December 18, 2020 — Midland ISD offers families many choices for how their elementary student is educated. Among the options is attending one of the district's four partnership schools that serve elementary-age students.
IDEA Travis Academy, Sam Houston Collegiate Preparatory Elementary, Carver Center and Ben Milam International Academy each have distinct purposes that foster unique learning experiences.
IDEA Travis Academy
IDEA Travis Academy sets high expectations for every student and goes the extra mile to make sure each student realizes their own potential. The school focuses on personalized learning, critical thinking skills and mastery of core subjects.
"That is our recipe for success," said Bethany Solis, Executive Director of IDEA Permian Basin.
IDEA Travis is part of IDEA Public Schools, a network of tuition-free public schools that is working in partnership with Midland ISD. IDEA Travis debuted this year. The School of Choice serves pre-kindergarten through sixth grade and plans to add grades each year, eventually serving students up through 12th grade.
Standards for student success are very high at IDEA Travis, but staff pairs high expectations with high support. "Students set ambitious academic goals for themselves, take accelerated coursework and receive personalized support necessary to reach those goals," Solis said. "We call our culture a 'culture of achievement,' where students find joy and excitement in academic challenges and accomplishments."
All IDEA students in sixth through 12th grade take Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses so they graduate fully prepared for the rigors of college-level work in a variety of subjects. In light of the rigor, though, "We meet students where they are," Solis said. "Students who come to Travis already at advanced academic levels are challenged with high-rigor coursework. Students who come academically behind receive intensive intervention support to quickly catch up."
Sam Houston Collegiate Preparatory Elementary
Also new to Midland ISD this year is Third Future Schools, which has partnered with the district to bring a college and career curriculum to Sam Houston Collegiate Preparatory Elementary.
"The vision of Third Future Schools is founded on the notion that a Year 2030 workplace will require new skills and the ability to think critically," said Chancellor Dr. Brandon Thurston. "We are a model for the next generation of schools."
College preparation and awareness is a driving force on campus. Each day, students learn about different colleges and universities, as well as the benefits and processes of attending a higher education institution.
Houston currently serves students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade and plans to add sixth grade next school year. All second- through sixth-grade students attend a unique course called the Art of Thinking, which is designed to teach critical thinking strategies such as recognizing types of biases, approaches to decision making and identifying facts from opinions.
"We have a well-defined instructional model that includes approaches for intervention and acceleration," Thurston said. "Each day, our scholars receive individualized, leveled instruction and assignments to support scholars' growth along the learning continuum. We recognize that with the continual advancement of technology, the changing workplace and social conditions, schools have to evolve and rethink current practices and paradigms."
Carver Center provides a learning environment specifically for gifted and talented students that creates a culture of personalized learning and creative opportunities for enrichment, extension and acceleration.
"At Carver Center, our sole focus is on the instructional, social and emotional needs of GT students," said Principal Stephanie Carnett. "Our students leave Carver Center with a diverse set of critical thinking skills and personal agency they can apply to multiple academic and real-life experiences in their secondary education and beyond."
Students are provided opportunities to persevere with a growth mindset when faced with academic and social challenges, and a major part of Carver Center culture is celebrating student successes.
"Carver Center is a family," Carnett said. "Parents, students and staff are collectively committed to helping all students be successful and excited about learning. We have incredibly supportive parents and an active PTA. Our dedicated teachers motivate students to work with quality, creativity and perseverance to realize their potential."
Enrollment in Carver Center is based on GT testing and identification through the MISD Advanced Academic Services Department. Carver serves students in first through sixth grade.
Ben Milam International Academy
Families that want their student to be bilingual, biliterate and become someone who will excel in a globalized 21st century economy have the option to send their child to Ben Milam International Academy.
BMIA is in its second year of immersing students in an enriched, dual-language curriculum taught in English and Spanish, which engages them in cultural activities. The school currently serves pre-kindergarten through first grade and plans to add a grade level each year, stopping with grade six in 2025-26. BMIA will also add lessons in French in the future.
BMIA's dual-language curriculum is paired with its college-focused mission. "Our students are exposed to a culture and mindset of college preparedness through our partnership with No Excuses University," said Principal Iliana Bermea.
NEU is a network that fosters professional development to help pave the way for all students to attend college. To qualify for the network, a school must meet rigorous criteria. "We establish a culture of high expectations that promotes college awareness by creating conceptual awareness," Bermea said.
Families can apply to have their student enroll at any of Midland ISD's partnership schools through the Apply Midland website at midlandisd.net/apply. Applications are open through Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2021.
Families can learn about these campuses and more, including choices for older students, Thursday, Jan. 14, during the district's virtual School Choice Fair.