When MHHS opens in 2014-15, its first class of students will be all of the District’s first-time ninth graders (approved by the MISD School Board, June 17, 2013).
The recommendation to start Midlothian Heritage with all first-time ninth graders is, in part, a matter of economics. According to MISD’s administration, funding for a ninth grade class only, starting in 2014-15, is the more prudent financial option compared to starting a separate high school with ninth and tenth graders (2014-15) and moving toward a ninth-twelveth grade school in 2016-17. [For a more detailed explanation, please see The First Class of Students at High School #2 (Phase 1).]
What are the implications of MHHS starting the 2014-15 school year with all of the District’s first-time ninth graders?
Although there will be two separate buildings with two different names, the students in each high school will be Panthers in all that they do academically, athletically and in all extra- and co-curricular activities for the 2014-15 school year. Their school colors will be the same (Midlothian Blue), and for UIL purposes, our District will remain, in all likelihood, 5A in the next realignment.
Some ninth graders at MHHS will participate in activities provided at MHS like marching band, and junior varsity and varsity sports. Schedules at both schools will accommodate the needs of these students.
The Board approved the grade-level configuration (i.e., all of the district’s first-time ninth graders) for MHHS for one year only (2014-15). The following school year those 2014-15 ninth graders could move to MHS and all of the district’s 2015-16 ninth graders could be at MHHS. Or, it could be that the two schools separate and MHHS has a ninth/tenth student configuration. Boundaries would be redrawn. Some ninth and tenth graders would attend Midlothian Heritage, and all the rest of the District’s high school students would attend Midlothian High School.*
The Board will make that decision at the appropriate, but yet to be determined, time in 2014-15.
The administration’s recommendation on which grade configuration will be based, in part, on which option the district can afford. At this time, the relevant data (e.g., MISD student enrollment projections and 2015-16 revenue) are not available.
The addition of a second high school is a special opportunity for a community. Midlothian Heritage High School’s Principal, Mrs. Krista Tipton, shares a perspective: “I am really excited about our second high school and its endless possibilities. I am reminded of the quote, ‘Don’t tell me the sky’s the limit when there are footprints on the moon.’ We can make something spectacular of this opportunity.”
*The School Board has final authority on the grade-level configuration of its schools, so these examples are just that – examples – and are not intended to limit the Board’s range of options.