Time’s running out to donate to college scholarships for deserving seniors

There are just a few more days for Dallas ISD employees and students to donate for scholarships that help deserving Dallas ISD seniors of all races attend college.

The Dallas ISD United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Workplace Campaign ends on April 16.  Dallas ISD campus employees can donate to the campaign by contacting their campus or department’s UNCF representative. Learn more here.

This is the top of the current leader board of which high school feeder pattern has contributed the most donations:

  • Samuell: $3,412.34
  • W.T. White: $2,648.61
  • Central Department: $813.25
  • Skyline: $750.00
  • Carter: $625.00

Funds raised by each campus will be used as scholarships for the graduating students of the high school within the feeder.

District staff, students part of Texas Library Association conference

The Texas Library Association’s (TLA) Annual Conference wrapped up on Friday, April 6, in Dallas, and included representation from Dallas ISD.

More than 20 Dallas ISD school librarians presented professional development sessions and district librarians introduced 12 session speakers at the at the conference, which is the largest statewide librarian conference in the U.S. There were an estimated 7,000 librarians from universities, public school districts and public libraries in attendance.

Jerry Handford, a student at Cesar Chavez Learning Center and champion of this year’s campus spelling bee, represented his school at the Texas Bluebonnet Award Luncheon. Handford said he wanted to speak at the luncheon because he likes trying new things.

“I’ve never given a speech in front of a lot of people, so it’s something I wanted to do,” Handford said.

Also at the conference:

  • Dr. Rosenid Badia, librarian at Benjamin Franklin Middle School and a past Dallas ISD Librarian of the Year, was the only Dallas ISD librarian selected for the 2018 TLA Tall Texans Leadership Institute.
  • Michelle Touchet from N.W. Harrllee Early Childhood Center was awarded a Diversity prize from the Junior Library Guild.
  • Four Dallas school librarians were leaders in the TLA Local Arrangements Committee.
  • The Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Jazz Singers performed for attendees during the second general session.

Dallas ISD staff learn how to lead effort to support LGBTQ students

A team of Dallas ISD campus and central staff employees learned how they can lead the effort to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQ) students feel safe and supported in the district.

More than 30 Dallas ISD employees attended the training held March 27 at the Frazier House, 4600 Spring Ave. The training is part of a partnership agreement between Dallas ISD and the Resource Center, a leading LGBTQ service organization in North Texas.

The Resource Center and Dallas ISD are working together to implement a training support program inclusive of LGBTQ issues. The program is modeled after the “Out for Safe Schools” implemented by the Los Angeles LGBT Center and the Los Angeles Unified School District.

The Dallas ISD employees that attended the March 27 training will later train fellow team members on how to support LGBTQ sutdents. The employees will also wear badges identifying them as allies with LGBTQ students.

Nine Dallas ISD CTE academies net special designations for excellence

Nine Dallas ISD National Academy Foundation academies have achieved special designations this year from NAF among nearly 200 others recognized across the country.

There were more than 100 “Model” schools determined by NAF’s annual assessment. That designation recognizes academies that deliver high-quality educational experiences. Sixty-nine academies in the network reached the “Distinguished” level, which is the network’s highest level of achievement.

2018 Distinguished academies include:

  • W.H. Adamson Academy of Finance
  • Emmett J. Conrad Academy of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Emmett J. Conrad Academy of Finance
  • Emmett J. Conrad Academy of Engineering
  • Emmett J. Conrad Academy of Health Sciences
  • Thomas Jefferson Academy of Finance
  • Thomas Jefferson Academy of Hospitality and Tourism
  • Skyline Academy of Hospitality and Tourism

Also, North Dallas Academy of Information Technology was named a Model academy.

The NAF’s annual assessment measures an academy’s strengths and challenges in implementing the organization’s design and includes site visits. The ultimate goal is to ensure students are receiving the education that will help make them college- and career-ready upon graduation.

The newly recognized academies will be honored at the NAF’s annual conference in July in Washington, D.C.

Dallas ISD has academies that were previously recognized by the NAF for excellence. The district’s Distinguished academies are: Justin F. Kimball Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, Justin F. Kimball Academy of Engineering, Woodrow Wilson Academy of Finance and Woodrow Wilson Academy of Hospitality & Tourism. The district already had two Model academies: Woodrow Wilson Academy of Engineering and Hillcrest Academy of Engineering.

Learn more about Dallas ISD’s NAF academies here.

Two new transformation schools opening in August will mirror winning programs

Dallas ISD trustees approved opening two new transformation schools in August with learning models that have been successful on other campuses.

Students have until April 30 to go here and apply to these two new schools.

Sam Houston Elementary will become a personalized learning campus that will mirror the successful model of Dan D. Rogers Elementary School. Students currently in grades 2–4 at Houston Elementary can stay at the campus under the same elementary school model as previous years, while students currently in grades pre-K­­-2 will start under the personalized learning model next school year.

Meanwhile, Onesimo Hernandez Elementary will become a Montessori school in August. The existing campus will consolidate with Maple Lawn Elementary. The new Montessori school will start by serving students in grades pre-K–2, and then build out in following years to serve additional grades. Current Hernandez students going into grades K–2 will be given priority if they apply to the new Montessori school.

Both Hernandez and Houston elementary schools have low student enrollment. Angie Gaylord, deputy chief of the Office of Transformation and Innovation, said bringing these new learning models to the campuses will set the campuses and families up for future success.

“There is proven demand for Montessori and personalized learning schools here in Dallas,” Gaylord said. “This decision will help these campuses succeed and serve families for decades to come.”

Families could start applying to the new Montessori and personalized learning schools on Monday, March 26.

More than 13,500 students applied to attend a Dallas ISD choice school—which includes magnets, early college high schools and transformation schools—during the application window that was open Dec. 1–Jan. 31.

District to expand ACE program to boost struggling schools

Dallas ISD is expanding an initiative that helps boost student achievement by staffing struggling schools with strong leaders and high-performing teachers.

The district launched the ACE program, which stands for Accelerating Campus Excellence, in the 2016–2017 school year at seven historically low-performing schools. Dallas ISD this school year added an additional six schools to the ACE program. With ACE campuses showing significant improvement in student achievement, the district is building on this success by bringing these additional six schools into the ACE program for the 2018–2019 school year:

  • Cesar Chavez Learning Center
  • Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center
  • L.L Hotchkiss Elementary School
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School
  • Elisa M. Pease Elementary School
  • Joseph J. Rhoads Learning Center

These six schools will be part of an ACE 3.0 hybrid model call “ACE Leadership” aimed at continuing to improve student achievement with a focus on building a foundation for college readiness with a strong focus on developing teacher leadership. The ACE 3.0 program will incentivize top teacher leaders, principals and campus leaders to study leadership, curriculum alignment, data and other best practices and then apply these practices to improve teaching and learning on their campuses.

ACE is part of Dallas ISD’s vision to prepare every student for college and the workforce based on placing an effective teacher in every classroom, equipping schools with strong leadership teams, and holding high expectations for both staff and students. The ACE plan was developed to help schools improve academically and better serve district students.

For those interested in learning more about the ACE program, visit http://dallasisd.org/ace.

Three new proposed schools would mirror winning Dallas ISD programs

Dallas ISD trustees were briefed on a proposal to open three new transformation schools in August with learning models that have been successful on other campuses.

Transformation schools offer specialized academic programming, similar to magnet schools, but without academic entry requirements. The three new proposed transformation schools are:

  • A single-gender elementary school for boys that would mirror the successful model of Solar Preparatory School for Girls;
  • A personalized learning elementary school that would mirror the successful model of Dan D. Rogers Elementary School. The new school would feed into Ignite Middle Schooland IDEA;
  • A pre-K–8 Montessori school in northwest Dallas.

If approved, the schools would open in August and serve students in grades pre-K–2, and then build out in following years to serve additional grades.

Under the current proposal, Sam Houston Elementary would consolidate with Esperanza Medrano Elementary and Onesimo Hernandez Elementary would consolidate with Maple Lawn Elementary. The Houston and Hernandez campuses would then house two of those transformation schools.

Dallas ISD will hold a public hearing to share information with the community about the recommended school consolidation plans for Houston and Hernandez elementary schools. The hearing is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., March 22, 2018, at 5151 Samuell Blvd.

Persons interested in making comments at the public hearing must register to speak by contacting the Board Services office at 972-925-3720, starting Monday, March 19 through 5 p.m., Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

The campuses will also host community meetings:

Hernandez: 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, at the school, 5555 Maple Ave.

Houston: 6 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, at the school, 2827 Throckmorton St.

Medrano Elementary: 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the school, 2221 Lucas Drive.

Maple Lawn: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the school, 3120 Inwood Road.

 Strong interest in Dallas ISD choice schools

Details on the proposed new schools followed a presentation to trustees on the high interest in Dallas ISD choice schools. More than 13,500 students applied to attend a Dallas ISD choice school—which includes magnets, early college high schools and transformation schools—during the application window that was open Dec. 1–Jan. 31.

Here is a breakdown on how many students applied to the choice schools:

  • 5,235 students applied to early college high schools;
  • 9,535 students applied to magnet schools
  • 2,305 students applied to transformation schools

These presentations were part of a March 8 board workshop on how Dallas ISD can bring more students into the district. Go here to see the details of the board workshop.

Dallas ISD employees’ generosity can fund college dreams for students

The Dallas ISD United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Workplace Campaign kicked off on Feb. 15. The campaign is an opportunity for district employees to donate to scholarships to help deserving Dallas ISD seniors of all races attend college.

Dallas ISD campus employees can donate to the campaign by contacting their campus or department’s UNCF Representative.

This year’s UNCF Workplace Campaign theme is Ready. Set. Give!, and the goal this year is to raise $50,000.

Funds raised by each campus will be used as scholarships for the graduating students of the high school within the feeder.  A running scoreboard on how much each high school feeder has raised is available here.

Go here to learn more about the UNCF Workplace Campaign. April 16 is the deadline to contribute to the campaign.

Dallas ISD initiative aims to engage, encourage, empower students

The African American Success Initiative (AASI) has a student advocacy component that focuses attention on students who have the potential to perform well and make academic and social strides given the right support and nurturing.

The program provides a student advocate coordinator who creates and monitors educational plans, improves educational services, empowers and supports students, and builds a supportive network in the school.  AASI has identified these best strategies and targeted initiatives to increase achievement at 25 campuses this school year:

  • A literacy initiative that includes a structured literacy program, reading intervention and targeted professional development;
  • A mentoring program that provides additional resources and support for students, including mentors, tutoring and peer support networks;
  • Community and business partnerships;
  • Professional development;
  • Debate, chess club and mindfulness yoga.

AASI was originally established in 2006 to adapt the gaps that group had compared to other demographic groups on standardized math tests. After a brief hiatus, the program was re-established in 2015 by Dallas ISD Trustee Dr. Lew Blackburn.

“AASI strives to educate all students for success through customized, innovative programming and curriculum support for students,” said AASI Director Regina Rice. “We’re excited by what’s going with student participants and teachers.”

ASSI has evolved to assist students in reading and math and is overseen by Dallas ISD Chief of Staff Pam Lear as one of Superintendent Michael Hinojosa’s strategic initiatives.

Learn more: www.dallasisd.org/aasi.

Superintendent: Dallas ISD mourns with Broward County community, reviews security procedures here

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has issued a statement about the Feb. 14 shootings at a high school in Florida.

“Amidst heavy hearts today, Dallas ISD joins in mourning with the Broward County community in the wake of Wednesday’s tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The senseless loss of so many lives is a national tragedy that is especially difficult for everyone connected to schools.

“Student safety is Dallas ISD’s top priority. Campuses are trained and equipped to support students by teaching and modeling social and emotional skills. Teachers, students and staff are always encouraged to monitor the school environment and to bring to the attention of administrators and security any potentially troubling behavior.

“In the wake of this horrible event, Dallas ISD is reviewing all safety and security procedures to ensure students, staff and community remain safe. Additionally, counselors stand ready to assist any students experiencing emotional distress.”

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