Lubbock ISD to vote to turn Smylie Wilson into a STEM magnet school

Updated: Nov. 12, 2019 at 10:01 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Smylie Wilson Middle School has received a failing grade from the state’s "A" through "F" accountability model. But, Lubbock ISD is working to change that by recommending it be turned into a magnet school.

Dr. Kathy Rollo said the school board’s goal is for 80 percent of their students to be in an “A” or “B” campus within the next five years.

She said Smylie Wilson is trending in the wrong direction, and a band-aid fix is not going to work this time. That is why they are proposing something brand new.

“Our board of trustees and our administration are absolutely committed to ensuring that all of our students have access to high quality schools,” Dr. Rollo said.

But, Lubbock ISD superintendent, Dr. Kathy Rollo, said Smylie Wilson is a school that has been underperforming for multiple years now.

“In 2013 the school was a “C”, and then they had two years where they would have scored a “D,” Rollo said, “and then the last four years an “F.”

So, the district is proposing it be turned into a STEM magnet school. Dr. Rollo said it would not have an attendance zone, so students from all over the district would be eligible to apply.

The new school would have a new name and a new design. A project-based learning approach, where interdisciplinary teams of teachers would design learning experiments for students.

“Students would have hands-on, real world experiences to learn the standards, but also apply those standards in real life situations,” Dr. Rollo said.

Two-thirds of the students currently attending Smylie Wilson would be rezoned to Irons Middle School, and the remaining third to Mackenzie Middle School.

“And, we wouldn’t send kids without sending additional supports,” Dr. Rollo said. “And, so we want to add an assistant principal to each of those schools.”

Some parents think it is a good idea.

“Smylie has an “F” and for them to try to make it into a better grade than an “F” that’s great,” Pauline Ibarra said. “I think it’ll give the kids a better opportunity.”

However, others are unsure.

“What will the district do to ensure that learning is not disrupted in anyway at Irons, what will the district do to ensure that class sizes are kept at bay?” Rachel Riddle said. “We just want a lot of assurances, really more than anything.”

Another meeting will happen Monday at Mackenzie Middle School and again on Tuesday at Irons Middle School.

The vote will take place Thursday, November 21.

If approved, the transfer window will open in January for students to begin attending the new school next fall.

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