Texas has more schools in rural areas than any other state. In the 2015-16 school year, rural schools, as classified by the Texas Education Agency, accounted for 459 of the 1,247 school districts in Texas. Having the privilege to lead school systems in rural Texas, we deeply appreciate the advantages of being part of a rural community.
The school district is the heartbeat of the community — the place we host community functions, celebrate student accomplishments, and sometimes even hold memorials for beloved community members. We are one of the largest employers in town, often hiring multiple members from a single family.
In a pioneering new partnership, three districts in South Texas are joining forces to create a first-of-its-kind initiative to improve educational opportunities for their rural students.
The school boards of Brooks County, Freer, and Premont Independent School Districts have voted to participate in the new Rural Schools Innovation Zone (RSIZ), which will initially consist of four schools: Falfurrias Junior High School, Falfurrias High School, Freer High School, and Premont Collegiate High School.
Educators, leaders and trustees in these Texas districts share a belief that students from rural communities should have increased opportunity to receive expert instruction and prepare for challenging career paths on the way to postsecondary success.
If the project gets final approval, Texas Wesleyan will operate and manage five Fort Worth campuses under the new Leadership Academy Network starting next school year. But the five schools will remain Fort Worth schools, will be staffed by district teachers and will serve about 3,000 students who live in the district.
Superintendents and board presidents of four nearby South Texas school districts signed a resolution Thursday evening establishing the creation of a Rural School Innovation Zone that will allow them to share educational services in partnership with Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Del Mar College and Coastal Bend College.
Massachusetts, the state where the first public high school opened in 1820 and the “common school’’ movement began in the 1830s, has ranked first in NAEP scores over seven consecutive tests since 2005. The Kids Count Data Center placed Massachusetts first in 2017, second in 2018, on overall preK-12 education indicators.
On Tuesday, a newly formed nonprofit approved overseeing six schools in Waco for the next two years.
Five of those schools were at risk of closing earlier this year are part of the schools that will now be managed by Transformation Waco.
“It really sets the stage for the play that comes next. What can we do together: Transformation Waco, Waco ISD, Prosper Waco and other community partners, to help students at these campuses be successful,” Waco ISD Communications Director Kyle DeBeer said.
Five more Denver schools will have additional freedom this fall from school district rules.
The school board voted unanimously Thursday to allow one school to join an existing “innovation zone” and another four to create a new one. Innovation zones represent a different way of managing schools that is somewhere between the traditional approach and that of charter schools, which are publicly funded but independently run.