COPPELL (CBSDFW.COM) – For one final night Friday, the concrete concourse of a football stadium became home to 48 families.
Since Monday, residents in Coppell have been camping out, hoping to secure one of the select few admission spots opening next year in Coppell’s New Tech High School.
It’s a public school, but only open to an exclusive few.
“There was a lot of us that were ready, that already had our vehicles packed,” said Wayne Williams.
This was his second campout. Last year he waited for a spot to get his grandson into New Tech. This year he’s waiting for his stepson.
“I think that they teach the kids how to function in college better,” he said.
New Tech follows a project based learning program. Instead of lectures and tests, students collaborate and become engaged in the learning process. It is focused on developing a skill set to allow them to succeed in college, and the workforce, in a rapidly changing technological world.
It graduated its first class in 2011.
Only 135 spots are available for incoming freshman in 2012. About 40 of those will go to siblings of current students. That left about 48 for the first come, first served group waiting in line to enroll.
The rest of the spots will be awarded in a lottery.
“I do wish that everyone could get that experience, because I think it’s a great opportunity for all the kids,” said Tempest Roberson.
She works nights and wasn’t able to camp out. Friday morning, though, she found there was one remaining alternate position left in line, and she claimed it for her daughter.
“I kept telling my baby, ‘God moves mountains, and if it’s for you to be there, you’ll be there,’” she said.
Some parents were being turned away Friday. As many as 100 interested applicants have been turned away in past years.
That’s enough to start an entire additional class of students. Because of the demand, Coppell ISD has tried to institute elements of the program in some of its academies at Coppell High School.
There are discussions ongoing about possibly using some district-owned open land to build a second campus for the same type of program.
Williams, however, said every family has the same chance at getting their student into the school.
“The parents that think New Tech is for their kids, and the kids who think New Tech is for them, they’re here,” he said.