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School Notes

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 10/12/2015, 6:31 a.m.
Harllee Early Childhood Center
School Notes graphic Robyn H. Jimenez

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Harllee Early Childhood Center

The Dallas Independent School District formally unveiled one of its two new prekindergarten facilities, N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center, at a special event Sept 25. The center, located at 1216 E. Eighth St., re-opened at the beginning of the school year to its 100 students, ages 3 and 4. Throughout the summer, construction crews renovated the building, built in 1928, to serve the community’s youngest learners. Phase two, to come as early as next school year, will incorporate the remaining outer classrooms on the first floor, and phase three will open the upstairs classrooms and add formalized professional development.

Lancaster ISD

Raise Your Hand Texas recently announced that Lancaster ISD is among the 75 semifinalist public schools and district applicants chosen for its Raising Blended Learners $2.5 Million grant initiative. As a semifinalist, blended learning specialists from Lancaster ISD will attend a two-day blended learning workshop in the fall.

Raise your Hand Texas is a non-profit organization that invests in best-in-class programs to develop an innovative new breed of leaders for Texas public schools, and lead research-driven public policy advocacy that elevates the quality of Texas public education.

“It’s exciting to know that out of all the districts in the state of Texas that applied for this grant, Lancaster’s vision for blended learning was clear and convincing enough to be selected to move to the next level,” said Nicholas Keith, blended learning specialist for Lancaster ISD.

Blended learning is the strategic combination of online and face-to-face instruction. Through sound technology integration strategies, teachers move in the direction of being able to serve the diverse needs of their classroom by using the technology available to them.

“The blended learning workshops this fall gives us a chance to take some focused, off-site time and really start to plan for the logistics of what blended learning could look like in Lancaster,” he continued.

The district will also have the opportunity to present their district blended learning plan, to Raise Your Hand Texas, with the hopes of becoming one of 10 finalists chosen in January 2016 to receive assistance in refining their plans. The funding will be awarded to five winners who will receive up to $500,000 and technical support in implementing their blended learning programs in April 2016.

“As a district, we have already invested in a 1:1 technology pilot program that consists of 19 teachers and over 1000 students,” Keith said. “By putting in the work to develop a plan, secure funding, and move forward with implementation, Lancaster is already a step ahead in the area of equipping our schools with technology for learning.”

Clemente Course in the Humanities

El Centro College is one of only 10 recipients of the 2014 National Humanities Medal, which was conferred by President Barack Obama during a special ceremony last month. El Centro’s award honors The Clemente Course in the Humanities, which the college offers in partnership with http://www.freemindsdallas.org. The college teaches the course to adults who do not have a college degree and who are financially disadvantaged.