Top 100 Best High Schools 2013– The School for the Talented and Gifted Magnet High School – Newsweek – 5/100
1201 E 8th St # 216, Dallas, TX 75203, United States
The School for the Talented and Gifted at the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center (commonly referred to as TAG or TAG Magnet) is a public college preparatory magnet secondary school located in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas, Texas (USA). The school enrolls students in grades 9-12 and is a part of the Dallas Independent School District. It is known for its liberal arts, Advanced Placement Program intensive education style focused on students within a small scale learning environment. In 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2011, Newsweek named the school the #1 public high school in the United States. In 2012 and 2013, US News & World Report named TAG the #1 public high school in the United States. In 2012, it was ranked as the 2nd best high school in North Texas by Children at Risk, a research and advocacy institute dedicated to helping children.
The School for the Talented and Gifted was established in 1982 as part of a desegregation court order. Its curriculum was designed to provide a comprehensive academic program to serve identified talented and gifted students in grades nine through twelve. The school was originally located in west Dallas on the L.G. Pinkston High School campus. In the 1990s, DISD allocated money for a new “magnet center” as an experiment in accelerated high school education. This magnet center would house six different schools, each offering college-preparatory and pre-professional programs alongside a solid academic education. The TAG Magnet, along with five other magnet schools, moved to the new Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center in the fall of 1995. Initially, TAG students were taught alongside the students at the other magnet schools, but after a TAG student uprising that included petitions, letters to the newspaper, pleas to the school board, peaceful protests including walk-outs, and other measures, TAG was given an increased number of self-contained classes and permission to have their own teaching staff that was specialized in talented and gifted teaching methods for the classroom. It was largely the graduating class of 1997 that fought for these changes.
During the spring semester a screening process is initiated to place incoming students drawn from across the Dallas Independent School District at the TAG Magnet for the following year. A holistic, case-study approach is used by the screening committee, which is composed of the principal, the counselor, teachers, and community representatives. Multiple identification criteria are used in the screening process including academic transcripts, TAKS/ITBS scores, a behavioral assessment scale, a student portfolio, and anecdotal information. Careful attention is paid to pre-established guidelines to ensure that the student population is ethnically balanced.
In the 2010-2011 school year there were 240 students enrolled, and the racial/ethnic makeup reflected the culturally diverse fabric of the larger school district as best as it could following the desegregation rulings of Judge Barefoot Sanders and others. The student population was 10.8% Asian/Pacific Islander, 16.7% Black, 30.0% Hispanic, and 42.5% White. The school’s gender makeup was not reflective of the larger school district, with 35% boys and 65% girls. The attendance rate for students at the school is 97.6%, compared with a state average of 95.5%. Of the 201 students at TAG 28.9% are economically disadvantaged, 0% enroll in special education, 100% enroll in gifted and talent programs, and 0% are considered “limited English proficient.” The average class sizes at TAG used to be 14.8 students for English, 5.2 for foreign language, 13.7 for math, 16.4 for science, and 16.8 for social studies but have since increased to about 20.