Dallas ISDPublic Schools
District Name: Dallas Independent School District
District Size & Class Size: Approximately 160,000 students at more than 220 schools. We try to maintain a teacher-student ratio of 1:12 (pre-K); 1:23 (K-4); 1:27 (5); 1:24 (6-8); 25-28:1 (high school).
Grade Level Alignment: Elementary (pre-K-5); middle school (6-8); high school (9-12)
Distinguishing Characteristics: Dallas ISD is the 14th largest school district in the country and home to two of the top schools in the nation: the School for the Talented and Gifted and the School of Science and Engineering, both located at the renowned Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. The district is also home to four 2014 National Blue Ribbon Schools, one of the more prestigious national honors bestowed on schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
Dallas ISD is undergoing significant transformation guided by the tenets of Destination 2020, the district’s improvement plan to become the premier urban school district in the country. Under Destination 2020, the district seeks to invest in people, focus on the classroom, strengthen our systems, and engage the community as we work together to ensure that 90 percent of our graduates are college and career ready by 2020.
We are beginning to reap the benefits of our efforts, as the district again met all four of the state’s accountability standards and outperformed thresholds set by the state, with 15 schools earning the maximum number of distinctions. The percentage of students graduating in four years has risen to a record high of 84.8 percent, and our dropout rate declined for the sixth consecutive year.
We are committed to providing state-of-the-art facilities for our students to enhance the learning environment and prepare students to compete in a global society. The district recently built 14 new schools under a $1.35 billion bond program. In addition, four schools were repurposed, 13 schools received additions, and more than 200 schools were renovated.
Specializations and Program Offerings: Dallas ISD’s magnet schools are recognized nationally and consistently rank in the top 10 schools according to Newsweek, The Washington Post, and others. We offer 34 magnet programs that focus on a number of areas, including STEM, the arts, health, law, education, and communications, to name a few. We have the first all-girls school in the state and one of the first all-male schools in Texas.
The district has been recognized by the O’Donnell Foundation and Texas Instruments for meeting Advanced Placement goals set by the National Math and Science Initiative in AP English, math, and science. Our minority students lead the nation in the number of passing scores on AP exams.
Dallas ISD’s Board of Trustees recently approved the new Principal Evaluation Plan and the Teacher Excellence Initiative, both of which are considered innovative reform practices designed to improve classroom instruction. For the first time, compensation is tied to educators’ overall effectiveness. The district’s Fellows Academy was recently created to identify and develop potential school principals and to eventually guide teachers and students.
Extracurricular: Students can choose from an extensive offering of traditional and nontraditional extracurricular activities, including football, basketball, golf, soccer, rowing, lacrosse, and many others. Dallas ISD’s fine arts program offers a multitude of programs, including theater, orchestra, choir, band, visual arts, dance, and others. Students participate in various UIL competitions. Our district is home to the 2014 Destination Imagination Global Winners and home to one of the top middle school honor bands in the state. Students can participate in a number of clubs and organizations, including student council, teen board, debate, robotics, STEM, foreign language clubs, National Honor Society, Academic Decathlon, and many others.
Safety and Security: When it comes to keeping students safe and healthy, the Dallas ISD proactively seeks ways to secure the well-being of our students. The recent expenditure of $4.5 million in bond funds upgraded security at all district schools. Peepholes in all campus portables, additional security cameras at secondary campuses, electronic door-strike buzzers, eight-camera digital recorder systems, and card-reader systems are among the improvements.
Our Police and Security Services Department assigns members of its 135 sworn officers to all secondary campuses and can dispatch officers to immediately respond to emergencies at elementary schools. Working closely with school administrators, the Dallas Police Department, and the district attorney, officers constantly monitor schools. Its Emergency Operations team guides principals in the development of campus emergency operations plans that detail how schools will respond to emergency situations. Schools are required to conduct regular practice drills to ensure that students and staff are ready to take appropriate action in the event of bad weather, fire, or threats of violence.
M&O/I&S Tax Rates and Last Bond Passage: $1.04 (M&O); $0.24 (I&S); $1.35 billion bond program, 2008
Average Home Value in District: $183,249
Selling Points: Dallas ISD has some of the finest schools in the country and, because of its size, school offerings to match virtually any interest. The number of students taking and scoring a 3 or better on AP exams has grown for each of the last 13 years, meaning more students than ever are pushing themselves to take more difficult courses to prepare for college. In addition, Dallas ISD also offers dual-language immersion programs in several elementary schools to allow students to become proficient in two languages.
Philosophy: Dallas ISD is guided by three core beliefs. Our main purpose is to promote student success through a high-quality education. We believe every student can achieve, and to accomplish this, we must hold students and ourselves to high expectations. We believe only the courageous pursuit of excellence will lead to success.