Faith-Based Partnerships with Schools

The Village Church in northwest Dallas organized 1,000 church and community members to attend a workday at Dallas ISD’s Edward H. Cary Middle School a few years ago. It became an annual tradition and grew into other connections between the church and both Cary Middle School and neighboring Thomas Jefferson High School’s staffs and students. Throughout the year, the church hosts breakfasts, lunches and dinners for the schools’ teachers and various student groups and provides mentors to students. St. Phillips Church, in south Dallas, partners with surrounding schools in similar ways. The Turn Around Agenda initiative at Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship provides mentoring and tutoring services for several schools.

At Dallas ISD we have seen how these partnerships with community churches have improved the learning for our students by supporting them outside the classroom. Often members of the churches are able to provide students needed connections that can help get them through another semester of school.

Studies tell us that having an adult involved in a child’s life, no matter what their age, increases their likelihood to graduate and decreases their risk of abusing drugs, alcohol and becoming a teen parent. We are seeing that churches are a beneficial source to provide this support to our city’s school-age children.

Why? They are already organized with members who believe in a mission to help others. They have experience in implementing programs to serve others. Their members already meet weekly, giving them the chance to connect and discuss new needs that they have discovered during their outreach with students and schools over the past week. And there’s a church near every school.

Sometimes these needs are as simple as providing a classroom for a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop to meet or learning that the choir needs new three-ring binders for their music. Many Dallas churches have visited their community schools and helped paint classrooms, hosted teacher appreciation breakfasts or delivered food to students’ families in need.

Dallas ISD has traditionally welcomed the opportunity to work with churches. Today, however, we are even more committed to taking this one step further by initiating a district-wide effort to explore avenues to partner with faith-based organizations.

Are you a member of a church that could organize a small or large group to help a school near you? It could be as simple as asking your members to volunteer as Reading Buddies for third grade students or planning a monthly teen night for the middle school to give that age group a place to be one night a month.

I grew up with a lot of adults around me who led by example. Are you a member of a church with adults who are willing to pay that forward to children in our city who aren’t as lucky as we were?  Form a partnership with one of the District 5 schools today.

Contact Dallas ISD Office of Family and Community Engagement to get started today; Main Line: (972) 925-3916, Email: family@dallasisd.org.

I am available to meet with your group or organization to discuss Dallas ISD in general and District 5 specifically. Contact me at (972) 925-3719 or at lblackburn@dallasisd.org. Thanks for supporting Dallas ISD.

Let’s Talk! with Dallas ISD Trustee Dr. Blackburn

05 Blackburn, LewDallas ISD Trustee, Dr. Lew Blackburn, representing District 5, will meet with students, and parents and community members starting in October to discuss various topics. The Tuesday meetings will begin at 4:30-5:30 for students, and at 6:00-7:00 for parents and community members. Let’s Talk!

With students, Dr. Blackburn will discuss college and career readiness, school choice, cafeteria and campus concerns. Parents and community members will discuss school choice, early childhood education, school community wrap-around services, and home-rule school district charter. Other topics may also be discussed.  Let’s talk!

Meeting Schedule:

Tuesday, October 7
L.G. Pinkston High School
2200 Dennison Drive, 75212

Tuesday, October 14
South Oak Cliff High School
3601 S. Marsalis Ave., 75216

Tuesday, October 21
Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center
1201 E 8th St, 75203

Tuesday, October 28
F.D. Roosevelt High School
525 Bonnie View Road, 75203

Tuesday, November 4
Wilmer-Hutchins High School
5520 Langdon Road, 75241

I am available to meet with your group or organization to discuss Dallas ISD in general and District 5 specifically. Contact me at (972) 925-3719 or at lblackburn@dallasisd.org. Thanks for supporting Dallas ISD.

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District 5 News

Join me at the last District 5 Academic Pep Rally for this school year on Saturday, May 10, from 10:oo am until noon, at Wilmer-Hutchins High School, 5520 Langdon Road, Dallas, Texas 75241.  There will be lots of fun for students, teachers, and parents.  District representatives will be there to share information with parents and community members.

Prize Drawings for:

  • • Students with “A’s” in core subjects
  • • Pre-K and Kindergarteners with “E’s “ on their report cards
  • • Students with Perfect Attendance
  • • Parents and Teachers
  • • Students who bring a book that they have read recently and give a summary of the book

U.S. Congressman for District 33 Marc Veasey met with L.G. Pinkston’s Math Club to speak with students about the Congressional STEM Competition – House App Challenge, a nationwide event open in DFW to all high schools students living in his district. Interested students must develop an app for a computer, mobile or tablet device. For more information, email daniela.huerta@mail.house.gov.

Congratulations to Jorge Diana from Lassiter Early College High School who won first place in the JFK Competition Finals in the Essay category. Diana will join the six other first place category winners at a reception at the Sixth Floor Museum.

District 5 was well represented at the recent UIL Academics Spring Meet. Students from Pinkston, South Oak Cliff, A. Maceo Smith, Roosevelt, Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and Wilmer-Hutchins high schools all had students place in multiple categories of the competition.

The Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet debate team of Alex Baez, Lee Carriere, Ruben Delgade, and Vernon Johnson was selected to join an elite group of 12 teams to compete in the Old Parkland Debate Tournament. The students competed against teams from Australia, Canada, England and Mexico as well as teams from five U.S. states. What an honor and great experience for these students.

Culinary students from Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and Wilmer-Hutchins High School contributed healthy snack recipes for the “Kids Teaching Kids” snack book created by Children’s Medical Center. The books will be distributed free to all Dallas ISD elementary schools.

On April 3, students from Lassiter Early College High School met at the Sixth Floor Museum with TIME Magazine reporter/photographer Robert Nickelsberg to participate in an international video conference telecast to schools across the world.

I am available to meet with your group or organization to discuss Dallas ISD in general and District 5 specifically. Contact me at (972) 925-3719 or at lblackburn@dallasisd.org. Thanks for supporting Dallas ISD.

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Encourage & Celebrate Good Grades!

The next District 5 Academic Pep Rally will be held Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 at Wilmer-Hutchins High School5520 Langdon Rd, Dallas, TX 75241. It’s exciting!

The District 5 Academic Pep Rallies inspires, encourages and supports students towards making good grades.  We accentuate being SMARTStudents Making Academics Real Today! It’s ecstatic!

Imagine students from elementary school through high school cheering about the good grades they made! Bands, cheerleaders and other student groups will perform to pump up excitement about doing well in school.  It’s really great to see students cheering about academic excellence. It’s exhilarating!

Students who have made “A’s” in core subjects are eligible to win prizes valued from $5 to $100. They are excited to receive gift cards of $25, $50, $75, or $100, or other prizes such as backpacks, calculators, tablet or laptop computers, or e-books.  Just for being SMART!

Please consider being a sponsor for the District 5 Academic Pep Rally. Your $250, $500 or $1,000 sponsorship will help provide prizes, food and beverages, decorations and costs incurred by the student groups that perform. It’s essential!

If you want to donate prizes, take them to Shantell Grant, Dallas ISD, Board Services, 3700 Ross Ave., Dallas, TX 75204; 972-925-3719. You may also send a donation to a 501c(3), public non-profit organization; Blackburn Foundation, 2130 Lanark Ave., Dallas, TX 75203, or donate online at http://blackburnfoundation.org/donate/.

Come, join the excitement!


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Academic Pep Rally A Success!

Dr. BlackburnThe most recent Dallas ISD District 5 Academic Pep Rally was held Saturday, May 11, 2014 from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at Wilmer-Hutchins High School.

Chester CheezeMore than 300 students participated!

Students with high core subject grade or perfect attendance had a chance to win prizes.  Students who summarized a book they read recently received prizes.  Parents and teachers also had chances to win prizes. Prize winners had their picture taken with the new “I Am DISD” sign.

 

Students saw short promotions about several colleges and universities.  SONY DSCThomas Joyner, Jr. , from the Tom Joyner Foundation, was the guest host.

Thanks to the Blackburn Foundation for co-sponsoring the pep rally.  The foundation promotes higher education and community development.  Towards that end, they encourage students in their pursuit of high academic achievement.

Sponsorship Opportunity

Please consider being a sponsor for our District 5 Academic Pep Rallies for 2014-2015. Your donation of $100, $250, or $500 will help provide prizes, food and beverages, decorations and costs incurred by the student groups that perform.  Your sponsorship of $1,000, $2,500, or $5,000 will help with the logistical aspects of the exciting events.

SONY DSCStudents are excited to receive gift cards of $25, $50, $75, or $100, or other prizes such as backpacks, calculators, tablet or laptop computers, or e-books. If you want to provide prizes, take them to Dallas ISD, Board Services, 3700 Ross Ave., Dallas, TX 75204; 972-925-3719.

 

You may send a donation to a 501c(3), public non-profit organization; Blackburn Foundation, 2130 Lanark Ave., Dallas, TX 75203, or donate online at www.blackburnfoundation.com.

Thank you for supporting our students! Join us as we celebrate academic success!

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Sincerely,

Dr. Lew Blackburn
Trustee, District 5

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District 5 High Achieving Graduates 2014

L.G. Pinkston High School

Raul Reyes III

College: Southern Methodist University; Major: Law

Alondra Alvarez

College: Texas A&M University at College Station; Major: Biology

Franklin D. Roosevelt High School

Liliana Santillan-Frausto

College: Texas Woman’s University; Major: Nursing

Andrea Reyes

College: Texas A&M University at College Station; Major: Political Science

South Oak Cliff High School

Orial Anthony

College: Texas Wesleyan University; Major: Biochemistry

Sidney Ray Owens II

College: Sam Houston State University; Major: Physical Therapy

Wilmer-Hutchins High School

Jimmy James Gailey

College: University of Texas at Austinl Major: Psychology

Abigail Zavala

College: University of Texas at Austin; Major: Nursing

Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Jr. Early College High School at El Centro College

Linda Pamela Portillo

College: Texas Woman’s University; Major: Criminal Justice

Anna Bernice Yao

College: University of North Texas; Major: Biology

Judge Barefoot Sanders School of Public Service: Government, Law and Law Enforcement at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Daniela Duron

College: Georgetown University; Major: undecided

Kimberly Loza

College: Texas A&M University at College Station; Major: Undecided

School of Business and Management at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Audelia Torres

College: University of Texas at Austin; Major: Business Administration

Joseph Pioquinto

College: University of Texas at Arlington; Major: Civil Engineering

Rosie M. Collins Sorrells School of Education and Social Services at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Carmen Lanette Gills

College: Texas A&M University at Commerce; Major: General Business

Gabrielle Renee Dotson

College: University of Texas at Dallas; Major: Environmental Engineering

School of Health Professions at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Thu Anh Doan

College: Texas Woman’s University; Major: Biology

Yulissa Irais Alva-Cortes

College: University of Texas at Austin; Major: Nursing

School of Science and Engineering at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Wesley Jamal Runnels

College: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Major: Math/Physics

Danh Nguyen

College: Southern Methodist University; Major: Mechanical Engineering

School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center

Lynn Lee

College: Georgetown University; Major: International Politics

Abigail Elaine Cartwright

College: Rice University; Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

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Memorial Day: A Day of Rememberance

We celebrate Memorial Day in many ways; picnics, parades, family gatherings, etc.  While we take time away from work and other responsibilities, let’s not forget the reason for the holiday.

On the last Monday in May, we pause to remember the men and women who died while serving in the military to protect our country.  Many place flowers and flags on the grave of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service.  Let remember and honor our military in a meaningful way.

Honor Our Military

 Let’s honor our military,
The men and women who serve,
Whose dedication to our country
Does not falter, halt or swerve.

 Let’s respect them for their courage;
They’re ready to do what’s right
To keep America safe,
So we can sleep better at night.

 Let’s support and defend our soldiers,
Whose hardships are brutal and cruel,
Whose discipline we can’t imagine,
Who follow each order and rule.

 Here’s to those who choose to be warriors
And their helpers good and true;
They’re fighting for American values;
They’re fighting for me and you.

 By Joanna Fuchs

 

MLKing Speech

Remembering The March: “I Have a Dream”

August 28, 1963, Washington, DC

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.

The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities.

We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends — so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day. This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died; land of the Pilgrim’s pride; from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that. Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi — from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

“Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Dallas Men Against Violence

Last month, Mayor Mike Rawlings issued a challenge to the Men of Dallas to help him put an end to violence against women. Domestic Violence is a dangerous epidemic that has spread through our community and city.  In fact, just last year, we saw double the number of murders related to domestic violence.
 
These are serious acts and we must take responsibility not only as a city but as individual men!  I am challenging Dallas ISD men to step off the sidelines and join me on Saturday, March 23, 2013, for the Dallas Men Against Abuse Rally at 10:00 am at Dallas City Hall Plaza, 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas, TX 75201.
 
Dallas ISD men, it is time to step up and take action!  I urge you to encourage your friends, relatives, brothers, sons, fathers to attend the rally and together promise to never hit a woman…because a real man teaches his sons to respect women. 
Men of Dallas ISD, can I count on you to disperse this information through your network?  Men of Dallas ISD, can I count on you to be at the rally, among 10,000 men?
 
It’s time to end domestic violence in Dallas!  I hope you will join me on Saturday, March 23, 2013, for the Dallas Men Against Violence rally at 10:00 a.m. on the Dallas City Hall Plaza located at 1500 Marilla Street, Dallas, TX 75201.
I am School Board President, a Dallas Man Against Abuse!

 

 

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The Journey to Greatness: Dallas ISD – A Premiere Urban School District

The vision of Dallas ISD is to become a premier urban school district. How the district earns that designation depends on several factors, including, the selection of a strong and proactive superintendent, which I believe we have accomplished. It will take some work on everyone’s part, working towards established goals.

Imagine Dallas ISD being on a special plane ride to our destiny, “A Premiere Urban School District”. Are you ready for the ride?

The Dallas ISD plane has several major sections for passengers. The Board of Trustees has adopted nine goals (major sections) to shape Dallas ISD into the operation necessary to move the district to a higher level of performance altitude. These goals address highly effective teachers and school leaders; safe, secure and welcoming environments; shared responsibility; rigorous curriculum; a positive and compassionate culture; professional development; data driven decisions; supportive central services; and, well-maintained facilities. Which area is yours? What part will you play?

Each section of the plane has a purpose, just as each goal of the district has defined strategies. However, goals and strategies without adequate resources for successful implementation are mere words on paper. So, what are our next steps? What will be your purpose for holding a seat on the plane? What benefit will you provide to Dallas ISD?

The Board has set the course for our destination. The plane is fueled and ready to move forward. Several schools are making great strides in many areas. Our graduation rate is the highest it has been since 1983, and I expect it to climb even higher this year. The Council of Great City Schools has declared Dallas ISD one of the fastest improving urban school districts in the nation. But, there is still much work to be done.

Over the next few years, all of Dallas must step up to the counter with your boarding passes, get on the plane, find your desired section and buckle up and get prepared to address our responsibilities to our children; the future of Dallas depends on it. Before we take off, visualize the Dallas ISD as “A Premier Urban School District”; a vision of the destination for our journey on the plane. Use whatever level of creativity you possess to see the district in this new light and believe the vision is possible. Believing the vision can lead to ownership of the goals and acceptance of your role in making the vision a reality. As you look out the windows of the plane, can you envision Dallas ISD becoming “A Premier Urban School District”?

The belief can only become as real as the people who take part in making things happen. Citizens across Dallas, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, have chosen to partner with the district to make a difference. What about you? The opportunities to join the flight to greatness are vast and can begin in every home and classroom across Dallas. Will your business or organization get onboard the plane, taking a seat, doing your part to make Dallas ISD “A Premier Urban School District”?

The Board of Trustees and district staff must acknowledge, accept and put into action our role with purpose and intent, supporting the superintendent’s reforms. Parents and families need to encourage and support their children to strive to be the best in every endeavor. Neighborhoods need to aid their community schools by providing fiscal, physical, and human resources. Businesses and faith-based entities, small and large, must join hands with Dallas ISD schools and administration. Civic and social organizations can mentor and tutor students to greatness. We all have something to offer. It’s just a matter of finding where and how you can make a contribution. Are you still willing to get on the plane?

We cannot continue on the flight path we have been traveling. It is imperative we change course with a higher altitude towards reform and innovation using creative and engaging approaches that helps every student perform at or above their grade level. Combined with other districts, we can set common core standards that are higher than the state standards. Hand-in-hand with area social service resources, we can help meet the multitude of student needs that impact the educational process. Can we count on you to get on the plane?

Every flight path we travel must take our students closer to the ultimate destination; ready for college and career. And we have to do this within the budgetary restraints and other requirements under which we operate. I believe it can be done. Get your board pass! Step up to the gate! Take your seat! Buckle up! Get ready for take-off! Destination: A Premier Urban School District!

Visualize and believe in Dallas ISD. Contact a local school, or call the Office of Community Relations at 972-925-3920 to discuss how you can become engaged.

As always, I am available to meet with your organization to discuss these opportunities and the many successes in Dallas ISD in general and in District 5 in particular. Contact my office at 972-925-3718 to schedule a meeting with your group. And, follow me on Facebook and Twitter.