Manor ISD ramps up specialized programs to compete with charters

MANOR, Texas (KXAN) -- The Manor Independent School District wants the community to know it's working to invest in them. Next year, they're rolling out big changes for the campuses, bringing specialty programs to elementary and middle schools.

In addition to creating more New Tech schools, they'll be enhancing fine arts programs and applying for the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program for some campuses. Students will be able to start the programs young and continue them through high school.

The district's new superintendent, Dr. Royce Avery, is behind the changes. He's working to attract new students to the district, as well as bring back those who live in Manor but go to a charter school or another district.

"The attack against public schools, it's a reality, so we have to do things within our system in all schools across Texas, to make sure we keep our families in our schools," said Dr. Avery. "We felt we needed to start yesterday rather than waiting for something to happen, waiting for kids to leave our district."

Decker Middle School will be the first to transform to a Fine Arts Academy. It will mean more classes and more openings in current programs like choir and mariachi.

"We're taking it a step further. Studies show that the arts increases academics also, so we're really excited about bringing that aspect to our campus," said Ralph Henley, an assistant principal at Decker Middle School. "I think the next step is really being known as an art school for us. Manor has not had anything like that. For us to be chosen for that type distinction is really important for us."

Eventually, the district hopes to bring enhanced fine arts programs to Decker Elementary and Oak Meadows Elementary in the coming years.

Schools they hope to implement IB at include Manor, Presidential Meadows, Bluebonnet Trail Elementary and Manor Middle school. IB is a global community around the world, striving to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people. More than 4,000 schools around the world have implemented the program.

"If we're going to grow, which we know we're growing, we have to be innovative in how we do it. We want to keep the families in this district," said Avery. The district says it will take two to three years to get approved for the IB program.

Schools getting the New Tech model include Lagos, Pioneer Crossing, Blake Manor and ShadowGlen Elementary schools.

Next week the district will start their marketing campaign, hoping to reach out to families and educate them about the changes. Parents are encouraged to attend to learn about the changes:

  • Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. - Pioneer Crossing Elementary
  • Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. - Decker Elementary
  • Jan. 19 at 7:30 a.m. - McDonald's on Lexington
  • Jan. 19 at 6 p.m - Ramos Restaurant on Parsons
  • Jan. 20 at 7:30 a.m - Blake Manor Elementary
  • Jan. 24 at 6 p.m. - ShadowGlen Pool Clubhouse
  • Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. - Manor ISD Board Room

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