Articles by

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson lives in a 1950s Midway Hollow bungalow with a husband, a preschooler and a dog. If she didn't live in the Hollow, she would probably live in Eastwood or Lochwood, and would buy a Fay Jones home if she won the lottery.

01/18/17 12:09pm
Photo courtesy Dallas ISD Foster Elementary School will host a open house for parents and community members interested in Spanish language immersion tonight from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD
Foster Elementary School is, preliminarily, an “Excelling” campus under Dallas ISD’s new School Performance Framework announced recently.

Last week, I wrote about the cockamamie A through F rating system. In a throwaway line, I mentioned talking about vouchers. But before I do that, I need to back up and talk about SPF.

No, not the sunscreen (although you should wear some, my doctor says). This is something that I think gives a much better picture of where your neighborhood school is when it comes to progress.

Now, full disclosure, I’ve known about the School Performance Framework for Campus Success for a couple months now. It was embargoed, so I couldn’t write about it. And I did want to wait to see how everything would shake out with the state ratings, too. (more…)

01/12/17 3:29pm
HightlandParkHS

Even Highland Park ISD scored a C in a category in the state’s new A through F ratings system.

It’s been about a week since Texas released its first “what-if” A through F grades for school districts and schools — a measure adopted by the last Texas legislature, ostensibly as a way to tell parents how their district and schools were doing.

And in that time, 219-and-counting school districts have adopted resolutions against it. Why? Largely because even typically high-performing schools are getting Ds and Fs in at least one of the categories that formed the overall grade. For instance, the Highland Park Independent School District, where nearly every kid goes to college and the overall tally of scholarship dollars earned by a graduating class is routinely worked into the commencement speeches, scored a C for postsecondary readiness.

Dallas ISD earned a B in the same category. In addition, the district earned a D in student performance and Bs in student progress and closing the achievement gaps between poor students and their peers. The district earned a B overall. (more…)

12/23/16 7:25am
When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature gavels into session in January, education will be a hot topic. (Photo courtesy Nicolas Henderson/Flickr)

When the Texas legislature reconvenes January 10, it will have a laundry list of things to tackle – some controversial, some mundane (you can keep up to date on the full list of bills filed here). But some of the biggest issues will involve the trajectory of public education in the state.

While we can’t provide an exhaustive list of everything the legislature will address this session (although rest assured – we’ll be keeping you abreast of the most vital pieces of legislation), I thought it would be a good idea to look at three key things legislature will have to address this session.

The biggest, of course, will be school finance. This is the one that not only affects how schools budget for education and innovation, but also how good and great schools stay good and great schools, and schools that need improvement have the tools to improve. And this, of course, directly impacts the bottom lines of Realtors and homebuyers and sellers, since schools are frequently in the top five considerations when it comes to looking for that family abode.

And, of course, school finances are currently tied to property taxes, which makes whatever the legislature does of vital importance to homeowners. And trust me, the legislature will have to do something – the courts have mandated it. It won’t be cheap, and it won’t be easy, but expect much discussion over better funding formulas in the 85th legislative session. (more…)

11/01/16 8:24am
HEB

Are we getting one of these or no? (Photo by Dave Stone/Flickr)

It all started with one neighbor in the Preston Hollow/Midway Hollow area excitedly telling others via social media that a cashier at Central Market told her that 100 percent, no doubt about it, the Sunfresh Market site on Northwest Highway and Midway Road that was one of the sites H-E-B (also the parent company of Central Market) picked up was absolutely going to be an H-E-B and that only one site Uptown would become a Central Market.

Alrighty then. I filed it on my list of things to look into on Monday and continued my weekend chores.

But then another neighbor posted an email she got from H-E-B corporate, asking for an update. The email – which was signed by the H-E-B/Central Market director of public affairs Mabrie Jackson – said, “While no announcement has been formally made regarding all of the real estate H-E-B/Central Market acquired from Sunfresh, I can tell you that you will be very pleased around the end of summer 2017.”

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. This sounds intriguing. So I fired off my own inquiry to Jackson to see if I could confirm this and maybe get a few more details.

“I have no details finalized on all of the Sunfresh properties to share, but I can confirm that the properties purchased were being considered for our Central Market format only,” Jackson said. She also told me to check back after Thanksgiving.

So I guess those tea leaves are a little clearer?  If you combine both emails, the picture that emerges is that something is happening next summer, and that ain’t nobody getting an H-E-B (probably – I mean, that could be a bit of misdirection, I suppose, to keep things vague).  Stay tuned, I guess, for more exciting news after Thanksgiving.

 

10/31/16 9:30am

Lake Highlands WHITEROCKELEMENTARY SITE PLAN After a round of norovirus bludgeoned our house, I am finally able to come back to my original story about White Rock Trail Elementary – or rather, the proposed site for it.

In my previous two stories, I talked to a representative of “We Have a Voice,”  Lake Highlands neighbors who are heading the opposition to the site, and to a representative from Richardson Independent Schools. You can read the first story here. The follow up is here.

Next, I reached out to Nathan Jacks, of “We Need a School,” the Lake Highlands neighbors that are for the proposed site, for his take on the situation.

I emailed Jacks questions, and he responded. In the interest of complete transparency, my questions and his responses verbatim are below.

(more…)

10/14/16 10:42am

Lake Highlands school

Just a few things, after a day and a night of comments have rolled in, and after a few Lake Highlands friends and I talked.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate most of you (save one, but we talked it out) for remaining civil. From what I understand, this issue is contentious and has even resulted in the ending of friendships.
(more…)

10/13/16 12:30pm
The Lake Highlands neighborhood that might be home to the proposed White Rock Trail Elementary is pretty adamant about its opposition, citing a deed restriction at the top of its list of reasons. (Photo courtesy Rahul Yodh)

The Lake Highlands neighborhood that might be home to the proposed White Rock Trail Elementary is pretty adamant about its opposition, citing a deed restriction at the top of its list of reasons. (Photo courtesy Rahul Yodh)

If you build a school, but most of the neighborhood is against it, will they come?

That was the question I was left pondering after conversations on both sides of a debate over whether the proposed site for White Rock Valley Elementary. On one side, you have Richardson ISD, who insists that the site – bordered by Walnut Hill, White Rock Trail and DART tracks is the most viable option. On the other, you have the parents and neighbors who insist the site is dangerous, expensive and potentially unallowable because of a public deed restriction in place since the 1970s.

The opposition has coalesced into a grassroots group – “We Have a Voice.” Rahul Yodh, its spokesman, says that the group realizes that overcrowding at White Rock Elementary means something must be done – but not at this site. (more…)

09/23/16 11:55am
See this kitchen? You can see it up close at our SCHOOL+HOUSE event at 4110 Dunhaven Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

See this kitchen? You can see it up close at our SCHOOL+HOUSE event at 4110 Dunhaven Saturday, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Curious about Dallas ISD schools? On the hunt for a house? How about a neighborhood that is served by three great elementary schools and two feeder patterns?

Hi. I’d like you to meet Midway Hollow.

shmidwayhollow4110dunhavenOur second-ever SCHOOL+HOUSE features a beautiful new build by Grenadier Homes and is located at 4110 Dunhaven. Our co-host is Karen Cuskey Hartman with the Hartman Terilli Realty Group and Coldwell Banker. And here’s another tip – after you leave our event, drive around the neighborhood and see all the gorgeous inventory available. Don’t see something that’s exactly what you want? There are also some lots available from various builders, where you could get the chance for input before the foundation is poured. Builders in the area include Midway Hollow-resident owned Draper Construction, Grenadier, Bella Vita Custom Homes, Classic Urban Homes, and many more. You name the builder, they’re probably turning dirt in Midway Hollow.

And there are also extremely charming 1950s bungalows and ranch homes for the first-time buyer, so don’t think you’re priced out of the neighborhood.

So drop by SCHOOL+HOUSE tomorrow between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. Take a slow meander through the neighborhood on your way out. And, of course, pack your questions – we have all kinds of experts (including Dallas ISD Trustee Edwin Flores, several principals, and a few parents) waiting to answer them.