p.m. to get updates on the academy and redistricting. The meeting will be held in the
    Board Room of the Administration Bldg. located at 200 South Denton Tap Rd. in Coppell.
    The public is welcome to attend, however, will need to submit any comments or questions
    they have to the Trustees at a later time.
     
    For more information on the Academy/Choice High School journey and committees, please continue to visit this website and to learn more about the New Technology Foundation visit http://www.newtechfoundation.org/.