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.

Military veteran finds calling as a teacher at McShan Elementary (video)

Walk into Mr. Garcia’s classroom at Lee A. McShan Jr. Elementary School and you will immediately notice the pool table near the center of the room.

Your eyes will then probably spot Mr. Garcia’s Army uniforms hanging near the United States flags and the headphones that help students engage in learning.

It quickly becomes clear that Mr. Garcia has put plenty of thought into his classroom.

“I designed my classroom the way I did because I feel like it will help my students be more engaged,” Garcia said

As an ex-soldier, Garcia knew it was important to find a career that gave him value. After 11 years of teaching at McShan Elmeentary, he said he still looks forward to coming to school.

Rotary Club wants to honor teachers who go the extra mile

The Rotary Club of Dallas invites nominations from all district schools for its annual Service Above Self Teacher Awards. To call attention to the importance of service contributed by teachers, the organization will award up to $10,000 in cash awards and gifts to the selected teachers.

The award is designed to recognize teachers who:

  • perform over and above their job descriptions in ways that benefit the community, at-risk and disadvantaged students;
  • demonstrate selfless conduct for the benefit of others;
  • plan classroom instruction that reflects innovation and creativity;

The deadline to apply is Mon., April 16, 2018. Honorees will be notified Mon., May 21, and honored at a special awards luncheon Wed., August 8, 2018.

Teachers may self-nominate or be nominated by colleagues or others who feel the nominee deserves special recognition for service above self.

For more information on the requirements for the award, download an informational flyer here. To nominate a deserving teacher, visit http://www.dallasrotary.org/teacher-awards.

Wilmer-Hutchins High School teacher gets Hall of Fame honor

A career educator from Wilmer-Hutchins High School has been inducted into the National Association of Negro Musicians’ Dallas Chapter Hall of Fame.

Dr. Beverly Chinn has spent most of her career as a secondary choral educator at Title I schools, most recently at Wilmer-Hutchins. As the product of a family of musicians, Chinn’s love of music inspired her to start teaching to pass along her love of music to the next generation.

“When I started my career in education, I discovered that I am passionate about teaching and learning,” Chinn said. “I love planning for classes, identifying the needs of students and delivering what will move the students from one level to the next.”

Chinn said she was surprised and humbled to be inducted into the National Association of Negro Musicians’ Dallas Chapter Hall of Fame.

“I am extremely honored and thrilled that someone looked at my career as a music educator and thought I was worthy of this award,” she said.

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.

Maple Lawn Elementary staff give back to the community

The staff at Maple Lawn Elementary School is dedicated to giving back to the community it serves.

Members of the school’s staff have been volunteering at the Salvation Army to serve meals to those in need. Maple Lawn Elementary team members originally volunteered in December as part of “Wellness Wednesday,” singing Christmas carols along with serving meals. They had such an amazing time that they returned in February as part of “Kindness Month.”

“It truly makes the heart warm to give back and the people are always so gracious, appreciative and thankful,” said Stacy Owens, counselor at Maple Lawn Elementary.

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.”

UNCF campaign kickoff set for Feb. 15; Campuses and departments urged to send representatives

The UNCF/Dallas ISD Kick-off Rally will be held at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, February, 15, 2018, at the Center for Community Cooperation – Oak Corner Building, 2900 Live Oak St., Dallas.  All schools and departments are urged to send a representative to the rally to receive campaign information.  Representatives should register via Schoolnet at http://disd.schoolnet.com for Activity #100010358 by Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018.

Each year, Dallas ISD supports the United Negro College Fund through a workplace campaign to raise funds for scholarships for deserving college-bound students. Annually, UNCF, the nation’s largest and most effective minority education organization, provides scholarships to 60,000 students to help them pursue higher education and become productive citizens for our nation.

Funds raised through our UNCF workplace campaign will be awarded as scholarships to Dallas ISD seniors of all races who plan to attend a historically black college or university (HBCU) or any other four-year accredited U.S. college or university in fall 2018.

The workplace campaign runs from Feb. 16 to April 16, 2018, and students, staff, and community members are welcome to donate. Contact Keitha Shelby at 972-925-8929 or emailkshaw@dallasisd.org with questions.