Every morning starts with a high-five or fist bump at César Chávez Learning Center.
On this Friday morning, Principal Dr. Sheryl Wilson is personally greeting students at the door and boosting them up for a day of learning. For Wilson, this small act can play a big role in transforming a school.
“We are here to have a positive learning environment and a positive student culture,” Wilson said. “We want all of our students to know we are excited they are here today.”
Chávez Learning Center is a part of the “ACE Leadership” model aimed at boosting student achievement through a strong focus on developing teacher leadership. The program incentivizes top teacher leaders, principals and campus leaders to study leadership, curriculum alignment, data and other best practices. They then apply these practices to improve teaching and learning on their campuses.
“Positive culture is one of the our key levers for accelerating transformation,” said Jolee Healey, the Dallas ISD assistant superintendent who oversees the ACE program. “The Chávez team does this well with morning greetings at the front door and at every classroom door to set the tone for a joyful learning environment with high expectations.”
In addition to becoming an ACE Leadership campus, Chávez Learning Center this school year also serves students who previously attended J.W. Ray Learning Center and J.F.K. Learning Center, both of which closed. Wilson, who last served as principal at Ray Learning Center, said the consolidation has gone extremely well.
“We have come together as three amazing schools with incredible teachers into one family to benefit students,” Wilson said. “We are putting routines and systems in place so students know our expectations and will meet those expectations 100 percent of the time.”