South Oak Cliff High School credits enrollment jump to excellent academics, community support

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On the way to her afternoon class, junior Kendell Cole asks South Oak Cliff High School Principal Willie Johnson what she needs to join the swim team.

Cole transferred from Crandall High School to SOC, and she is interested in bringing her significant swimming skills to the Golden Bears. Cole is one of more than 200 additional new students to start at SOC this year, which has seen its enrollment climb from 1,096 last school year to 1,322 this month. The school, which earned three academic distinctions from the Texas Education Agency, was originally projected to serve 963 students this school year.

After telling Cole about where to get her transcripts and how to meet the swim coach, Johnson reflects on the reasons for the enrollment increase.

“We are resetting the culture of this school, resetting expectations for academic performance, behavior and accomplishment,” Johnson said. “I think our increase in enrollment is a testament to the work we are doing and the belief our community has in our quality of instruction and quality of opportunities we provide. It’s a great time to be at South Oak Cliff High School.”

South Oak Cliff High School students are currently housed at Village Fair while the 70-year-old campus located at 3601 S. Marsalis Ave. is thoroughly renovated with funds from the 2015 bond.

Ensuring racial equity and community involvement

On the first day of school, community leaders packed the SOC hallways to enthusiastically welcome students back.

Johnson, a former SOC teacher and head coach, and community liaison Derrick Battie, a SOC graduate and former state champion, said the involvement from the community and alumni hugely benefit the school. Johnson added the district’s focus on racial equity–making education opportunities equitable for all–is also setting SOC up for success.

After walking the halls and greeting several students, Trustee Maxie Johnson smiles while talking about the progress at SOC.

“The community has looked into what’s going on here at South Oak Cliff High School and they are bringing their kids back from the suburbs,” Johnson said. “They are choosing South Oak Cliff High School because they want their kids to get a top-notch education.”

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