Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Dallas ISD minimum grading policy violates 2009 state law

The new 2009 state law ending school district minimum grades was recently upheld by a Texas court.

A number of Texas school Districts had filed a lawsuit seeking to continue policies requiring minimum grades.

In Dallas ISD the minimum grade is currently set at 50.  Board policy EIA (Local) states:
"For purposes of averaging across six-week periods or semester, a numerical grade of 50 is the lowest grade that will be recorded and used as a six-week grade."
The Dallas policy appears to be in clear violation of the state law passed in 2009 by unanimous votes of the Texas House and the Texas Senate.  The Texas state legislature clearly intended to end the practice of requiring minimum grades in Texas school districts.

Texas Judge Upholds State Law Ending Minimum Grade Requirements
Minimum grade ban applies to report cards
Edumication News - Unfair Park
Texas court rejects suit by coalition of school districts
Teachers believe students must earn their grades
School districts wrong to fight truth-in-grading law

I did not support the minimum 50 grade policy when it was passed by the Dallas ISD board because it appeared to undermine the ability of teachers to honestly assess student performance.

Board Policy EIA (Local) first added the minimum 50 grade requirement on Thursday, January 31, 2008.  I made a motion to return the new grade requirement to the policy committee for further review, study and revision.  The motion died for lack of a second.

The final vote to adopt the minimum 50 grade policy was 8 Yes -1 No.  My vote was No.

It is time for our policy to follow the state law and remove all minimum grade requirements.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Talented Dallas ISD students outstanding in Michael the Musical

This past week-end, fans around the world remembered the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson.  Three of the most moving and magical tributes were presented  Friday evening and Saturday afternoon at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) when nearly six hundred Dallas ISD students performed in Michael the Musical.

Created, produced and directed by Curtis King, this production marked the end of the 2010 Summer Youth Arts Institute Cultural Enrichment Program.  For the past three weeks, an artistic staff, along with a group of dedicated volunteers nurtured and taught hundreds of students, ages 10-18.  The Youth Institute has thrived for twenty-six years and is implemented by TBAAL in partnership with Dallas ISD.

Every year students come with all levels of talents, skills and abilities.  TBAAL founder/director King and staff obviously see potential in each student, and along with them quickly determine the appropriate niche in which students will thrive.  From technical to creative development,  students are guided with professionalism and patience.  In addition, this experienced staff provides plenty of the key ingredients that make this summer program successful  -- patience, care and love.

Michael the Musial was "an exciting, moving, educational and inspiring musical revue."   The audience took a fast-paced voyage in music, song and dance of  Michael Jackson hits, culminating with "We Are the World." and "Gone Too Soon."

Polished, professional and confident, students showed skills they developed to help them perform on stage and behind the scenes, including listening, discipline, collaboration and teamwork.

Thanks to dozens of  parents and community volunteers who helped during the Youth Institute and with the production.

Much appreciation to Curtis King for giving your genius in support of students and education and to the TBAAL artistic staff for your excellent work with our students.

Congratulations to all 2010 Summer Youth Arts Institute participants!

Michael the Musical was a Thriller!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Congratulations, 2010 Kimball High School Graduates

On Saturday, one of the largest classes in recent years was graduated from Justin F. Kimball High School.  Laughter and hugs among the 247 seniors spoke loudly about how glad they were to be in that number.

Throughout the year they worked long, giving extra effort to ensure a place for themselves in the commencement processional. The early morning fanfare at Ellis Davis Field House made it official -- Senior Kimball Knights, you made it!

As expected, parents, families and guests were spontaneous with their cheers and joyful tears.  This was a Super Saturday-- an indescribable time when their eighteen year hopes and dreams for these seniors actually came true. Hurray for Kimball High School parents, families and friends.  Your support then and now makes a big difference for the seniors and all Kimball Knights.  You are appreciated.

Valedictorian Taylor McKinney and Salutatorian Armando Estrada enjoyed addressing classmates, who proudly applauded their academic leadership and rallied behind Taylor's reminder, "We are the seniors others want to be."

The ceremony delighted the audience with music and a selection by the Kimball Concert Band, directed by Abe Williams and the Kimball Choir, directed by Bruce Limuel.

Senior class vice president Brenda Crespo introduced me to present the Charge to the Class.

Much gratitude to the dedicated Kimball teachers and staff for all the ways this year you helped students to (as stated in lyrics of the school song) "...stand the test..." and " the Best."

Thanks to former Principal Danny Stigers for his service and contribution to Kimball High School.

Our appreciation to Principal Earl Jones for your leadership and a successful year.

Congratulations, Kimball High School Class of 2010.   "Keep on Pushing. You Can't Stop Now."

Dallas South News

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Congratulations, Carter High School Class of 2010

"Hail Carter High, cheer for the red and blue" was exactly what hundreds of families and friends did last night in the Ellis Davis Field House.  Spirits were high as we witnessed the forty-third annual commencement exercises for 215 David W. Carter High School graduates.  Yes, they did it!

Senior class members enjoyed the "pomp and circumstance" of the evening while their decorum and manner showed respect and pride.  These Carter Cowboy seniors are impressive.

In their addresses, Valedictorian Lorena Watson and Salutatorian Dora Gbenjen revealed the close bonds and friendships that exist among Carter seniors.  Throughout the year they have been united in their efforts to show how proud they are of Carter High School and how much they appreciate the teachers and staff who care so much about them.  

Music and vocals from the Carter Band, directed by Christopher Young and Carter Choir, directed by Demetrius Ethley both calmed and moved the audience.

Thanks to senior class president (also Miss Senior) LaShaneika Ephraim, vice president Alexandria Morris and all class officers for your leadership throughout the year.

Speaking with our graduates and sharing their graduation ceremony with parents is one of my favorite parts of being a Dallas ISD trustee.  There was much to smile and cheer at this commencement program.

The Carter Motto is --  'Honor We Uphold; Success Is Our Goal.'

It is with great pleasure that I join parents and community in thanking the teachers, staff and administration, led by principal Gail David Dupree for reaching your goal in helping to produce an outstanding senior class and another successful year for all Carter students.

Congratulations Carter High School Seniors!  Remember, You've got to "Keep on Pushing."