In July, Karen Rue will celebrate 10 years as Northwest’s superintendent.
Over that time, Rue has won numerous awards and stewarded a period of rapid growth that has seen the school district of 7,000 in 2005 swell to 20,000 today. Despite all the accolades and expansion, sometimes it feels like, to Rue, that’s she only just begun.
"I can still remember walking into the Administration Building for the first time," Rue said. "It seems like yesterday."
But Rue and the district’s educators don’t spend much time thinking of yesterday. Northwest prides itself in preparing its students for the challenges of the future. That means that a heavy emphasis is placed on giving students access to innovative and interactive digital technology that they can use to demonstrate their leadership, creativity and problem-solving techniques.
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"Our kids have to own their learning," Rue said. "We’ve taught them how to set goals for themselves. … We are really building that sense of high achievement and how much their effort matters."
NISD likes students to share their knowledge and creativity. Wilson Middle School near Haslet features collaborative spaces where students can work together on interactive projects that make use of district’s digital resources.
Similar collaborative spaces are planned as part of Eaton High School, the district’s third comprehensive high school, which will open this August near Haslet. Administrators and staff are already working in a wing of the under-construction building. The district’s students and parents will have a campus to be proud of in Eaton, Rue said.
"Every time we build a school, we find a way to refine that space and make better use of it," Rue said of Eaton, which is on the same swath of land where Northwest’s yet-unnamed sixth middle school will soon begin undergoing construction.
NISD’s high schools, including the Steele Accelerated campus, presents unique educational choices to students. Eaton is no different. The school will be home to the business management and entrepreneurship academy. Participants will spend four years learning skills that will give them a leg up in studying business in college and on charting their career paths.
Academy students will design the marketing and take their idea from concept to reality, with mentorship from business leaders from the surrounding Alliance Texas business development, one of the nation’s foremost logistics hubs.
"Kids can explore a career path that gives them preparation for a field without compromising their ability to major in a different academic area in college," Rue said.