Schools of Choice? Yes, Please!

Did you hear? The Grand Prairie Independent School District hosted its 3rd annual The GPISD Experience a few weekends ago on Saturday, January 11.

Open the doors to your future

So what was The Experience exactly? Hard to put into words, but imagine a robust job fair except this was a school fair of sorts – with a lot more gusto. Students and parents were able to “shop” for a school, and The Experience provided the perfect platform for showcasing what each school has to offer.

GPISD is an open-enrollment district available to all students from within the city, neighboring cities, and districts offering traditional schools as well as schools and programs of choice. CHOICE. In other words, the neighborhood school two blocks or two miles away – the one in the designated attendance zone – is NOT the only option for a student. CHOICE. It’s definitely not a new concept, but one that is quickly sparking lots of interest.

If an elementary student loves all things science and flourishes when tinkering, then the newly built Ellen Ochoa STEM Academy might be perfect for her.

Want your 8th grade son to experience a few years in a positive learning environment surrounded by ONLY young men? The Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Bill Arnold could be the ticket.

What about an incoming freshman that is determined to be a mechanic? a veterinarian? a lawyer? a hair salon owner? and engineer? There is a school or program of choice for him or her to get started on the right path. Not only is a high school diploma in the near future, but a smorgasbord of potential certifications, internships, and OPPORTUNITY will be knocking at the door as well. 

I like this concept, and I’m not just saying that because I am employed by GPISD, but I think it has such a positive impact on teaching and learning. In a sense, these schools  “compete” with one another even though they’re all a part of the same “family.” Choice matters. If you’re anywhere in North Texas, it can be yours!

Screencast Alive!

As December approaches, Instructional Media Specialists in my District are readying for the next Milestone – the one teachers and professional staff are required to learn for professional development. The Milestones? I’ll talk about those in another post, but for now just know that being able to record a lesson and post it to Edmodo, our social learning platform of choice, is imperative.

So, before the IMSs meet to discuss strategies and ideas for supporting teachers with this implementation, I created a Thinglink to highlight some tools that could be used in the classroom for teaching and learning.

Many teachers are already using several of these apps and tools – free and paid to create lessons for blended courses, design tutorials, leave instructions for substitute teachers, and more. Now that it’s the expectation, it’ll be interesting to see how the others jump on board – one upload, one voice narration, one annotation at a time. Maybe they’ll get a little motivation from math teacher, Susan Regalia’s ShowMe. It’s funny, but effective!

Imaginary Numbers