Solar Preparatory School for Girls is like a new “Super School”

The MetroTex Association of Realtors Public Education Committee keeps track of issues and trends in public education.  Meetings often feature speakers from various public education institutions, Recently, the MetroTex Public Education Committee heard from Solar Preparatory.

A year and a half in the making, the Dallas ISD has opened its first “transformation” school under the current public school choice application process.  The district repurposed the old Bonham Elementary school on Henderson in East Dallas into a single gender concept.  It is an all-girl campus focusing on STEAM instruction-science, technology, engineering, math and the arts.

Focused on socioeconomic diversity, half of the students qualify for free and reduced priced lunch and half do not.  It is the FIRST school of its kind in DISD.  It is also racially diverse. The school draws from the area; of the 360 lottery applications 29 students came from charters, 53 from private.  There were 198 seats available. The district will measure the school’s success by how well it closes achievement gaps between the different types of students. Research shows that low income children when paired with more affluent peers significantly close the achievement gaps.

The school has students from kindergarten through second grade and will eventually go through eighth grade. The campus is focused on performance based learning as well as blended learning so the students set the pace.  Teaching is done with a combination of online and classroom learning.  Social and emotional learning is a part of the teaching process as well as a dual language pilot with students getting instruction in both English and Spanish.

Nancy Bernardino is the principal and Jennifer Turner is the assistant principal.  The hope of the teaching team is to get girls ready to move into the work force confidently in fields where they are underrepresented.

Paula Scofield is a member of the MetroTex Public Education committee.

*source Dallas Morning News, Corbett Smith