District launches ‘ACE’ plan to improve struggling schools

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The Dallas Independent School District is taking the first step today in launching the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative, which aims to equip campuses where students are struggling academically with strong leaders and teams of highly effective teachers.

Six schools that have previously been designated by the Texas Education Agency as Improvement Required schools have been selected to be part of the ACE program during the 2015-16 school year. The schools are:

  • Annie Webb Blanton Elementary
  • Roger Q. Mills Elementary
  • Elisha M. Pease Elementary
  • Umphrey Lee Elementary
  • Thomas A. Edison Middle Learning Center
  • Sarah Zumwalt Middle School.

All six schools share the same characteristics: The significant need to improve academic performance and the opportunity to accelerate academic growth.

The goal is to improve student performance at these campuses by re-staffing them with teachers who are eligible for Distinguished Teacher Review (DTR) process, part of Dallas ISD’s Teacher Excellence Initiative. Recognizing the challenges that a turnaround environment poses, the district will provide financial incentives for DTR-eligible teachers ranging up to $12,000 annually who volunteer to transfer to an ACE campus.

“Students at our lowest-performing schools, like similar schools nationwide, must have many effective teachers to be successful,” Superintendent Mike Miles said. “The ACE program will help ensure that students who are struggling have more of our most effective teachers supporting them.”

Principals at ACE schools have been selected based on their demonstrated track record for improving student achievement, fostering a positive professional culture, and building strong instructional teams. Each of these principals will have the opportunity to review, observe and interview current staff members on their assigned campuses in order to make a determination as to which staff members will remain on the faculty. ACE Principals will have the opportunity to select DTR-eligible teachers who have chosen to be part of this initiative to comprise the rest of their staff.

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