Friday, January 29, 2010

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas offers scholarships

  • The Ronald McDonald House Charities scholarship program deadline is February 16, 2010. 
  • The local scholarships are offered through Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater North Texas. 
  • RMHC of Greater North Texas offers four different scholarship programs. Here is a link for the scholarship applications:

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Seventh Annual High School Chess Championship

The Seventh Annual High School Chess Championship, sponsored by The University of Texas at Dallas, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 at David W. Carter High School.

The winner receives a four-year Academic Distinction Scholarship to The University of Texas at Dallas.

Which Colleges Actually Graduate Their Students?

6/3/2009 - USA Today
More than 1.2 million freshman entered college in fall 2001, but fewer than 60% graduated from a four-year college within six years, says Diplomas and Dropouts: Which Colleges Actually Graduate Their Students (and Which Don't). The report, based on data reported by schools to the education department, cautions against comparing schools with different missions, but encourages families and guidance counselors to consider an institution's six-year graduation rate as they make decisions about where to apply and enroll.
Click on the headings to sort data by state, school, graduation rate or cost.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Carter High School band recognized by Dallas City Council

David W. Carter High School Marching Band was honored today by the Dallas City Council.

In a special ceremony, Councilmember Vonciel Jones Hill recognized the Carter High School Marching Band for national participation in the recent New York City Veterans Day Parade.   Carter is located in City Council District 5 served by Councilmember Hill.

Carter band members, majorettes and flag squad raised funds for the three day stay in New York City.

Wearing their trademark Columbia Blue and Red, the Carter Cowboys stepped so high they were invited to return next year.

Congratulations to our Dallas ISD District 6 Carter Cowboys.

Principal - Gail David Dupree
Counselor/Majorette and Flag Sponsor - Vicki Dawson.

Thanks and Goodbye to the African American Read-In and friends of my soul

My thanks to the Dallas African American Read-In (AARI) for allowing me the privilege of serving you for the last ten years.

Suddenly last summer, my time with the Read-In was ended. The Read-In was removed from my supervision.  I do not really know why.  Months later I was invited by the new head of the Read-In to lead a committee for the event I had successfully started and directed for ten years previously. I appreciated the invitation but I respectfully declined the reduced role.

I do not expect to be in attendance this year. My great hope is that the African American Read-In will go on to greater success with staff, resources and support.

Over ten years ago my dream was to implement a major Read-In or literacy event on behalf of Dallas County Community College District.  It was not easy to hold on to the dream.

At the national level the African American Read-in Chain was established by Dr. Jerri Cobb Scott and the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English.  Thank you Jerri for your support over the years.

In the beginning, the city-wide Dallas African American Read-In was nothing more that a dream. There was no staff, no budget -no path to follow - just a dream. I believed it was possible and started working to make it a successful reality.  I worked for years to make it come true.

Early on, I was encouraged by the first link in the developing Dallas Read-in Chain -- book publisher (Holt, Rinehart, Winston, now) Holt McDougal.  Later joined by Random House and Scholastic, that first year they helped us provide books for all to read or learn to read. Quickly realizing that giving books was important  to me, Holt became a ten-year literacy friend and partner.  Thank you Holt McDougal.
Since there were no funds from DCCCD, the African American Read-In had to begin with other outside funding. I had to raise money and find resources.

I will always be thankful to (GTE, now) Verizon Communications - our first major Read-In sponsor. With the help of Sherrye, a co-worker at DCCCD in the Foundation office, we made a presentation to (GTE, now) Verizon Communications. They became the title sponsor and remained so for the first three years of the AARI  journey.

Thank you Verizon Communications. Without your generous financial support, the African American Read-In might have remained a dream without fulfillment.

Thank you Sherrye.  We talked to Verizon together.  They said, "Yes."

Others joined in to help - Tammy stepped up first.  Thanks Tammy.  Thanks to everyone.

That first year many did not believe we would be successful.  After all, there was nothing to suggest that the public would come out in large numbers on a week-end in February to support a reading and literacy program. Yet, that very first year the Majestic Theater was packed, and hundreds were turned away.

For ten straight years the theater was full, with many outside unable to get in and participate. Nonetheless, they also received books and were encouraged to read.  Everyone got instructions to host their own read-in with family, friends and co-workers.

The AARI became a regular kick-off event for African American history month. It also became the largest community event sponsored by Dallas County Community College District and the largest and most successful Read-In event in the nation.

After a few years, the Majestic Theater began to feel like home for the Read-In. Thank you for making it so.

Thank you Allison. You contributed much over many years.  I will remember you always.

Thanks to Monique and Anyika  for your committed service over the years in preparing the annual program.

Thanks to all of our many outstanding volunteers, readers, cast, performers, sponsors and partners in this dream.

Thanks to Kathy, Public Information and numerous DCCCD staff members who volunteered, worked and supported the Read-in.

Thanks to Chancellors Bill Wenrich, Jess Carreon, and Wright Lassiter, Jr. for their support of the Read-In.

Thanks to all the friends of my soul who made the African American Read-In such an overwhelming success.  I cannot name all of you.

Finally community, thanks for the many precious memories of this dream that came true because of you.

Joy comes in the morning.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Does the No Child Left Behind Act Help or Hinder K-12 Education?

"The best teachers don't like the effects of the No Child Left Behind act, saying it hampers creativity in the classroom and makes it harder to teach students to love learning, a University of California Riverside study has found.

In the study, "Does the No Child Left Behind Act Help or Hinder K-12 Education?" published by UCR today in Policy Matters, the authors surveyed 740 national board certified teachers in California. They found that 84 percent reported overall unfavorable attitudes about the act."

More Click Here

Friday, January 15, 2010

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Speaks at Dr. King's Church on 81st Birthday of the Legendary Civil Rights Leader

Vows to Reinvigorate Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education

January 15, 2010
Contact: (202) 401-1576 or

To a full house of more than 1000 elementary, high school and college students who gathered to celebrate the 81st birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan challenged America to realize King's vision through education.

Calling education the "civil rights issue of our generation," Duncan said, "Freedom is the ability to think and to pursue your own path—and only education can give you that freedom."

"If Dr. King were here today, he would call on a new generation of leaders to build on his work by doing the most important thing each of you can do: get an education, learn to think, learn to compete, and learn to win" Duncan said.

The event at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Dr. King and his father served as pastors, was sponsored by the National Action Network. Reverend Al Sharpton joined Duncan along with students from area public schools, Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, and Clark-Atlanta University.

Duncan also highlighted the work of the Office of Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education, which enforces civil rights laws on behalf of school children with disabilities, and protects against gender and racial discrimination. The Office also provides technical assistance to school districts seeking to promote educational equity.

"In recent years, this office has not been as aggressive as it should be. But that's about to change," Duncan said. This year, for example, the Office of Civil Rights will broaden its data collection process to highlight inequity around issues such as student discipline, distribution of effective teachers, and access to rigorous curriculum. This information will help shape the administration's education equity agenda.

In his remarks, Duncan referenced King's urgent appeal from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, saying, "We can't wait five or 10 more years to transform struggling schools. We need to act now and we need to act together. Dr. King showed us the path—and he gave us the vision. Now it's our job to make it real."


Tamia Gaines wins Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition

Tamia Gaines, fifth grade student at John Neely Bryan Elementary School, is the 2010 winner of the 18th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory competition held at the Majestic Theater..

The oratory competition is sponsored by the law firm Gardere Wynn Sewell LLP in partnership with Dallas ISD.

Second place winner - Courtnie Ivey, fifth grade student at R. L. Thornton Elementary.

Third place winner - Alexis Van Zandt, fifth grader at Clara Oliver Elementary.

Other 2010 finalists:

  • Jasmine Cox - S.S. Conner Elementary
  • Nina Davis - Thomas L. Marsalis Elementary
  • Elijah English - Jerry Junkins Elementary
  • Ny Jasmine Johnson - J.P. Starks Elementary
  • Angelica Renteria - Urban Park Elementary
Congratulations to Tamia and all the other outstanding contestants.

You are champions!

Stephen Good, Managing Partner, Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP welcomed the finalists and audience.

Clarice Tinsley, Anchor Fox 4 News, served as Mistress of Ceremonies.

Students Compete in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition Finals

Eight district students will compete in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Oratory Competition finals at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15, at The Majestic Theatre.

The event will feature the fourth-and fifth-grade winners of the semifinal competition reciting their original essays on the topic, "What will I be able to achieve in my life because of what Dr. King achieved in his?"

The competition is sponsored by the Dallas law firm Gardere Wynne Sewell in cooperation with Dallas ISD.

Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture presents Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium

The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture invites you to the Fifth Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 18, at the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House, 2403 Flora Street.

Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, the author of 16 books, including “April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Death and How It Changed America,” will serve as the keynote speaker and special guest.

Tickets are $10 for students and teachers and $20 for adult general admission.

For ticket information, visit the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture Web site at or the AT&T Performing Arts Center's Web site at

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Teaching For Joy and Justice

"Teaching is like life, filled with daily routines—laundry, cooking, cleaning the bathtub—and then moments of brilliance. We get up intending to create the classroom of our imagination and ideals. Sometimes we reach that place, but often we're doing the spade work that makes those brilliant moments possible: mining student lives for stories, building a community where risk-taking can happen, teaching historical background in preparation for insights and connections, or revising drafts—again and again. Those moments of empowerment and illumination are built on the foundation of hard work that often doesn't look either shining or glorious.

Teaching, really teaching, in a classroom with too many students—the engaged and the unengaged—is both difficult and rewarding. Teachers don't make enough money; we're treated as intellectually inferior, in need of external "accountability" programs and "training." We don't have adequate time or authority to plan our curriculum, engage in conversations with our colleagues, go to the bathroom, or digest our lunch. But the joy of watching a student write a brilliant essay that sends chills up and down my spine or a narrative that brings the class to tears or a poem that makes us laugh out loud or the pride as a student teaches a class about the abolition movement at the elementary school across the street—that's the life I choose—again and again.

Teaching for joy and justice. It's what our students need. But it's also what we need."

Excerpt from "Teaching for Joy and Justice" by Linda Christensen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Paid Internships for High School Students

Do you know youth looking for paid internships? Do they want to make $2,100 AND make a difference this summer? Apply today to be part of the ExxonMobil Green Team. The deadline for all applications HAS BEEN EXTENDED to Friday, January 22!

ExxonMobil Green Team is an eight-week summer youth initiative, administered by the Volunteer Center of North Texas, that provides paid internships for high school juniors and seniors. In Dallas, up to 50 Ambassador positions are available and students work in teams of three to five to develop environmentally-focused projects for local nonprofit organizations with the goal of increasing awareness of conservation and environmentalism. Throughout the summer, Green Team Ambassadors also attend classes at Southern Methodist University and participate in reflection sessions on leadership, financial aid for college, social responsibility, diversity and teamwork.

Students interested in applying for the 2010 summer program must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Enrolled as a high school junior or senior in Dallas County (as of the 2009-10 school year)
  • Available to participate in the eight-week program from June 11 – August 6
  • Provide/arrange daily transportation to and from all Green Team activities

Download the application at or for additional information, contact Christian Yazdanpanah toll free at 866-797-8268 ext. 299 or

All applications must be postmarked by January 22, 2010.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Community of concerned citizens, parents and staff come out for Kimball Knights

Thanks to the community of concerned citizens, parents and staff  who attended the discussion at Justin F. Kimball High School this evening.   Thank you for coming out on very short notice and showing that you care. 

Dallas ISD administrators described the proposed instructional program, which includes: 
  • 9th Grade Academy
  • Science,Engineering and Math
  • Informational Technology
  • Partner:  Texas Instruments
  • (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Magnet Satellite)

There were numerous thoughtful questions.  The audience was both anxious and patient as they listened to answers.

Staff stressed the importance of parent and community support, involvement and volunteers --all welcome and needed in schools at any academic level.

Gratitude to Dallas ISD administration for community meeting arrangements and presentation. 

We all appreciated being greeted by the PTA and directed by the ROTC. 

Finally, our thanks to interim principal Earl Jones, teachers and staff for the kind Kimball hospitality which contributed to this successful community meeting.

Texas school accountability system creates lower graduation rates

Not long ago, the Austin Business Journal reported that a study by Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin found "that Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act, directly contributes to lower graduation rates."

The study also revealed "that the higher the stakes and the longer such an accountability system governs schools, the more school personnel view students not as children to educate but as potential liabilities or assets for their school's performance indicators, their own careers or their school's funding."

In other words, the study found that children are being damaged by "test and punish" accountability systems and turned into mere pawns to be manipulated in the never-ending chess game of "school performance indicators."

The rest of the story ... Click here!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Who will graduate from high school?

Let's assume that each of the following statements is true. I have not verified them but assume they are accurate. Of course, these are national figures. Whatever the figures are, they are unacceptable.
  • 70% of newly born African Americans are born into a single parent structure.
  • 50% of newly born Hispanic Americans are born into a single parent structure.
  • App 30% of newly born Caucasian Americans are born into a single parent structure.
  • Family Structure (Source: Wall St. Journal)

Some say such inconvenient truths don't matter, but they do and always will. There are others equally negative.

Now tell me, who will graduate from high school? Or college? Of course, there are exceptions -- many of them.

Still, teachers can teach until they are all blue in the face, but this alone will not overcome the wholesale disintegration of the family structure and the absence of stable family life.

The dropout rate and all educational outcomes are greatly impacted by such realities.

Sure, blame the schools - blame the teachers.

Label schools as failures based on narrowly focused tests and dropout rates that are caused by a lack of parental responsibility.

Even when students do manage to pass tests - still label the schools as failures anyhow because of a dropout rate caused by far broader social problems that schools cannot solve alone.

This is wrongheaded reality.

What such reality accomplishes is the destruction of public education and the creation of data driven educational myths.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Kimball High School Community Meeting Tuesday

A community meeting will be held at Justin F. Kimball High School on Tuesday evening, January 12, 2010 at 6:30 P.M.

The discussion will center on the administration's proposed contingency plan for Kimball High.

Congratulations to Kimball High School for meeting 2009 academic requirements. It is an AU4 school because of the graduation rate - not academics. Kimball students successfully completed the 2009 TAKS test.

Kimball High is located at 3606 South Westmoreland Road, Dallas, TX. 75233 Tel: 972-502-2100

We hope parents, concerned community stakeholders and staff will attend.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping the holiday break provided deserved rest and fulfillment for all to return invigorated and ready for a new semester in this New Year.

The holidays brought the wonderful gift of running into parents and grandparents, who sparkled like Christmas lights as they spoke of their children's progress and accomplishments. If students were with them, they beamed too, and most were eager to respond when prompted to talk about report cards and school activities.

A special delight was seeing Dallas ISD graduates, home for the holidays. Some told of their struggles and adjustments to college, but each of them showed determination to return or to get into a college closer to home. They showed an awareness and understanding of the importance of staying in school and being persistent. Here's hoping they will.

Chance encounters with teachers and staff was another holiday gift. Dallas ISD is lucky to have many dedicated teachers who care about our youth and love what they are privileged to do with students every day.

When you see school teachers, staff or students, remember they will need your support, which can begin with your thoughts and heartfelt wish for them to have a successful year.