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Dallas ISD’s successes, challenges

Superintendent announces more changes to come

Chelsea Jones | 5/23/2014, 1:11 p.m. | Updated on 5/23/2014, 1:18 p.m.
Since taking over as Dallas ISD superintendent, Mike Miles has made several notable changes in the district. There are more ...
Dallas ISD Superintendent Mike Miles Dallas Independent School District

“We can’t just speak down to teachers, principals and the administration. We can’t just speak down to our counselors. It has to be all of us working hard. Ninety percent of our students are on free and reduced lunch. Ninety percent. Many of them go back home to challenging environments. We need adult mentors. We need our parents. We need in-school tutoring. We need afterschool tutoring. We need internships in some of your businesses and communities so that kids see what’s possible for them,” Miles said.

After his speech, the audience had an opportunity to ask questions. One person questioned whether teachers, parents or students should be blamed for student underachievement.

Miles responded, “It’s easy to blame kids, easy to blame parents. But the first place I’m going to look is at our system. There’s enough blame to go around, but I’m not going to do that. Let’s look here first, then we’ll look at other things.”

He concluded that the district is looking to test high school sophomores to determine whether or not they are prepared for college. Those who aren’t prepared will be sent to remediation classes.

Other speakers at the event included Rosemary Perlmeter, co-founder and CEO of Teaching Trust, an organization that focuses on improving the practices and polices that impact teachers and school leadership; and Michelle Kinder, executive director of Momentous Institute, an organization that focuses on improving the social and emotional health of at-risk youth to ensure their academic success.

The purpose of the event was to award six high school seniors with the chamber’s annual Golden Oaks Scholarship. To be considered for the scholarship, students had to be currently residing in or attending a school in Oak Cliff, and looking to attend a community college or university in Dallas, Tarrant or Denton counties in the fall. Applicants had to submit a completed application form, resume, essay, official grade transcript and letter of recommendation.

Recipients included Denisse Amador, a senior at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center who plans to attend the University of Texas at Dallas; Elva Baltazar, a senior at Moisés E. Molina High School who plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington; Adriana Perez, a senior at Moisés E. Molina High School who plans to attend Texas Woman’s University; Emma Segoviano, a senior at the Trinidad Garza Early College High School at Mountain View College who plans to attend the University of North Texas; Ashli Uvalle, a senior at the Rosie M. Collins Sorrells School of Education and Social Services who plans to attend the University of North Texas at Denton; and Emma Chalott Barron, a senior at the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School who plans to attend Southern Methodist University.