mockingbirdThe M Streets are popular — it’s not unusual to see homes in the area snapped up quicker than they can get listed. And while its proximity to Lower Greenville is part of its selling point, we posit that the other selling point is its neighborhood school — Mockingbird Elementary.

What do parents love about Mockingbird? When we asked, the diversity was mentioned a lot. The school’s commitment to the hearing-impaired community through its partnership with the Dallas Regional School for the Deaf is also often brought up as well. All of that contributes to what many feel to be a terrific campus culture that culminates in the school’s motto, “Friendship.”

And many parents and alumni will also mention the school’s garden, which has morphed from its more humble beginnings in 1996 to a 20,000 square foot outdoor science lab complete with gardens, wildscape, greenhouse, pond, and more.



Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

On Friday, 20 Dallas ISD schools — including Marsalis Elementary — got extremely exciting news: They had been chosen for a $50,000 innovation grant that would allow them to start new programs and utilize new education models.

We first told readers about the  Innovation Engine Grant Program last month, when the district announced it was accepting applications from schools. The grant, which was specifically for neighborhood schools, allowed the Office of Transformation and Innovation to choose 20 schools to receive the seed money for their programs.

Marsalis Elementary, which will explore STEAM instruction programs, also just recently added a debate team for its fifth-graders after becoming one of 16 schools selected to pilot the new elementary debate program. (more…)


Courtesy Dallas ISD

Franklin D. Roosevelt High is about to get a huge update — more than 75 percent of the campus will soon become a construction zone. And when the dust settles, $36 million in improvements will bring in a new library, a restaurant, a fine arts addition, a competition gym, and classroom additions.

In addition, a new main entry and administrative offices, and exterior changes, will give the school a good sprucing up, and the school will also get a new cafeteria. That fine arts addition? It will double as a storm shelter. (more…)

Oak Cliff

Currently in the middle of a complete remodel and upgrade, South Oak Cliff High defied expectations this year and actually increased enrollment (photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

Just a few scant years ago, saying you were buying a house in Oak Cliff would elicit what some called the “Oak Cliff Oh,” as if moving to the area required a thoughtful, tactful response. But times have changed.

And perhaps one of the biggest success stories in Oak Cliff is the public school choices available there. For instance, take South Oak Cliff High. Almost two years ago, the community banded together to demand that the school building reflect the school’s successes. Now, as the students reported in August to temporary quarters at Village Fair School, the 70-year-old building they fought for is now being renovated and improved.

But even more important is its increased popularity. Dallas ISD reported last week that the school’s fall enrollment jumped from 1,096 last school year to 1,322 — a 200-student increase. It’s also significantly higher than the district’s projected enrollment of 963 students. (more…)


Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

Located in the Piedmont Addition, Dallas ISD’s Henry B. Gonzalez Elementary has a lot to celebrate — it just started its first year as a personalized learning academy, and even better, it was given an A grade this year by the Texas Education Agency.

In fact, Gonzalez didn’t just earn an A — it also earned four distinctions. The school was one of 14 elementary schools in the district to earn an A grade. (more…)

HulcyDallas ISD school board trustee Joyce Foreman has a lot to brag about in her district these days, and that includes DA Hulcy STEAM Middle School.

“I certainly think there are some good stories about schools in Southwest Oak Cliff,” Foreman told us. “We recently turned an elementary school into a TAG Magnet, there is a new Two-Way Dual Language School, and we have a STEAM middle school that is doing well.  We also have a number of elementary schools that consistently do well.” (more…)

Chapel Hill

Photo courtesy Teaching Trust

The 2019 school accountability scores were issued by the Texas Education Agency this week (more on that next week), just in time for this week’s School + House, where we head to the one Dallas ISD school in Farmers Branch — Chapel Hill Preparatory. 

Full disclosure — we’re a newly-minted Chapel Hill family. But what excited us about the school — its emphasis on social and emotional learning combined with a new approach to academics — is what also makes it a somewhat hidden gem in the area.

And lo and behold, this year’s scores revealed that not only did the school meet state standards, but it also got four of six possible distinctions.

The school, which was formerly named Cabell Elementary, was renamed in 2018 after the area surrounding it, which is informally called Chapel Hill. 

A quick tour of the school (we’ve had a few by now) shows some of the things that make it stand out — a quiet room for meditation and calming down (complete with a fountain and yoga mats), another room for “heavy work” that can help calm and center stressed students, flexible seating in every classroom (including stationary bike desks in some classrooms), bright and cheerful layouts and design, and plenty of gardens for learning opportunities are just a few of the things you might not expect when someone tells you about a Dallas ISD school.  (more…)

Dallas ISD

422 N Marlborough Ave. Unit A is in the Quintanilla Middle School footprint, and is listed by Kenneth A. Landers III with Rogers Healy and Associates.

We hear a lot about magnet schools in Dallas ISD, but what about the great neighborhood schools? Are they just as innovative?

The answer is likely yes, and if it isn’t a resounding yes, it just might be soon, the district said, thanks to new initiatives aimed at bringing the innovation you see in magnets and other schools of innovation in the district.

Take, for instance, the Innovation Engine Grant Program, which the district says will award up to 20 neighborhood schools each year with $50,000 to explore and implement new education models.

Or there’s also what is already happening in several local middle schools, where two separate initiatives are being heralded as a way to address that often tricky period between elementary school and high school. 

First, this year’s budget includes $10 million in funding from the district in the Achieving in the Middle (AIM) initiative, which will implement proven strategies to improve middle school outcomes — everything from social and emotional learning, extending learning, strategic staffing and more. The district says 23 middle schools will benefit from the program this year.  (more…)