Sunray ISD adopts new model of learning to prepare students for future

Updated: Jan. 14, 2021 at 10:31 PM CST
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - One area school district is expecting to see a major increase in enrollment after implementing a new model of schooling.

Sunray ISD superintendent Marshall Harrison, says the goal behind providing career and technical classes as well as college classes for students at Sunray ISD, is to minimize both generational poverty and education poverty in the community.

“Rural communities are dying and the reason they are dying is because we have an education model in Texas that is set up, I’m very blunt, it is set up to train children how to take a bubble test and how to play football,” said Harrison. “We have not done our job educating kids after high school.”

It’s for these reasons that Harrison says his school district adopted a new model of learning.

One where they target technical and college classes to prepare students for the future.

“The entire program is to give kids direction once they leave high school. So, the extracurricular part of the school and all that, still blends into the school, but doesn’t drive everything we do,” said Harrison.

In this program, Sunray ISD students could have a technical certificate, an associates degree or both by the time they graduate high school.

“They could realistically graduate with an associates degree and have a four year degree by the time they are 20-years-old and go on from there. It lays the foundation that education is key,” said Jance Morris, middle school principal at Sunray ISD.

At Sunray ISD, classes such as cosmetology and culinary arts already exist.

The district is working on providing classes for those wanting to be a veterinarian or work in childcare and more.

“We’ve got to prepare these kids and help them to succeed to the best of our abilities and so, knowing that I am being a part of that, it’s phenomenal,” said Mandy Traylor, high school principal at Sunray ISD.

Harrison says a big attraction already is the child development classes where children are being taught how to read by the age of three.

He says because of this, Sunray ISD has already seen growth

“Today alone, we enrolled four new elementary students,” said Harrison.

More growth is still expected.

“Currently we are at 600 students, we’re projecting that model within three to five years to be sitting at about 800 to 900 students,” said said Harrison.

Harrison says a bill is currently being drafted that will be presented to the legislatures that will fund 12 model rural school districts in Texas with Sunray ISD being the only one in the Panhandle.

Harrison says the district’s name will then become Sunray Collegiate ISD.

Harrison also adds, the Sunray ISD board of trustees have played a major role in implementing this new model of learning, hoping to help students and their futures careers.

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