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Successes & Challenges at the Dallas Independent School District

Dustin Marshall Campaign for DISDLots of progress has been made at DISD, and we have a lot to be excited about. DISD is home to two of the top 10 public high schools in the nation, our high-school graduation rate has increased from 62% to 85% during the last six years, and Dallas ISD’s financial health continues to be the strongest it has ever been closing the 2013-14 school year with a record $342 million fund balance.

And yet, we still confront a monumental challenge:

  • Only 55% of our Kindergarten students arrive on Day 1 of school appropriately prepared for school – this limits their subsequent achievement
  • Less than one third of our 3rd graders are reading on grade level. These struggling readers are 4 times less likely to graduate high-school than readers at grade level
  • Only 27% of DISD 4th Graders are meeting post-secondary readiness standards in Math.
  • Less than 15% of graduating Seniors are college-ready and over 70% of graduating Seniors don’t earn a 2- or 4-year degree within six years of completing high-school.

We are operating in an environment with 65% of all jobs in the year 2020 will require training beyond high-school and yet only 34% of Dallas County adults have a 2- or 4- year degree – half of what our county needs for a 2020 job market. We aren’t giving our children a fair shot at success in the modern economy. We need more progress – and fast!

District 2

District 2 represents North and Near East Dallas and is made up of the following schools:

Elementary Schools

Middle School

High Schools

District Map

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Key Points of Our Program

Better students start with better beginnings.

Research is very clear that 85% of brain development occurs in a child before the age of 5 and yet only 5% of education dollars are spent on early education. If students are not reading on grade level by the 3rd grade, they are four times more likely to drop out of school. By investing wisely in early education, we can better prepare our kids for success and save money in the process. Also according to James Heckman in “Schools, Skills, and Synapsis, 2008” there is a 7 to 1 Return on Investment (ROI) in quality early education from future reduced costs and increased productivity.

Every child deserves effective, passionate teachers.

A high-quality teacher is the most important controllable factor in determining the future of the kids we serve. This means Recruiting, Training, Developing, Measuring and Rewarding the best people to teach in our schools. Our educators deserve an accurate, real-time assessment of the quality of instruction they are providing their students and a system of professional support that develops the growth of their instructional knowledge and skills. And finally, the time has come to pay teachers what we all know they are worth. If we truly believe that teaching is the most important profession of our time, then it’s time we start putting our money where our mouth is.

Leadership development is paramount.

One of the keys to the success of a school is its campus leadership team. Good principals foster an environment where good teachers can shine. We need more effective professional development programs for district principals. This means implementing cost-effective programs to develop great principals by using the right partners who are ready and willing to help the district. It means giving principals the freedom to do their jobs without bureaucratic meddling, and holding them accountable for student achievement.

Collaborating with the community to create success stories.

All DISD students deserve respectful learning environments in which their racial and ethnic diversity is valued and contributes to successful academic outcomes. To achieve this end, we need an intense focus on equity, we need to adjust resource allocation to overcome challenges, and we need to confront institutional bias that results in predictably lower academic achievement for students of color. As a district we are only as good as our worst performing school.