Katherine Johnson Magnet Look Ahead

Katherine Johnson Magnet Look Ahead
Posted on 03/06/2020
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Katherine Johnson Magnet Academy Look Ahead

At the Monday, March 2, 2020, DeSoto Independent School District Board Workshop Chief of Research, Evaluation, and Design Ben Mackey and Katherine Johnson Technology Magnet Academy, Principal Angela Batiste provided an update on recent developments regarding new initiatives and programming at the academic admissions-based campus over the course of this school year. 

Katherine Johnson TMA has formed two partnerships with organizations solicited to help redesign students’ educational experiences. The campus is engaged in a strategic planning and curriculum redesign effort that is facilitated through, a joint-partnership with the University of Texas at Austin and Transcend Education, a non-profit organization dedicated to accelerating innovation in schools. KJTMA is also working with TechSmart, a computer science organization that will facilitate rigorous coding program offerings within the school.  

The campus has established more varied and diverse program offerings this year including Pitch Fest, a program in which sixth-grade students participated in a community-focused project-based learning presentation explaining ideas on how to economically enhance the City of DeSoto.  PitchFest provided students an opportunity to engage in civic involvement and awareness and practice presentation skills in front of community leaders like Mayor Curtistene S. McCowan, members of the city council and district board members as well as community business owners. Students also now have the opportunity to serve as campus social media interns to help capture the essence of the school through the lens of the student promoting pride and investment in students’ school community.  KJTMA scholars also have opportunities to participate in courses and clubs like robotics, cooking, and gardening among an array of other activities.

Focusing on community engagement, Katherine Johnson TMA has hosted several family engagement nights. Through a partnership with In-N-Out Burger, KJTMA hosted a family picnic during which staff and administrators worked to build relationships with families and discuss the vision, mission, goals, and opportunities available as the campus. Other family-focused events included Literacy Night, a campus chess tournament, Destination Imagination competitions, academic UIL competitions, and Night on the Mic in which students and their parents performed a variety of acts. Additionally, students engaged in several offsite learning excursions with visits to the Dallas Opera and other arts, cultural or civic organizations.

Looking Towards the Future

With the campus application window closing March 6, 2020, for the 2020-2021 school year, the magnet academy has received more than 160 applications with only 180 spots available as of February 14. Over 80% of applicants live in the DeSoto and GlennHeights communities; of those,  more than 50% are currently not enrolled in DeSoto ISD.

According to earlier plans to re-envision KJTMA which included adding subsequent grade levels each year scaling the program to ultimately serve students in grades PK4 through 12, starting in the Fall of 2020, the campus will expand to serve seventh-grade scholars. With this additional grade level, administrators have identified ways to offer secondary learning and extra-curricular experiences for sixth and seventh graders by developing electives and course offerings like Visual Arts, Theater, Computer Science and Robotics.

For KJTMA scholars and families interested in athletics, the district will provide transportation to the student’s home DeSoto ISD middle school campus to participate in athletic programs. This accommodation will only be extended to students who live within the DeSoto ISD attendance boundaries.

Learn more about Katherine Johnson TMA at www.katherinejohnsontma.desotoisd.org.