Longview ISD is seeking campus operating partners to manage possible charter campuses across the district.
An open “call for quality schools” the district issued says it is looking for four specific types of school models: Career and Technology, International Baccalaureate, Project-Based Learning and Educator Preparation Lab Schools.
The open call is part of the district’s attempt to transform all the campuses into Senate Bill 1882 charter schools. The legislation lays a path for a nonprofit charter school group to operate public school campuses. Longview ISD officials have hailed it as a way to fund innovative educational programs and receive a significant infusion of state money.
As of now, six of Longview ISD’s 13 campuses are SB 1882 charter schools run by the nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies. Those campuses are East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Ware East Texas Montessori Academy, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, J.L. Everhart Elementary School, Bramlette STEAM Academy and Forest Park Magnet School.
The remaining seven noncharter campuses are Ned E. Williams Elementary School, Hudson PEP Elementary School, South Ward Elementary School, Judson STEAM Academy, Foster Middle School, Longview High School and Longview Early Graduation High School.
Chief Innovation Officer Craig Coleman said the applications for new partners would come to his office, and as of Friday, he said he was not aware of any being submitted yet. The deadline for submission is 2 p.m. Jan. 6.
The call for proposals does not mean the districtwide charter decision is final, Coleman said. He said the district needs its proposed partners for the final application, which is due to the Texas Education Agency on March 31.
The programs the district is looking for are detailed in the request for proposals.
The Career and Technology model would be an innovative high school plan that provides Career and Technology Education and Work-Based Learning programs.
In October, the city announced it might create a nonprofit organization to operate the East Texas Advanced Manufacturing Academy and the Longview Early Graduation High School. The tentative name for the organization is Longview LEAP.
The manufacturing academy currently offers career and technology training.
“We know the career and tech would be with the high school and manufacturing academy,” Coleman said. “We haven’t taken anything to the board. We’re talking about how we might plan to make some of these work, but we haven’t made any final decisions.”
According to the document, the IB plan would “provide schoolwide middle school and high school models that enable students from all backgrounds to succeed in an IB pathway.”
The district now has IB programs at J.L. Everhart Elementary School, Forest Park Magnet School and Longview High School.
In September, Longview ISD expressed its desire to add the IB program to all campuses. Coleman said that is still the plan, and some staff training already has taken place.
The Project-Based Learning model is described as an elementary and middle school plan that provides “purposeful and authentic project experiences.”
The Educator Preparation Lab Schools plan is intended for elementary and middle school campuses and is described as “a university-based educator preparation program to provide elementary and middle school models that achieve the dual goals of enabling continuous improvement of the preparation program and providing students at the school with excellent learning experiences.”
The model would allow teachers time to learn, plan and collaborate. It also would aim to have higher staff-to-student ratios. Additionally, it plans to provide professional development and create a pipeline of teachers prepared to excel.
Coleman said the models presented in the document are not the only ones the district will accept.
“I think the district is open to receiving any proposals,” he said. “Those were decided because that’s the opportunities that we feel like we need to offer our students.”
Coleman said he and a leadership team of administrators and assistant superintendents decided on the models.
Coleman said he is unaware of any talks to have retiring Assistant Superintendent Jody Clements take over a campus.
The request for proposals and application is available at lisd.org , Coleman said. Click on Financial Transparency, then Request for Proposal.
Staff will make a formal recommendation to the school board on Jan. 21, and Coleman said the board will vote on whether to approve entering negotiations with the potential partners on Jan. 29.