Dallas ISD STEM Department brings learning to life in schools
Special to The Dallas Examiner | 4/17/2017, 2:54 a.m.
Special to The Dallas Examiner
From underwater robotics to computer coding, the Dallas Independent School District STEM Department briefed trustees on the amazing work happening inside schools.
STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – provides students with opportunities to grow through hands-on activities and inquiry-based learning.
Assistant Superintendent Vince Reyes told trustees that he has made it a directive that Dallas ISD become the public school district that sends the most students on to four-year universities for computer science.
“We have the students that can make that happen,” Reyes said.
The district has been working to ensure STEM programs seamlessly sequence from elementary to high school. Students have the opportunity to earn high school credit in middle school for STEM courses such as Algebra I, Astronomy, Physics and Computer Science.
At the board meeting, students talked about the huge benefits STEM learning has on them.
Notable STEM facts shared at the board meeting:
• Students participation in the District Science Fair grew by 36 percent this year.
• Ten comprehensive high schools and two magnet schools offer computer science and STEM endorsement.
• Dallas ISD is home to 20 SeaPerch Underwater Robotics teams.
• Thirty-five middle schools teach an Intro to Robotics elective course.
• 5,140 middle school students are enrolled in classes for high school credit.
Five students at Carter High School have received full-ride scholarships to attend Texas Christian University.
The seniors were awarded the TCU Community Scholarships, each valued at more than $250,000, April 6.
Two of the recipients, Nahjae and Tahjae Selby, are twin sisters. The other recipients are Deanna Harper, Rickey Perry and Patricia Smith.
The TCU Community Scholarships are awarded based on merit, academic achievement, volunteerism and diversity.
Starting next year, an additional 14 Dallas Independent School District campuses will offer tuition-based prekindergarten programs.
In the meantime, pre-K registration for next school year began April 3. Parents can apply at their neighborhood elementary school or at http://www.prekdallas.org.
Free pre-K is available to children who will be 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 1 and meet at least one of these requirements:
• Eligible for free or reduced-price school lunch program.
• Unable to speak and comprehend the English language.
• Dependent of active duty member of the U.S. armed forces.
• Was or is in foster care.
For children who do not meet the requirements, a limited number of paid spots are available at 19 district elementary schools for $525 per month per child.
Duncanville High School Alumni Association will hold a Spring Membership meeting on Monday for area graduates. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the East Cafeteria at Duncanville High School. There is no cost, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, visit https://www.duncanvillehighschoolalumni.org.
A new approach to how schools respond to disruptive students in pre-K through second grade was approved by Dallas ISD trustees on Feb. 23.
Under the policy change and pending approval to the student code of conduct, those students who commit Level 1 offenses – the lowest-level infractions such as classroom disruption and bus misconduct – will not receive out-of-school suspensions.
The policy will also provide additional support to schools. All pre-K through second grade teachers will receive a comprehensive training session at the beginning of the school year focused on how to best respond to a disruptive student.
The district will also look at data to determine which schools need the most support. Those schools will implement a program such as mindfulness training or restorative practices, which are shown to reduce disciplinary issues, and teachers at those schools will receive continual resources and training throughout the school year.
Under the policy change, which goes into effect next school year, the students could still be suspended for Level 2 and Level 3 offenses, which are the more serious infractions such as bullying and fighting.