Pastors for Texas Children honored First United Methodist Church-Dallas senior minister Andy Stoker with its “Hero For Texas Children” award Thursday. Pictured, from left, Stoker, Dallas Judge Clay Jenkins, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa, and Pastors for Texas Children executive director Charles Foster Johnson. (Photo courtesy Angela Patterson/FUMC-Dallas)

It may have been unusually — for Dallas — chilly Thursday morning, but the warmth inside First United Methodist Church downtown was effusive when an organization of faith leaders held a breakfast gathering to talk about their unified efforts to advocate for public education.

Pastors for Texas Children members were also there to honor the church’s senior minister, Andy Stoker, with their “Hero for Texas Children” award, recognizing him for leading his church in work to provide assistance and care for children in Dallas ISD schools. (more…)

IMG_3389The Bridge Fund has passed, as I noted previously, but what I appreciated in the days leading up to the school board’s vote on it was that it began a serious dialogue about the challenges schools face in providing an education to students of all backgrounds. I think (I hope) that the ensuing and continuing conversations will be about how each school has its own unique set of challenges, and addressing them has to be uniform yet individualized.

But how do you do that?

I got a glimpse into that premise and how Dallas public schools are working toward that a few weeks ago, when I attended a panel discussion on Dallas public schools hosted by the First United Methodist Church in downtown Dallas as part of a series on public education.  It was moderated by former Dallas Morning News scribe (and current Bush Institute editorial director) Bill McKenzie. Two principals and one assistant principal – Dionel Waters of Paul L. Dunbar Learning Center, Richard Castl of Bryan Adams High School and Heather Holland of L.V. Stockard Middle School – spoke about the challenges their schools face, as well as the measures they (under district leadership) are taking to address them. In addition, Leadership ISD executive director Patricia Arvanitis relayed some of the issues her group is looking at in hopes of advocating for the district, as well. (more…)