Lancaster ISDPublic Schools
District Name: Lancaster ISD
District Size & Class Size: 7,315 students. K-4 student-to-teacher ratio is as close to 22:1 as possible; 5-12 grade student-to-teacher ratio is as close to 25-28:1 as possible.
Grade Level Alignment: Elementary, pre-K-5; middle school, 6, 7-8; high school, 9-12
Distinguishing Characteristics: Lancaster ISD is one of the largest predominantly African-American districts in the state, and we are proud of the significant accomplishments of our students. For four consecutive years, more than 95 percent of our students graduated with a diploma and a letter of acceptance to a college, university, trade school, or the military. We have the highest graduation rate of the Best Southwest cities and one of the highest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. One hundred percent of our schools met standard on the most recent state assessment, and our schools received multiple distinctions from the Texas Education Agency. Our middle school is the highest-performing middle school in our area. In addition, we are a leader in early childhood educational programs and offer a full-day academic option for 3-year-olds, providing early academic exploration and social development. We are the first district in Texas to offer a K-12 STEM curriculum to all students. Each elementary campus is STEM focused, with an emphasis on Health Science Technology, Engineering, Information Systems & Software Design, or Global Arts Communications & Entrepreneurship.
Specializations and Program Offerings: In Lancaster ISD, we are committed to ensuring that all students experience authentic learning that nurtures 21st-century skills and postsecondary readiness. As pioneers of a K-12 STEM education model, we have transformed teaching and learning, and have established a STEM culture marked by innovation, student-centered instruction, purposeful engagement, and a more rigorous academic program that promotes advanced academics, technology fluency, critical thinking, and problem solving.
Now in the third year of STEM implementation, Lancaster ISD is poised to increase the development of Engineering with a focus on the aerospace and aviation pipeline. We also celebrate achievements in successful problem-based learning implementation in grades 4-10; institution of STEM electives and clubs at all 10 campuses; three T-STEM designated academies; effective business, community, and higher education partnerships; as well as STEM pipeline articulation that provides opportunities for internships and externships for students. Embedded mission-driven leadership; strong districtwide STEM culture and focus on postsecondary success; STEM-aligned curricula, instruction, and assessment; along with talent development and recruitment of STEM-literate professionals, keeps us in the forefront of STEM education.
In addition, we want our students to be proficient in reading and math before they reach third grade. Research shows that children from low-income families enter kindergarten performing, on average, 12-14 months behind their more affluent peers in pre-reading and language skills. With a quality early childhood education, a child’s mind works faster, makes more connections, and is ultimately better prepared for the increased demands in kindergarten on learning and behavior. In Lancaster ISD, our intent is to have all early childhood students on grade level. This is why we offer a full-day pre-K option for 3- and 4-year-olds. Our programs provide experiences in all early childhood domains: gross motor, fine motor, social-emotional, as well as numeracy and literacy. In pre-K3 and pre-K4, we seize the opportunity to have students kinder-ready. In first and second grades, we focus on having students STAAR-ready.
Extracurricular: Students can participate in athletics through football, basketball, baseball, soccer, softball, volleyball, track and field, cross-country, swimming, golf, powerlifting, wrestling, and cheerleading. We have a comprehensive fine arts program that includes the visual arts, band, color guard, choir, theater, drill team/dance, and JROTC. There are multiple opportunities at all levels for academic competition. Other clubs and activities may include National Honor Society, Student Council, FFA, FCCLA, French Club, Spanish Club, Engineering/Robotics, Hiking Club, Gardening Club, STEM Gamers Club, Art Club, Math Club, Science Club, Media Club, newspaper, and yearbook.
Safety and Security: In an effort to remain proactive and ensure that our students are educated in a safe and secure environment, we regularly engage staff members in the implementation and evaluation of campus discipline management systems and campus crisis plans. All campuses regularly conduct crisis drills according to the state requirements and are often monitored by Lancaster ISD police and fire departments. Safety audits are regularly conducted on all district facilities, and we are in compliance with all Texas Education Agency, state, and federal regulations. In addition, our Bullying Awareness Program has helped to proactively educate students and teachers on how to identify and prevent bullying. Our campuses emphasize the Tiger Way Character Development Program through campuswide initiatives designed to reinforce the six pillars of character. We have implemented the use of the Review 360 system, which allows us to identify potential discipline issues and operate in a more strategic way to ensure appropriate behavior among students.
M&O/I&S Tax Rates and Last Bond Passage: M&O: $1.04; I&S: $0.33
Average Home Value in District: $76,475
Selling Points: One hundred percent of Lancaster ISD schools met or exceeded the standards set by the Texas Education Agency; Lancaster ISD is the only district in the Best Southwest with no campuses on the low performing or required improvement list. Eight of the 10 campuses rated received at least one academic distinction, and six campuses received two or more distinctions. Lancaster High School continues to have the highest graduation rate in the Best Southwest; Lancaster Middle School is the highest-performing middle school in the Best Southwest.
Philosophy: The mission of Lancaster ISD, in collaboration with parents and communities, is to ignite learning that translates into sustainable success for all students in an ever-changing society. We aim to prove that it is possible for students from diverse ethnic backgrounds and challenging economic situations to perform at levels that are commensurate to students from more economically advantaged backgrounds, and that it is possible to succeed and break the predictive power of economics, ethnicity, and its inverse relationship with academic excellence. Therefore, we have systems, programs, and people in place who provide our students with an exceptional learning experience to ensure that our students leave us knowing, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are equipped to take advantage of the choices and opportunities in life. Simply put, we want our students to graduate with more than a diploma.