A recruitment fair Wednesday evening marked a significant step towards staffing the six schools identified in the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) plan with highly effective teachers.
The fair connected approximately 180 high-performing district teachers with principals at the six ACE schools. The ACE plan, which the district launched last week, aims to equip campuses where students are struggling academically with strong leaders and teams of highly effective teachers.
“The recruitment fair was an opportunity to honor our DTR-eligible teachers for their work in the classroom and also to encourage them to consider taking their talent to an ACE campus in 2015-16,” said Ashley Bryan, a Dallas ISD director who helped put on the event. “The energy at the event was high. Teachers seemed eager to serve alongside their high-performing colleagues to transform the teaching and learning experience for our students.”
Noting his excitement to be in a room with so many effective teachers, Superintendent Mike Miles briefed the teachers at the recruitment fair on the ACE plan. During his presentation, Miles stressed the importance of placing effective teachers and leadership teams in the classrooms and schools where they are most needed.
“We know the challenges of these struggling schools,” he said. “The question is can we do anything about it? The answer is yes we can, and we will.”
Miles said that research proves that creating high expectations, having an effective leadership team, and placing an effective teacher in every classroom are the keys to turning around any school. The ACE plan incentivizes teachers who are eligible for the Distinguished Teacher Review (DTR) process, which is part of Dallas ISD’s Teacher Excellence Initiative, with a stipend of up to $12,000 to voluntarily transfer and teach at one of the six ACE schools.
Wednesday’s recruitment fair was open to those DTR-eligible teachers considering voluntarily transferring to teach at an ACE school. While he said it wouldn’t be easy, Miles told the teachers that working at an ACE school would prove a worthwhile challenge.
“These kids are going to do better because of your efforts,” he said. “Yes, these are some of our most struggling schools, but we are raising the bar for all of us. You are here because you want that challenge. You are here because you care about kids and want all kids, regardless of where they live and what their zip code is, to have the best education possible.”
Following Miles’ presentation, the six ACE principals gave impassioned speeches on why teachers should join their campuses. The principals then met with the DTR-eligible teachers and made formal job offers to 70 of those teachers.
Multiple DTR-eligible teachers at the recruitment fair said that while the additional stipend was appealing, the primary reason they were considering becoming an ACE teacher was the opportunity to help turn around a struggling school.
“It seems like it would be a worthwhile challenge,” said Hasani Wilburn, a third-grade math teacher. “The work won’t be easy, but it will be needed to get the students to where they need to go.”
The six ACE schools, which have previously been designated by the Texas Education Agency as Improvement Required 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.
More information about the ACE plan can be found here.