First, DISD Opened a High School for Over-Age Students. Now, Perhaps, Comes Middle School.

Lots of interesting items to be found on the Dallas Independent School District board of trustees' briefing agenda for Thursday, and we'll get to 'em in short order -- which is to say, in the order the phone calls are returned on the myriad subjects of interest. But let's begin with this: At its first meeting of the new year, trustees will be given an update on how things are working out at the John Leslie Patton Jr. Academic Center -- the opened-this-school-year high school intended "to serve the special needs of over-age, undercredited students."

At the same time, trustees will revisit a subject very briefly introduced about a year ago but quickly shelved for a later date: the need for an "accelerated high school." Which is? The briefing doc says little, only this: "The district is exploring the possibility of creating an accelerated middle school to meet the needs of struggling middle school students." But per the U.S. Department of Education, which is studying the very subject, we find this better definition:
Accelerated middle schools are self-contained academic programs designed to help middle school students who are behind grade level catch up with their age peers. If these students begin high school with other students their age, the hope is that they will be more likely to stay in school and graduate. The programs serve students who are one to two years behind grade level and give them the opportunity to cover an additional year of curriculum during their one to two years in the program. Accelerated middle schools can be structured as separate schools or as schools within a traditional middle school.
I asked DISD spokesman Jon Dahlander: How does opening a new middle school jibe with the state's $27-billion budget shortfall and all the concerns over expanding class size and reducing the number of teachers? To which he responded: This new middle school would more than likely "be an extension of the over-age high school."

He says that "when we were doing our research on that a year or so ago, we realized we have a lot of middle school students who are over their age for their grade. In a presentation given to the board at the time, we said we need to do both. The board put off the middle school for a year, and it's coming back now, and while it's being called something a little different, it's more or less the same."

Dahlander says that quite possibly, the trustees would look at repurposing a current facility -- say, one of the district's so-called "alternative schools" -- where enrollment is "a concern." Updates forthcoming.

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Why even expend resources on the bottom of the barrel? Those resources would be better spent on top achievers.


When I applied for a teaching position at the adult-ed school, it was still considered part-time. That was back in October/Nov. My guess is that their faith and/or need is very shaky in the HS as is, let alone in starting up something else already.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

The overage schools will fail if the serious behavior problems that exist are not addressed.

Village Fair is a warehousing disaster of kids. They're shipped over there and as far as any one can tell, that's that. No extra help to address what created an overage student.

If the school board would quit giving out lavish raises (Claudia Rodriguez $32,000), paying consultants (CEI consultant $1million to explain a clearly defective program), and building needless schools, we could afford to counsel these messed up kids and their families.

We could fix this district, but the school board is deaf to taxpayers.


This the worse statement I have ever hurd "Why even expend resources on the bottom of the barrel" .. People are are product of the things they are exposed to. Thank God for good people willing to reach back and help others.. The elitist that think other wise is the reason this country is in this state . GREED and a lack of passion or concern for people who are not as well off.


I nearly always agree with you, DISD Teacher, as I am amongst your ranks (though I slip in and out, and my respect for you is unparalled).

Even as a student teacher in primary, in Plano, students were getting tougher by the year. If the board would go into our current schools themselves, especially some of the tougher, less-burby ones, where the metal detectors pick things up on a daily basis (and are not used as decoration), they may see first-hand where to allocate monies.

They may also see the bright students that are being skipped over, in order to take care of such behavioral issues and meeting TAKS initiatives/numbers.

It isn't just taxpayers. It's teachers, administrators within the current buildings. But, it falls on deaf ears. Which is sad.

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