LISD school board votes to change Smylie Wilson MS to a magnet school


At this morning’s special called meeting, the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved reimagining Smylie Wilson Middle School with a new vision for the 2020-2021 school year and changing the attendance boundaries for schools in the Coronado High School feeder pattern.

“Today’s board action exemplifies that we are truly committed to our mission of nurturing, developing, and inspiring every child every day,” said Lubbock ISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo. “Lubbock ISD is expanding options for students and support for our schools to ensure that every student has access to a quality education.”

Beginning next year under a new name, the Smylie Wilson campus will operate as a true magnet school combining Project Based Learning (PBL) and a curriculum focused on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). PBL is an interdisciplinary teaching method where students learn by engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects requiring critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and various communication skills. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. Teachers work together in teams, helping students learn by actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects and providing an experience for students to thrive outside of the traditional classroom environment. The combination of PBL and STEAM will provide learning that is student centered, inquiry based, and focused on rigor, depth, and higher order skills.

District administration proposed the plan based on analytics of the current Texas Education Agency (TEA) standards showing Smylie Wilson Middle School’s ratings over the last six years. Although accountability ratings are a single indicator of campus success, the current trends demonstrate the need to take proactive action now to manage the future of a campus that has been educating children in Lubbock since 1958.

This new school will have open enrollment by application for sixth- and seventh-grade students across Lubbock ISD with eighth grade added the following year. A new principal with certification in the TEA’s School Design Academy will lead a staff immersed in the PBL method and STEAM curriculum. Enrollment for this new magnet middle school will begin when the transfer window opens in January.

Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, the boundary lines will change for middle school students who are currently residing in the Smylie Wilson attendance zone. Students who reside south of 34th Street will shift to Irons Middle School, and students who reside north of 34th Street will shift to Mackenzie Middle School. With this consolidation, additional bus routes to Irons and Mackenzie will be provided for all students who relocate to these campuses.

To support the increase in students attending Irons and Mackenzie middle schools, the district is adding an assistant principal and counselor at both campuses. They will also receive dedicated campus instructional coaches for academic support. For further wraparound services, Irons and Mackenzie will be added to the district’s social emotional learning pilot and Communities in Schools will be active at both campuses.

“All our students deserve the very best education we can offer them,” said Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees President Zach Brady. “Today’s action is a step in that direction, both for the students currently at Smylie Wilson and the students who will attend the new Project Based Learning magnet in the future.”

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