With the new school year barely underway, a CISD curriculum team set out to fulfill its commitment to move forward in helping the district's new academy/choice high school take shape. Last May, the Pinnacle 2010 committee, a school/community group charged with developing the guiding principles by which the school would operate, presented its recommendations to the CISD Board of Trustees. Upon considering the extensive research that had been done, interviews with parent, student and staff advisory groups, and the results of an online school/community survey, the committee identified four career interest areas for the academy: 1) health/science/technology; 2) technology professions; 3) visual/digital arts, and 4) law/business/criminal justice. "Students in the academy will have the ability to pursue their interest areas through research projects, job shadowing, internships, and dual credit," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Sherrye Dotson. The Board charged the district staff to continue its research, beginning with site visits, this fall.
    Eight schools in Texas, California, Nevada, and Ohio were chosen as model schools for the site visits and all are based on the principles of 21st century learning. According to Assistant
    Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Sherrye Dotson, "The schools we saw are models
    for the type of instruction that will prepare our students for the future. The problem-based,
    project-based learning we witnessed encourages students to become independent learners and consumers of information while also allowing them to pursue specialized career interest areas. While some of those areas have been identified, we know, in order to be true to the innovative philosophy of the school, we must maintain flexibility to best serve our students."
    The coming months will be busy ones as the curriculum is written, campus leadership and the staff is hired, students complete the application/registration process, and facilities are made ready. However, the next step for the Board of Trustees is to approve a management system (framework) for the academy that mirrors the school's 21st century learning philosophy. The goals for graduates under such a framework will be for students to collaborate and be able to work in teams, think critically and take on complex problems, learn both oral and written communication skills and make presentations, use technology as a tool for learning, develop citizenship that encourages taking on civic and global issues, explore career interests and do internships, earn college credits, and complete community service hours. Mrs. Dotson added, "Teachers instructing within this type of framework will be facilitators, advisors, and mentors who are committed to innovation and exploration. It's an exciting time for students in Coppell ISD."
    To view the academy presentation made to the Board of Trustees on October 15th or to learn more about 21st century learning and the new technology foundation model visit