Study: Dallas ISD high poverty schools are improving

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Dallas ISD has more high performing, high poverty elementary schools than any other urban school district in Texas, according to a new study outlined in a news conference on Thursday.

Additionally, the study from Children at Risk, a Texas-based non-profit, shows that Dallas ISD’s high performing, high poverty schools are improving from year to year.

Dr. Robert Sanborn, president and CEO of Children at Risk, said the improvement of the Dallas ISD high poverty schools is largely due to the initiatives implemented by Superintendent Mike Miles that seek to raise student achievement for all students.

“For us, it’s about the data,” Sanborn said. “And the data shows that things are getting better (in Dallas ISD) for the very students that we need to see significant improvement with.”

Children at Risk identified 24 Dallas ISD elementary schools as Gold Ribbon Schools, which are high performing, high poverty schools. For reference, Children at Risk only ranked one Dallas ISD elementary school as a Gold Ribbon School several years ago.

Of the 24 Dallas ISD Gold Ribbon Elementary Schools, 17 improved at least one letter grade from 2014 to 2015.

“To see these schools here in Dallas ISD with significant portions of economically disadvantaged kids do well is, as a researcher, something we want to see over and over again,” Sanborn said. “We want these types of things to be replicated all throughout Texas. Because unless we do these reforms and these changes, things aren’t going to happen.”

Stacey Hodge, Dallas director of Stand for Children Texas, an education advocacy group, said the results of the Children at Risk study excited her. As a former Dallas ISD teacher, Hodge said she has seen a night and day difference inside district classrooms from just three years ago.

Hodge credited the turnaround at the 24 Gold Ribbon Elementary Schools to high expectations from district leadership and strong leadership teams at the schools. She said she expects more Dallas ISD schools to become Gold Ribbon Schools in the future.

Children at Risk on Monday will release a report ranking the best schools in North Texas. In looking at school data across the state, Sanborn said the districts that are improving are the ones where superintendents have implemented significant initiatives to improve student performance.

“(Albert) Einstein said the definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect different results,” Sanborn said. “We see this over and over again with superintendents across the state of Texas. It’s the superintendents that do something different that will see different results.”

The 24 Dallas ISD Gold Ribbon Elementary Schools are:

  • John J. Pershing Elementary
  • Eladio R. Martinez Learning Center
  • Martha Turner Reilly Elementary
  • George Peabody Elementary
  • Urban Park Elementary
  • F.P. Caillet Elementary
  • Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary
  • Sam Houston Elementary
  • Arcadia Park Elementary
  • John Q. Adams Elementary
  • Jill Stone Elementary at Vickery Meadow
  • Obadiah Knight Elementary
  • John F. Peeler Elementary
  • Herbert Marcus Elementary
  • J.P. Starks Elementary
  • Henry B. Gonzalez Elementary
  • Arturo Salazar Elementary
  • Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary
  • Margaret B. Henderson Elementary
  • Leslie A. Stemmons Elementary
  • Mary Mcleod Bethune Elementary
  • Felix G. Botello Elementary
  • T.G. Terry Elementary
  • Ascher Silberstein Elementary
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