During a special meeting of the Lubbock ISD Board of Trustees on Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, the board voted unanimously to move forward with plans to transform Smylie Wilson Middle School into a magnet school.

The transition plan, outlined at the meeting by LISD Superintendent Dr. Kathy Rollo, will require Smylie Wilson to close down after the 2019-2020 school year and reopen in the fall of 2020 as a brand new school with a new name. The plan is in response to Smylie Wilson receiving an F rating by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) in 2018 and 2019.

The new school will implement STEAM-focused curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics) and Project-Based Learning.

Dr. Rollo said Lubbock ISD plans to select a new school principal by December 12th. Recruitment, staffing, and enrollment will occur during the spring and summer months, and the new school should be open by August 2020 for 6th and 7th graders, with 8th grade enrollment available in 2022.

The plan to overhaul Smylie Wilson will also affect Irons and Mackenzie Middle School. The new magnet school will be an open enrollment campus and won't have an attendance zone. Any student within Lubbock ISD, as long as they are in 6th of 7th grade, will be able to submit an application for enrollment, but the deadline for those applications is January 8th, 2020.

Because the new magnet school will not have an attendance zone, the LISD Board of Trustees has unanimously approved attendance zone boundary changes that will split the zone previously allocated for Smylie Wilson.

For the 2020-2021 school year, addresses south of 34th Street will be rezoned to Irons Middle School. Addresses north of 34th Street will be rezoned to Mackenzie Middle School.

Dr. Rollo explained that Irons and Mackenzie should be able to comfortably accommodate more students in 2020. The current enrollment for Irons Middle School is 590 students, but she says the school has a campus capacity of 953 students. A similar circumstance exists at Mackenzie, which currently has 644 students with a campus capacity of 787.

More students, however, means both Irons and Mackenzie will likely need more academic support. Dr. Rollo said Lubbock ISD will be hiring additional staff, such as another assistant principal and more campus counselors and instructional coaches. Dr. Rollo told the Lubbock ISD board on Thursday that with more academic support, Irons and Mackenzie should be able to maintain or even reduce class sizes.

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