career

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

Special Contributor

Four new career institutes in Dallas ISD will provide students with workforce-ready skills that high-wage employers need now and in the future.

Dallas ISD Chief Academic Officer Ivonne Durant and Assistant Superintendent Oswaldo Alvarenga briefed trustees on Sept. 12 about the updated plan to open four career institutes in the four quadrants of the district.

“We understand that while some students will enter college directly after high school graduation, other students will need to join the workforce immediately, and still others may need to work while they attend college or pursue postsecondary education,” Alvarenga said. “This is a career and tech education program that will guide students from concept to hands-on training with instruction by experienced tradesmen with firsthand experience and the contacts to connect students to internships, apprenticeships, and jobs in their industry. (more…)

Blue Ribbon

Photos courtesy Dallas ISD

Submitted story

Three Dallas ISD schools have earned the 2019 National Blue Ribbon School award, one of the highest honors for a campus.

Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet School, Walnut Hill Elementary School, and Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School are Blue Ribbon Schools.

The U.S. Department of Education awards the Blue Ribbon recognition to schools where students perform at very high levels or where exemplary progress is being made toward closing achievement gaps.

Lowe Elementary Principal Sandra Barrios held back tears as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced in a video the school earned Blue Ribbon honors. Lowe Elementary School was an Improvement Required campus just five years ago. The neighborhood elementary school serves a diverse student population, with many students coming as refugees or unable to speak English. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

Submitted story

Amber Shields has a unique perspective as principal of N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center: it’s where she attended elementary school.

“Harllee is like home to me, and it’s a privilege to lead such a tremendous school,” Shields said.

Shields, who previously served as an assistant principal at Soto Elementary, is one the district’s 20 principals starting their first year leading a campus. Of those 20 first-year principals, 19 are homegrown candidates such as Shields who previously worked in Dallas ISD schools. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

The good news? Dallas ISD maintained its B grade from the Texas Education Agency this year, in fact, it went up from an 81 to an 86. In fact, of 232 Dallas ISD schools, 28 got an A and 102 earned a B, making it 57 percent of Dallas ISD schools making an A or B this year.

The bad news? Last year the district had four schools that didn’t meet state standards. This year, the number is eight. But even that is couched in some good news/bad news. Only one school is a repeat from last year, meaning three of last year’s schools met state standard this year. But yes, it’s bittersweet when seven new schools join the list.

So Who Got an A?

Lots of expected schools, of course, but also some incredibly bright stories from places like Edward Titche Elementary and Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary, all schools that not that long ago didn’t meet state standards.  (more…)

Dallas ISD

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

From staff reports

If you still haven’t nailed down pre-K yet, and you have a three or four-year-old, Dallas ISD has news: There’s a good chance you can find a spot anywhere in the city, no matter what your income is.

Just before the July break, the district’s board of trustees approved a program that would extend the pre-K program to include more children by raising family income limits and offering scholarships. 

The district’s Racial Equity Office and the Early Learning department said the new policy would help address structural racial inequities and bring the successful early-learning program to more families.

Currently, the state has six eligibility requirements for families to qualify for free pre-K centered around circumstances like special needs, income, and language. The new Dallas ISD policy gives three new potential qualifiers. (more…)

Champions School of Real Estate team members from the Austin and Online campuses posed for a snap ahead of the Grand Opening Event on April 5.

Staff Reports

The new Austin Champions School of Real Estate campus was bursting with activity on Friday, April 5, when more than 300 guests joined the Austin and online teams in celebrating the grand opening of the new Austin campus.

Bright blooms and a beautiful balloon arch welcomed guests, who walked in to tour the new campus, enjoy delicious treats and live music, and network with both Champions School of Real Estate teams and fellow real estate professionals. Many guests queued in line for the opportunity to have a meet and greet with Champions School of Real Estate founder Rita Santamaria, who signed autographs in the promotion of the national release of her new book series, Successful Tendencies of Real Estate Champions.

For more photos from the Champions School of Real Estate Austin Campus grand opening, jump:

(more…)

charterA month after a proposed policy to partner with nonprofits to run certain Dallas ISD schools was taken off the agenda for the Dallas ISD board of trustees regular meeting in January, the matter will once again be brought before the board at its briefing Thursday.

Board briefings are held once a month, prior to the regular board meeting, and are an opportunity for the board to discuss and get up to speed on items that will likely appear on the regular board meeting agenda. It’s also the time they are briefed on district progress. Dallas ISD holds their board briefings at 11:30 a.m. on Thursdays.

Although there had been several posts on Facebook and other social media sites insisting a special called meeting would be held at 9 a.m. Thursday to vote on the policy, ostensibly to hamper public comment, a call to Dallas ISD news and information director Robyn Harris revealed that the only meeting scheduled for that day was the board briefing, and that the policy was on the agenda for discussion.

An email to board president Edwin Flores to ascertain if a 9 a.m. meeting would be called went unanswered, but the likelihood of an early meeting to vote on something that is on the agenda to discuss at the board briefing (as well as on the agenda at the regular board meeting on Feb. 28) is doubtful.

At last month’s board meeting, the agenda originally indicated that trustees would discuss a policy that would set up the framework for the district to take advantage of a state law — SB 1882 —  that was passed in the last legislative session. That policy would permit the district to partner with specific nonprofits to run certain schools.

The law incentivized partnerships between school districts and charter schools by offering about $1,800 per student in additional funding for campuses that are in a partnership. It also was a third option for improvement required schools that were facing closure, and provided a bit of reprieve from that. (more…)

After a meeting to discuss the fate of the Dallas ISD District 4 seat that had been held by Jaime Resendez was canceled last week, the rest of the board was able to hammer out the details on what steps would be taken to appoint someone to the seat.

The board first voted to accept Resendez’s resignation. The trustee came under fire after it was discovered last month that he was living outside District 4 by a few blocks.

Resendez had already announced that he did not intend to run for re-election, opting to instead run to replace Dallas city council member Rickey Don Callahan, who had announced he would not be running for another term.

However, as of today, Resendez has not filed to run for that seat either — Yolanda Williams is the sole filer. Resendez has until Feb. 15 to file.

Once the matter of his resignation was handled, the board then turned to crafting a timeline and requirements for gathering applicants to fill the unexpired term — which amounts to three or four months.

The meeting was not without some fireworks, however. Trustee Joyce Foreman, angered that she only just received a timeline when the previous (and canceled) meeting had no mention of a timeline, grilled board attorney Carlos Lopez. (more…)