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…)

RogersDallas ISD’s Dan D. Rogers Elementary is a quiet powerhouse of a school that, helmed by 2016 Principal of the Year Lisa Lovato, uses personalized learning to help students learn at their own pace, and in ways that interest them the most.

If you’ve never heard of personalized learning, one of the simplest ways I’ve ever heard it explained was that it was what would happen if Montessori and a STEM school had a really smart baby.

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

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alexanderThis adorable Midcentury Ranch in Wolf Creek is so special it already had a contingent offer after four days on the market. Zoned for this week’s Dallas ISD best school, Birdie Alexander Elementary, it’s a great example (the second for today) of what you can get for the $100,000 range in Dallas.

Photo courtesy Dallas ISD

This home is in the attendance zone for Birdie Alexander, who was recently featured as one of Dallas ISD’s best schools. The school, which received a B grade from the state’s A-F accountability scoring, will become a neighborhood innovation campus next year with a personalized learning focus. (more…)

Dallas ISD

Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde and ACE executive director Jolee Healey update the board of trustees Thursday night.

It was a busy and productive monthly meeting of the Dallas ISD board of trustees Thursday evening, with much of the night centered on the creation of two new choice schools and an update on the Accelerating Campus Excellence program.

The district’s ACE program has been partly responsible for the turnaround of several Improvement Required and/or at-risk campuses. Its results have been so impressive that other districts are beginning to adopt the strategy as well.

“The ACE model is being replicated in districts around the Dallas area, including Plano and Richardson,” Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde told trustees.

“We’ve gone from 43 Improvement Required schools to 13,” she added, saying that much of that can be attributed to Dallas ISD‘s ACE program and to the district’s Intensive Support Network. (more…)

The North Cliff Preservation District that feeds Salazar Elementary is the beneficiary of a district-rated “Excelling” school with promising accountability scores. (Photo courtesy Dallas ISD)

We all know the market is tight in Dallas. But when you’re looking for a home as a family, there’s another thing to factor in besides price and square footage: the schools.

Last year, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate asked me to take a look at the neighborhoods around some schools that might be more unfamiliar to buyers who traditionally look around the Lakewood, Rosemont, Stonewall Jackson, and Withers elementary schools. The neighborhoods I showcased were in attendance zones for some of Dallas ISD’s great schools — albeit schools that sometimes get less attention than their more well-known counterparts.

This week, I’m going to repeat the feat, and show you some examples of homes you and your family can plant roots in — and attend a great school to boot.

All of the schools we’ll look at are rated “Excelling” in the district’s School Performance Framework, and many of them offer the things parents get excited about — two-way dual language Spanish immersion, International Baccalaureate, personalized learning, and the like. (more…)