Pasadena ISD Bond will Create Ninth Grade Campus, Relieve Overcrowding at Dobie High School

Pasadena ISD Bond will Create Ninth Grade Campus, Relieve Overcrowding at Dobie High School
Posted on 10/06/2014
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The student population in Pasadena ISD continues to grow, especially in the South Belt area of the school district where J. Frank Dobie High School resides. By 2018-19, enrollment at Dobie is expected to reach 4,200, exceeding the maximum capacity of the building based on current academic program requirements.

With voter approval, Tuesday, Nov. 4, $32.7 million of the Pasadena ISD’s zero tax rate increase bond will add a ninth grade campus at Dobie High School to provide enrollment relief and extra space for Early College High School programs.

Enrollment inside of the main campus has reached 3,776 students and of those, 991 are freshmen. Officials expect the proposed campus to reduce enrollment at the primary campus to approximately 3,100-3,200 students with capacity for enrollment at the ninth grade center of 900-1,000 students.

“A sixth comprehensive high school was considered but the Future Facilities Committee, composed of parents and community members, recommended a ninth grade campus at Dobie to address overcrowding in the Riverstone Ranch neighborhood and provide smaller classroom wings,” Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kirk Lewis said.

The facility would house only first year ninth graders. Students will have the same academic and extra-curricular opportunities as students on the main campus.

“We will implement several integrated opportunities to remove the feel of isolation or exclusivity,” Franklin Moses, Dobie High School principal said.

School officials anticipate that the ninth grade campus will help intermediate students make a smooth transition into high school.

“Ninth graders will have an additional year in which to get into the routine of high school,” Moses said. “Research shows that the transition into high school is the most difficult and crucial for students. We hope that with the ninth grade center, the year will begin much like an intermediate school and by June it will look like Dobie High School.”

The ninth grade campus will be constructed on a site yet to be determined.

In addition to enrollment relief, the proposed bond package will create an Early College High School program at Dobie. The ECHS program will provide students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma, associate’s degree or credit toward a bachelor’s degree. Though not limited to any student demographic, the Early College program typically targets students who may be the first in their family to attend college. Additionally, ECHS students gain exposure to the college culture by taking college coursework at a participating high education institution.

The ninth grade campus would provide space to house the ECHS program on the main campus. Once fully operational, the program will graduate 500-600 students per year with a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.

“We are committed to providing an excellent experience for all of our ninth graders,” Moses said. “The addition of a ninth grade campus will give us an opportunity to ensure students are successful from the time they transition into high school to the time they are ready to graduate.”