IDEA High School, one of the newest Dallas ISD “schools of choice,” will have all the latest bells and whistles technologically. It will launch with only a freshman class limited to 125 students, and grow to a 400- to 500-student school. Its personalized learning curriculum has been developed with millions in grants from the Gates Foundation, which will pour another $1.8 million into IDEA and the district’s three other personalized learning schools in 2015-16. And IDEA will be housed at a redesigned Fannin Elementary on Ross Avenue, which sits in fairly close proximity to the western side of East Dallas.

IDEA Fannin PriorityYet only one-eighth of IDEA’s 400-plus applications came from its “priority” radius, which gives preference to students who live within three miles of the school. Of those, a mere nine applications came from J.L. Long Middle School, zoned to Woodrow Wilson High School, and one each from Hill and Gaston middle schools, zoned to Bryan Adams High School.

The highest number of applicants from a single school, 45, came from Dade Middle School, also located in the priority zone and recently embroiled in conflict. But Stockard, Browne and Edison middle schools each yielded roughly 30 applicants, none of whom live within three miles of Fannin.

Seventy-four of IDEA’s applicants currently attend Dallas ISD magnet schools; another 15 attend charter or private schools, including Lakehill Preparatory and St. Thomas Aquinas. The 51 applicants who live within the priority radius were admitted, including seven from Long who would have attended Woodrow; the other 355 were chosen by randomized computer selection to fill the remaining 74 spots.

“The demand for more choice options in Dallas ISD is absolutely clear,” says Mike Koprowski, the district’s chief of transformation and innovation. “The number of applications, quite honestly, exceeded our own expectations. This response will motivate us to work even harder to bring more high-quality choice options to more families and students.”

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