Midlothian Schools Are a Main Attraction
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
Midlothian Independent School District, known for innovative educational programs and academic excellence, is one of the city's main attractions.
"The school district is why people come here," says the city's Parks and Recreation Manager James Berman, who has three grown children who attended Midlothian schools. "They're moving here for the rural atmosphere and the school district."
Midlothian Independent School District has an enrollment of about 7,300, which includes one high school, two middle schools and six elementary schools. Out of 166 school districts with 5,000-plus students, MISD is the 22nd fastest-growing district in Texas, and its academics are top-notch.
In 2009, the district was rated exemplary in 22 out of 25 academic measurements. MISD students also scored above the state average on their ACT and SAT scores in 2009, and they ranked in the upper 90th percentile on the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills.
Judy Walling, MISD's assistant superintendent for learning, says the district's Balanced Literacy Program – an integrated approach to teaching reading and writing – is one of many strong, district-wide programs that give students an edge. Other popular programs include Destination ImagiNation, a problem-solving program in which children work as teams to solve challenges, and Mathematics Pentathlon, which teaches problem-solving skills through interactive math games and competition.
Students are also encouraged to engage in the community. Through one innovative class called Community Problem Solving, students choose a problem in the community and work to solve it. For example, middle school students in 2009 raised money and wrote grants to add handicapped-accessible amenities to Hawkins Spring Park, including a swing that can accommodate a wheelchair.
For older students, college preparation is a priority. The district offers four SAT boot camps and four ACT boot camps throughout the year to help prepare students for the tests. It also offers a PSAT-preparatory class for students, along with free online SAT and ACT test preparation. About 510 students participate in advanced placement classes, and MISD also offers eight dual-credit courses.
More than 150 students are currently enrolled in dual-credit courses at MISD. Walling says many parents love the district's use of PowerSchool, a Web-based system that allows them to log in and view their child's progress – from test grades to attendance records – every day.
Midlothian residents have access to the two-year Navarro College and the four-year Texas A&M-Commerce on one campus in Midlothian through a unique partnership between the two schools. Other area colleges include Northwood University in Cedar Hill; Dallas Baptist University, Mountain View Community College, Southern Methodist University in Dallas; Tarrant County College and University of Texas at Arlington in Arlington; and Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.