Tyler ISD [Independent School Distric] kicks off the first day of school with exciting new options for middle school students
Tyler Morning Telegraph. Taylor Miller. August 18, 2020.

Tyler ISD kicked off the first day of school with enthusiasm as the district proudly launched two brand new middle school programs.

For the first time in its history, Caldwell Academy of Arts is offering its former K-7 program to eighth-grade students and Birdwell Dual-Language Immersion School is adding sixth grade to a program that was formerly exclusive to elementary students.

Both Caldwell Academy of Arts and Birdwell Dual-Language School foster alternative forms of education that strive to prepare students for success upon graduation.

The principals of both schools expressed their excitement for their students as they further detailed their new programs.

Bobby Markle, principal of Caldwell Arts Academy, said he is most excited about the development and maturity of the academy’s first-ever eighth-grade class.

“These kids have really shown a lot of the maturity we knew would come with more application. They will be real leaders on campus as middle schoolers,” said Markle.

The implementation of the eighth-grade class, Markle explained, is the product of a vision that was set three years ago by Tyler ISD superintendent Marty Crawford who thought, “it would be a great continuation for the magnet school.”

As Markle described the value of the extra year of classes that will now be offered to students, he stressed that the courses are a viable resource for creative, success-oriented students.

“We want to allow kids to be more expressive and creative,” said Markle. “We want students to engage in the educational process in a different way. Art is a key component to well-rounded students, we support the authenticity of what education could be and the viability that it is something kids can do and be successful at.”

Bethany Moody, principal of Birdwell Dual-Language Immersion School, mirrored the same pride in Birdwell’s unique mission as she explained the benefits students will experience through their implementation of sixth-grade classes.

“This is a unique opportunity for those who find it,” said Moody. “We’ve been getting calls from parents who are excited to know what it’s going to look like. The best thing is to come and experience it.”

Moody explained that students will learn Spanish in sixth grade, and will “make it part of their future not only in school but in the community.”

The language and skill sets they learned in the primary school are a part their process of earning credits and overall advancement.

“If you’ve ever wondered if kids are able to speak two languages, they do it quite rapidly here,” said Moody. “They learn when they are young , their education forms in a way that is unique and different. Native English or Spanish speakers have the opportunity to become bi-literate.”

Students who enroll to the K-8 program will be able to continue the program into high school, and will have the chance to earn college credits and certifications. The addition of the sixth grade to the program will serve as a gateway to the transition between elementary to middle school to high school, she explained.

“Those who stay in the program K-8th grade and expand into high school receive credits in language and a seal of bi-literacy which presents job opportunities right out of high school,” said Moody.

In Moody’s eyes, the opportunity is a gem, and Birdwell is ready to welcome more East Texans to its facility.

“I hope the families of East Texas seek out this opportunity, it is a gem,” said Moody. “Come and join the Birdwell family.”

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