Education Update

By Gail Chandler, Texas Instruments

On September 24, the members of the North Dallas Chamber’s Education Committee enjoyed a presentation and updates on the Dallas ISD from the district’s Communications Director Jon Dahlander and Trustee Dr. Elizabeth Jones.

Some of the district’s recent accomplishments that we learned about…

  • The district exceeded all four of the new accountability standards set by the state.  Forty-one schools received all three distinction designations and 55 percent of district schools received at least one designation.
  • Dallas ISD students met or exceeded the state growth rate in most categories of the STAAR and EOC exams based on a comparison of 2012 and 2013 results.  And the district narrowed the minority achievement gap.
  • Dallas ISD had the highest number of graduates in the district since 1982.  The number has increased each of the last five years.
  • The percentage of students dropping out of high school has dropped each of the last five years, both overall and in every ethnicity.  The dropout rate is less than half of what it was in 2007.
  • More than 26,000 people volunteered for more than 276,000 hours at Dallas ISD schools and events.  Their volunteer time has an estimated value of more than $6 million.
  • Dallas ISD has more money than ever in its financial reserves (a projected $275 million, up from $37 million only three years ago).
  • Dallas ISD installed a state-of-the-art fiber optic network this past year, providing increased bandwidth and increased wireless access.  This will provide teachers with more capacity for web-based instruction, video and other options for their classrooms.

Following Jon’s presentation, Florencia Velasco Fortner, President & CEO of The Consilio, spoke.  The Concilio works to empower parents to become active participants in their school and community while empowering their children to not only graduate high school but to continue on to higher education.  The Concilio has extended its reach to Irving ISD and Mesquite ISD, and remains a strong presence in Dallas ISD and Plano ISD.

We also had updates on programs and activities from attendees with Reading Partners, UT Dallas, Shelton School, KIPP, UNT System, Allen Education Foundation, and Highland Park ISD.

Please remember that anyone can attend the Education Committee, and we hope more members – both businesspeople and educators – will join us to learn more about this critical issue in our community.  Meetings are usually at 7:30 a.m. on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Chamber offices.  Please email Carol Short on the Chamber staff if you wish to receive emails about upcoming programs.


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