Trustees and administrators discuss actions to improve experience of Black students

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The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees met with district administrators on June 25th to discuss ways of improving the experience of Black students during an action planning board workshop.

In a special called board meeting earlier this month, the board unanimously approved the “Resolution on the Commitment of Dallas ISD to Black Students and Black Lives.” Trustees agreed to identify high-need issues and reconvene with Superintendent Michael Hinojosa within 30 days to begin to take actions to achieve measurable improvements for Black students in Dallas ISD over the next year.

“Whereas proclaiming that Black lives matter does not negate the commitment of Dallas ISD in its mission of ‘educating all students for success’. Rather, this resolution aligns with the values of being responsive to the needs of our community and ensuring that we elevate conversations to forge racial equity and disrupt systems of inequity,” the resolution states.

During the workshop, trustees and administrators discussed several proposals to further address racial equity in Dallas ISD schools:

Foundations for success

The district is hiring 57 additional mental health professionals to meet the rising demand for mental health treatment in schools.

Administrators are considering measures – such as monthly reviews, campus dashboards, and additional training – to avoid over-representation of Black students identified for emotional disturbance in special education.

The district is considering training for all 22,000 employees on core values in cultural intelligence and unconscious biases.

Teaching and leadership

The Racial Equity Office and Human Capital Management are working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and with educational non-profit organizations to increase the representation of Black male instructors in Dallas ISD classrooms. These departments are also considering an internal teacher residency program for higher-need schools.

Stipends will be offered to principals to support school leader retention in higher priority campuses.

Equitable access

The district continues to fight the underrepresentation of Black students in advanced placement courses.

By creating an Advanced Placement Taskforce, district personnel can encourage more Black students to enroll and complete AP courses and parents to become more involved in the process.

The creation of a specific pre-advanced placement curriculum for English Language Arts, social studies, and science will encourage students to begin pre-AP coursework during middle school.

Additionally, the district is:

  • Implementing programs – led by experienced teachers – where students and new teachers can experience and develop an understanding of advanced placement coursework.
  • Developing community engagement campaigns to recruit students for choice schools in neighborhoods with low enrollment in choice programs.
  • Furthering the effort to ensure equitable technology access, such as providing 1-to-1 devices for students in pre-K to fifth grade, and continuing to provide mobile wireless hotspots and other computing devices.
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