Telling trustees that the district “must do something differently” to close the student achievement gap, Dallas ISD superintendent Michael Hinojosa recently recommended that the district sunset the Imagine 2020 program and replace it with an alternate effort to bolster achievement in struggling schools.
The Imagine 2020 program was launched in 2013 at 33 schools and offered in-school tutoring, extended school hours and extra staff, including urban specialists, social workers and psychologists.
At the trustees’ March board briefing, the superintendent presented data showing the program had not performed nearly as well as the more recently created Accelerating Campus Excellence, or ACE program. Like Imagine 2020, ACE was created to provide support to low-performing schools.
Hinojosa recommended the district replace Imagine 2020 with a more targeted effort called the Intensive Support Network, which will focus on 17 IR or Improvement Required schools that have not met minimum state achievement standards for two or more years. Selection of the schools for the new program will be based chiefly on student achievement data. The superintendent said plans call for a much more well-defined structure of supervision and that additional support staff will be assigned clearly defined roles and responsibilities. It’s estimated the revamped program will cost $2.2 million and impact almost 11,000 students.
In announcing plans to re-focus the district’s school improvement efforts, Hinojosa acknowledged the many businesses and agencies that have provided resources and assistance for the Imagine 2020 Schools. As he thanked the supporters for their assistance, he stressed that the students still need help and invited the organizations to retain their existing partnerships or become involved with other schools.
Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde said the Intensive Support Network is “not about stopping support for schools that need intensive support.” She said it is an effort to more clearly identify campuses that need support, better define staff roles and increase progress monitoring to ensure improvement. The assistant superintendent who will take on responsibility for the network is former district principal Leslie Williams who served in a similar role during Hinojosa’s previous tenure.
At the secondary level, the schools recommended for the Intensive Support Network are: South Oak Cliff High School, and Boude Storey, T.W. Browne, E.H. Cary and O.W. Holmes middle schools. At the elementary level, the schools are: John Neely Bryan, R.C. Burleson, C.F. Carr, George W. Carver, Nancy Cochran, Robert McNair, Maria Moreno, J.W. Ray, O.M. Roberts, Edward Titche, Mark Twain and Wilmer-Hutchins.