Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Texas Association of School Boards Summer Leadership Institute

On June 18-20 in Fort Worth, I attended the Texas Association of School Boards Summer Leadership Institute. The Summer Leadership Institute provides an opportunity to meet the annual requirement for Trustee continuing education credits.

More than 800 new and veteran school leaders received in-depth training on every facet of effective board governance, heard keynote addresses from education experts and gathered valuable ideas.

Topics addressed during the two-and-a-half-day institute included college and workforce readiness, religious expression, teacher recruitment and retention, community partnerships, and technology in schools. Breakout sessions also explored social media, the federal stimulus package and school finance, bullying prevention, emergency management, special education law and school design, among others.

I was glad to be able to attend many of the sessions this year and to learn that I am ahead on the required annual credits for Trustees.

Monday, June 29, 2009

The information is correct

Texas Association of School Board manual refers to the September 1 fiscal year used by many school districts, but doesn't refer to the July 1 fiscal year.  

Both dates are correct.  

Was the board given wrong information on the budget?

At the Thursday, June 25, 2009 Board meeting, I asked what was the last date by which the budget must be approved.

CFO Larry Throm responded, "June 30."

I discovered a slight problem with this answer.  

It is not the same date provided in the Texas Association of School Boards' 2009 Training Manual entitled, "The Board's Role In Adopting A Budget."

On page 4, the Texas Association of School Boards' Training manual states:

Board responsibilities in the adoption process

***Compare budget to goals

***Publish a summary of the district's budget on the district's web site

***Conduct a public meeting to discuss the budget and proposed tax rate

***Allow opportunity for any taxpayer to be present and participate in the budget hearing

***Adopt a final budget no later than August 31

The Board was told it must adopt the budget last week.

The Texas School Board Association states the Board has until August 31.

Something is wrong with this picture.  June 30 is not August 31.

Are both dates correct?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Summer Youth Arts Musical at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters

Applause for the Summer Youth Arts Institute Musical held on Friday and Saturday at the Naomi Bruton Main Stage of the Dallas Convention Center Theater Complex.

In partnership with Dallas ISD, The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) presented over 400 students in the production of "Hallelujah Gospel The Musical" to enthusiastic audiences at all three performances.

Youth 10-18 take crash courses in creative writing, music, dance and theatre culminating in a summer enrichment musical theatre production. Student scholarships are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. The activity is supported in part by the Dallas independent School District Summer Enrichment Program.

This is a superb program where students build confidence, discipline and decorum, while discovering their talents and abilities in the performing arts.  

Students received several well deserved standing ovations.

Thanks to Founder and President Curtis King, along with TBAAL administrative, artistic and volunteer production staff.

This was, "The Most Inspiring and Uplifting Youth Musical of the Season."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

New District 6 Schools Approved

On Thursday, June 25, 2009, The Board of Trustees approved the names for the following new facilities to be built in District 6.

Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School to be located at J.J. Lemon and Langdon Rd in the city of Dallas.  The new elementary school will serve students from Dallas and students from the former Wilmer Hutchins ISD.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. Middle School, named for the long-time former Dallas Senior Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist Church, public education advocate, former state legislator and first African American appointed to the University of Texas Board of Regents.  The new middle school will be located in Oak Cliff.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, in honor of the first African American woman elected to the Board, the first African American Board President, and the longest serving former Dallas ISD Trustee in recent history (23 years), will be located at the University of North Texas Dallas campus on Camp Wisdom Road in Oak Cliff.  This will be the permanent location of the current Early College High School housed at Nolan Estes Plaza.  This is an educational partnership with Cedar Valley College of Dallas County Community College District.

The Early College High School recently received the highest state rating "Exemplary" in its first full year of operation.  It will provide an excellent opportunity for students to obtain up to two full years of college credit while still in high school.  The construction is scheduled to be completed in 2011.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trustees Blackburn, Price and Garza undermine Dr. John Hope Franklin Elementary School

At last night's Dallas ISD Board meeting, Trustees Lew Blackburn and Ron Price joined with Jerome Garza and others to undermine the John Hope Franklin Elementary School located in District 6.

Trustees Blackburn and Price reached a new low in treachery and petty poltitics. Because of these Trustees, there was no vote on Dr. John Hope Franklin's name. It was ignored.

Instead, Trustees Blackburn and Garza substituted the name 'Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School' - an entirely new recommendation by Trustee Blackburn that violated Board policy to consider. No problem - just waive the Board policy. The school will be located in Dallas - not Wilmer and not Hutchins.

Because of the personal agendas of these two Trustees, the students of this academic community in District 6 will never know the inspiration of Dr. John Hope Franklin, one of the greatest Americans of the last 100 years.

Voting with Trustees Blackburn and Price were Trustees Jerome Garza, Edwin Flores, Nancy Bingham and Jack Lowe.

What was needed is a new beginning, not a return to the past of pain.

Congratulations Trustees Blackburn and Price.

You succeeded in denying a great American and the greatest African American historian of our time a place in the future of the children of Dallas ISD.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Dr. John Hope Franklin Elementary School pulled for separate vote

As District 6 Trustee, on March 31, 2009, I submitted the recommendation that the new elementary school, to be located at J. J. Lemon and Langdon Road in the city of Dallas, be named for the distinguished historian Dr. John Hope Franklin.  

The site of the school is located in District 6 and will serve some of the elementary students from the former Wilmer Hutchins area, along with some students from the Dallas portion of District 6.

The nomination has been pulled for a separate vote by Trustee Lew Blackburn and Trustee Jerome Garza.  

Dr. John Hope Franklin was one of the most outstanding Americans of the last 100 years.  I am proud to submit his name and support the nomination with great respect and admiration for his life and accomplishments.  

There could be no better role model for children seeking the path to success and educational achievement.


Biography  of John Hope Franklin                                                                                       January 2 1915 - March 25 2009                                                                                                

John Hope Franklin was the James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of History, and for seven years was Professor of Legal History in the Law School at Duke University. He was a native of Oklahoma and a graduate of Fisk University. He received the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Harvard University. He has taught at a number of institutions, including Fisk University, St. Augustine's College, North Carolina Central University, and Howard University. In 1956 he went to Brooklyn College as Chairman of the Department of History; and in 1964, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago, serving as Chairman of the Department of History from 1967 to 1970. At Chicago, he was the John Matthews Manly Distinguished Service Professor from 1969 to 1982, when he became Professor Emeritus.

Professor Franklin's numerous publications include The Emancipation Proclamation, The Militant South, The Free Negro in North Carolina, Reconstruction After the Civil War, and A Southern Odyssey: Travelers in the Ante-bellum North. Perhaps his best known book is From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African-Americans, now in its seventh edition. His Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities for 1976 was published in 1985 and received the Clarence L. Holte Literary Prize for that year. In 1990, a collection of essays covering a teaching and writing career of fifty years, was published under the title, Race and History: Selected Essays, 1938-1988. In 1993, he published The Color Line: Legacy for the Twenty-first Century. Professor Franklin's most recent book, My Life and an Era: The Autobiography of Buck Colbert Franklin, is an autobiography of his father that he edited with his son, John Whittington Franklin. His current research deals with "Dissidents on the Plantation: Runaway Slaves."

Professor Franklin was active in numerous professional and education organizations. For many years he served on the editorial board of the Journal of Negro History. He also served as President of the following organizations: The American Studies Association (1967), the Southern Historical Association (1970), the United Chapters of Phi Beta Kappa (1973-76), the Organization of American Historians (1975), and the American Historical Association (1979). He has been a member of the Board of Trustees of Fisk University, the Chicago Public Library, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.

Professor Franklin served on many national commissions and delegations, including the National Council on the Humanities, from which he resigned in 1979, when the President appointed him to the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. He also served on the President's Advisory Commission on Ambassadorial Appointments. In September and October of 1980, he was a United States delegate to the 21st General Conference of UNESCO. Among many other foreign assignments, Dr. Franklin served as Pitt Professor of American History and Institutions at Cambridge University, Consultant on American Education in the Soviet Union, Fulbright Professor in Australia, and Lecturer in American History in the People's Republic of China.

Professor Franklin was the recipient of many honors. In 1978, Who's Who in America selected Dr. Franklin as one of eight Americans who has made significant contributions to society. In the same year, he was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame. He also received the Jefferson Medal for 1984, awarded by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the Cleanth Brooks Medal of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 1990 received the Encyclopedia Britannica Gold Medal for the Dissemination of Knowledge. In 1993, Dr. Franklin received the Charles Frankel Prize for contributions to the humanities, and in 1994, the Cosmos Club Award and the Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting Corporation. In 1995, he received the first W.E.B. DuBois Award from the Fisk University Alumni Association, the Organization of American Historians' Award for Outstanding Achievement, the Alpha Phi Alpha Award of Merit, the NAACP's Spingarn Medal, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 1996, Professor Franklin was elected to the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Frame and in 1997 he received the Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award. In addition to his many awards, Dr. Franklin has received honorary degrees from more than one hundred colleges and universities.

Professor Franklin has been extensively written about in various articles and books. Most recently he was the subject of the film First Person Singular: John Hope Franklin. Produced by Lives and Legacies Films, the documentary was featured on PBS in June 1997.

Professor Franklin died of congestive heart failure at Duke Hospital on the morning of March 25th, 2009.  He was 94.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Project Manhood -- A Gathering of Young Men

How heartwarming to see the more than one hundred fifty parents, grandparents, siblings and friends rushing to claim tables and chairs in the auditoriium at the Bill J. Priest Institute this Saturday morning.  The occasion -- Spring Graduation for boys enrolled in the Project Manhood Leadership Insititute.   

Today's ceremony and luncheon culminated months of activities for approximaely fifty boys who attend Saturday morning classes at either Cedar Valley or Eastfield Colleges.  Project Manhood President Kevin Mondy and a male staff of  dedicated teachers help young men to focus on scholarship, leadership and integrity, by providing academic enrichment and guidance.

As they recited affirmations for success and stepped up to receive letters of recognition from Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, these 4th - 7th grade boys showed confidence and pride.

Guests also assured them that many caring people want and expect them to make it to manhood -- we believe they can become caring, responsible, productive men.   

Project Manhood will soon begin offering classes at the Bill J. Priest Institute, providing another learning opportunity for young men, as well as complementary support for parents.

Congratulations to the 2009 Spring Project Manhood Graduates.

Let us hear good news as you continue your journey from young boys to men.

Project Still I Rise (Scholarship - Leadership - Integrity) - www.psir.org

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Early College High School achieves "Exemplary" status in first year

At the end of the very first full school year since its creation, students at the Early College High School (with Cedar Valley College) located at Nolan Estes Plaza, were given their report cards and more.

They were given the very good news that the Early College High School has received the highest state rating of "Exemplary" for the 2008-2009 school year.

Teachers, staff, Principal, parents and community celebrated at an all star luncheon. Principal Gail Ferguson-Smith expressed appreciation for the "Star" support given to the Early College High School (ECHS) throughout this very important first year. It was exciting to lead the cheers to thank her for outstanding "Star" leadership and caring.

Congratulations, students, faculty, staff and Principal of the Early College High School at Nolan Estes Plaza (with Cedar Valley College).

You are "Exemplary."

We are very proud to have this great new high achieving academic community in District 6.

Birdie Alexander Elementary achieves "Recognized" status

Birdie Alexander Elementary School, Principal, parents, faculty staff and especially students are overjoyed to have achieved "Recognized" status.

As always, we are all proud of your accomplishment in turning around your status all the way to "Recognized." The teachers and staff gave their best to the students.

Congratulations to the Birdie Alexander Eagles on your achievement.

May you continue to soar!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Kimball Succeeds on TAKS

It was good news to learn recently than Justin F. Kimball High School returned to acceptable status as a result of the recent TAKS results.

Congratulations to the students, Principal, faculty and staff for working hard to overcome many challenges.

Keep up the good work in the future.

Justin F. Kimball - Graduating Knights in Shining Armor

There was much to celebrate at the Justin F. Kimball graduation ceremony at 7:30 P.M. this evening.

According to Principal Stiggers, these Seniors represented a higher than normal graduation rate.

It was my honor to give "The Charge" and to present diplomas to the graduating Seniors - always the highlight of the year for me.

Thanks to Kimball High School teachers, staff and Principal for your many contributions to the graduates.

Thank you parents, family and supporters.

Congratulations 2009 Kimball graduates - you are Knights in shining armor.

Kim Olson Submits Resignation

This morning a letter of resignation was submitted by Kimberly Olson, Chief Human Development Officer.

CEIs reversed

The Board has been notified that the administration's previous decision - without Board approval - not to extend contracts to teachers based solely on the basis of CEI - Classroom Effectiveness Index -scores has been reversed.

Contracts will be extended to those individuals.

The Board was informed that Human Development will convey this decision to teachers who earlier received letters indicating their contract would not be extended due to low CEIs.

More Here - 4-28-09
And Here
And Here
And Here