9th Graders in a Separate School

Wendy Hundley:

In 1997, the Lewisville school district moved its ninth-graders into a separate school as a short-term solution to overcrowding at Lewisville High School.
But the temporary move turned permanent when officials discovered some unexpected benefits from giving freshmen a school of their own: test scores and attendance improved while disciplinary problems and even teen pregnancy rates dropped – from 40 in 1996 to zero the next year.
Today, Killough Lewisville High School North – the district’s ninth-grade center that opened in 2005 – is one of LISD’s crowning jewels. It achieved an exemplary rating from the Texas Education Agency and was named the No. 1 public high school in the state three years ago by Texas Monthly magazine.
It’s been so successful, in fact, that Lewisville school officials are now making plans to create ninth-grade centers for Hebron, Flower Mound and Marcus high schools.
But at the same time they’re replicating the ninth-grade model throughout the district, school officials plan to add sophomores to the mix at Killough – a move that has upset parents who feel that the school should remain a freshman haven.
“The ninth-grade center has been great for Lewisville. It’s been such a success,” said Susan Arthur, whose daughter will attend Killough this year. “We don’t understand why they’ve taken it away.”