Mazel Tov, Mesquite ISD, For Winning the Urban School Board Excellence Award

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Seriously, instead of trying to come up with cute names for teacher evaluations or asking the Dallas Regional Chamber for help, the Dallas Independent School District's higher-ups (the school board, especially) need to take the few-minute drive to Mesquite and ask Superintendent Dr. Linda Henrie how to make schools, you know, better. Because one month after being told it was on the short list of finalists for the the 2011 Council of Urban Boards of Education Annual Award for Urban School Board Excellence, the Mesquite ISD has been named the winner. Why? Well, says the release that just landed in the in-box, that's simple:
"Mesquite Independent School District is truly a model for success," said Anne L. Bryant, NSBA's Executive Director. "The district, through the board's leadership, has made major gains in student achievement and significantly closed achievement gaps while effectively increasing community support around the schools."
Among those achievements, says the NSBA:
  • 84 percent of students tested proficient in math in 2010, up from 67 percent in 2004.
  • The percentage proficient in science grew from 52 percent in 2004 to 82 percent in 2010.
  • Reading test scores rose from 82 percent to 91 percent proficient during the same time period, while social studies scores went from 86 percent to 95 percent passing.
  • While all subgroups showed improvement, minority students enjoyed particular gains, and the test score gaps between white and minority students closed significantly in all subject areas.
MISD officials, of course, are quite pleased, but of course. Says school board president Kevin Carbo on the district's website: "This award is not just for the Board of Trustees, but for everyone in the district -- from the administrators to the teachers to the auxiliary employees who day in and day out give our children their maximum effort."

Which reminds me: DISD, I just learned, about an hour ago, that the newly adopted language-arts textbooks still haven't arrived at my son's elementary seven weeks after school started. Great success.
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Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

It would be too easy, too simple and too cheap to replicate MISD's tougher stance on issues. Too many lawyers kow-tow to parents who threaten lawsuits. Let 'em sue! Loser pays now, right? If the DISD would man up and tell parents to get your kids doing right or get going, a lot would change in DISD. (That is what the suburbs do, dearies.)

We waste too much time on issues like discipline that should be handled much sooner and much harder at the get-go. But now, the new mantra is, "Why are so many black children getting referrals?" The question should be, "Why doesn't  the black community at large, leadership included, make it clear to kids that misbehavior will NOT be tolerated?"

DISD likes to buy programs out of a box, off of a shelf or at a seminar. Common sense makes no sense to them. It takes a real leader, which we don't have right now, to say," Guys, tighten down on discipline, give the teachers what they need and let the principals be their biggest ally, not their greatest enemy."

Do THAT, and DISD would get better--fast.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

What is up with the emergency board meeting called this afternoon?  All ed's and principals called to attend....

Dallas
Dallas

Cynthia Goodsell was axed!

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Wait, what? There's the super workshop tomorrow, but nothing on today's schedule. Any word?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Principals and ED's yanked out of meetings and hauled off to what I was told was an "emergency board meeting".

Maybe the administrator who gave me the info was wrong, but I don't think so.

Somethin's up.  That's the great thing about DISD.  It sharpens one's Ninja skills. You never know what's just around the corner...

Diane Birdwell
Diane Birdwell

I agree, but yet again, they do things in the most weird ways....

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Out of more kindness for the person involved than I have ever, ever seen extended to the numerous teachers I have seen RIF'd, leveled, moved from one grade to another mid-year, micromanaged,and nitpicked until they were in tears over trivial nonsense, I will keep mum.

The board and 3700 needs to realize that DISD's bad karma will not end until it starts treating teachers with dignity, decency, and kindness.  That doesn't mean you have to keep the ineffective teachers; you just have to do the right thing and the humane thing.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

OK, I found out.I think a bigwig got fired, but I don't want to name the name(s).Wow is all I can say.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

False insouciance: clue number that something is going on.Geez, I hope Alan King isn't quitting.He is our Obi Wan Kenobe.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Dahlander said he thought something "may be" going on, but he wasn't sure.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Which is also why your 1974 Kindergarten teacher is still around.  She's got the Ninja mojo down.

Just observing, thanks.
Just observing, thanks.

Even if they go look, Ross Ave. will then try to "adapt" what MISD does to the DISD model rather than "Adopt".

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