LISD discusses academies in pre-meeting workshop

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In a work session Wednesday night Feb. 7, the Lewisville ISD Board of Trustees was updated on three of its advanced programs while also discussing budgetary policy later in the evening.

The first part of the session, the board heard about its Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Academy in Donald Elementary School, the Collegiate Academy and Career Center projects. STEM accredited schools focus not just on the listed subjects, but on a unique, application-based teaching methodology.

Donald principal Michelle Wooten said the campus teachers and parents are all on board with becoming a STEM school, despite the sacrifices required for teachers to earn certifications and an expansion of the school day to accommodate extra engineering learning. Donald is set to become one of the first elementary schools in the country to be certified by the National Institute for STEM Education.

Far from just being on board, Wooten said the reaction has been enthusiastic — 26 Donald teachers are on their way to becoming STEM certified instructors, despite her hoping for only a handful. She said the response from the community has been enthusiastic to the point of unintended consequences.

“I had two real estate agents call,” she said. “They actually want to know what is happening in the last two weeks, because their phones have been ringing nonstop.”

The board also received a report on The Colony High School’s Collegiate Academy, a partnership between the high school and Collin County College that will potentially allow graduates to come out with an associate’s degree in-hand. Officials noted that the degree would cost no more than $5,000 to the student.

Following this, the board received a presentation on potential new career center programs. Researchers visited six neighboring school districts, examined job markets and polled residents to come up with four potential new programs. They were a veterinary assistant program, which was the most popular option, along with culinary arts, cybersecurity and building programs. They also said there was a possibility for an aviation technology program, but it would require further study.

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