The Dallas Independent School District introduced the Innovation, Design, Entrepreneurship Academy (IDEA) at an April 2015 school board meeting as their first Choice School. The school opened to ninth graders for the 2015-2016 school year, and is excited to welcome their second class of freshman for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.
IDEA utilizes a personalized learning model that is unique to the Dallas ISD. With an incredibly diverse student body, there is an incredible amount of opportunity for the students who will graduate with the business and industry endorsement. Personalized learning allows for the students to learn what they need to know, when and how it is best for them. This is turning the traditional education model upside-down.
For instance, local ABC Station, WFAA 8ABC, highlighted how world geography forgoes traditional textbooks. Instead students learn about their world through real-life issues, such as terrorism. Through exploration of the topic of terrorism, the students can dig into the background of different terror groups. Then come up with strategies to defeat them, which are presented to their teacher, Chazz Robinson, in an essay. Along with studying the terror groups, they also explore the social and political reasons why such groups thrive, and the underlying cause for their emergence.
Instead of relying on a set timeline for meeting academic competencies, utilizing Competency-based Mastery allows students to progress as they master skills. Rather than before, when they were being limited by the lesson plans and set learning experiences. This learning strategy allows educators to offer assessments that can be used across the academic spectrum, allowing educators to make the best academic decisions possible for each student.
The school also embraces an entrepreneurial spirit, focusing on what the school calls Next Generation Skills. Skills like innovative thinking and collaboration. These skills are vital for today’s students to obtain. They need to be developed and encouraged in the safe environment of the academic setting. With their first year under their belt, the program is only growing, and offering even more opportunities to students.
This academic school year students can now participate in the newly launched internship program. The former elementary school has been renovated with new furniture and better equipped classrooms, to better facilitate the learning experience. The internship program is intended to help the students gain experience and prepare for life outside of high school, whether or not they go on to college.