Fort Worth school district trustees meet at 5 p.m. tonight and 5:30 p.m. Tuesday to decide what to do if the state closes Polytechnic High School in east Fort Worth next year. The historic high school is in big trouble because it has failed to meet state accountability standards for four years in a row. If Poly is branded "unacceptable" after its students take the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills this spring, the state will require that the school be closed and that most of its teachers and half its students move elsewhere.
Read Star-Telegram writer Eva-Marie Ayala's story here.
Now, here's the rub: Fort Worth school leaders can quickly rename the campus and re-open it as early as next fall with a new mission. One reader today suggested that it become a college prep academy. And several of my friends this weekend noted how much they like nearby William James Middle School on Nasville Avenue.
So what's working at William James? That school has a "College Readiness Academy" to which any Fort Worth district student may apply. Through the academy, William James offer advanced English, science and math classes to sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students. About 350 of the school's 1,186 students are in the college prep program. Participating eighth-graders take Geometry; students who take two years of foreign language can end up with a high school language credit before they get off the middle school campus.
"If you walk into the school, you feel an atmosphere of learning," said Susan Bruster, the school's academic coordinator. "We all work hard to make sure these students succeed."
Could that kind of program work at Poly? I'd like to think so.
Tell trustees what you think Tuesday.