Reading is Fundamental, Which Is Why DISD's Trying to Round Up 1,111 Readers For Friday

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Genius.
Speaking of learnin' stuff ...

At last week's Dallas ISD board meeting, district spokesman Jon Dahlander told the trustees that so far, a few hundred folks had signed up to read to kiddos on Friday, when the district's hoping to round up 1,111 volunteers for its so-called "community-wide celebration of reading." Which is ...? Well, on Friday, which is 11/11/11, the district's going to stop down classes at 11:11 a.m. and have grown-ups read to the students for 11 minutes. For the most part, the initiative ("students and adults alike will be reminded of the importance of literacy to our lives") has been promoted solely on the district's website.

Transamerica yesterday donated $10,000 toward the event, to help with purchasing books. Which is awful nice and all, but the district's really hoping to get folks into the schools at week's end -- and I know, for instance, that at my son's elementary, only a handful of slots have been filled, which is why I'm schlepping Schutze to the school Friday (I don't think he knows this yet). Maybe the timing's bad: Mayor Mike Rawlings, for instance, who campaigned on the promise of fixing the district, won't be attending because of the Veterans Day Parade and the opening of the downtown Omni Hotel, according to chief of staff Paula Blackmon. "But he's very much in support," says Dahlander in advance of a press conference scheduled tomorrow that will feature the mayor, DISD board president Lew Blackburn and others.

Dahlander says today that United Way has pledged to dispatch at least 100 volunteers throughout the district, "but their goal is 250, and they've brought in folks who have never volunteered before." He adds this was Blackburn's idea, and, says Dahlander, "what a unique oppotunity to give back to your community." But make sure: Before you show up at a school, you have to fill out the district's volunteer form, which involves a background check. Principals will be advised accordingly.

11-11-11-11-11 Volunteer Recruitment Trailer from Dallas Independent School Dist on Vimeo.

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ChildCareGroup
ChildCareGroup

At ChildCareGroup, a Dallas nonprofit, we are also hosting volunteers in our DISD classrooms. This is a great opportunity to show children the importance of reading. We're excited to see everyone on Friday! (and so are the kids)

@David Lee, we agree! A great outcome would be more long-term volunteer involvement in local schools/child development centers.

David Lee
David Lee

I'm looking forward to reading to the students at Bayles Elementary on Friday.

When I signed up online and cleared the background check there was a message to "contact the school's partnership coordinator to schedule a required orientation / training session." I called the school and was told they didn't know anything about an "orientation / training session" and that I would have to call downtown. I called downtown and the person I spoke with put me on hold while she called Bayles. A few minutes later she said "just show up a few minutes early for your training."

The person I spoke with at the school did seem excited when I mentioned joining the Parent Teacher Organization and that I was interested in volunteering beyond the 11.11.11 initiative. I hope many of the people who volunteer on Friday will consider becoming more active in their local schools. With increased class sizes and fewer resources, the teachers need all the help they can get.

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Go get 'em, Mr. Lee.I hope you have a super day; the kids are going to be GREAT.I have never met a child who wasn't.

The disorganization is not surprising.There has been a culture in DISD for the last 3 decades that believes "we run the schools; you don't question us."

I will say that once Hinojosa arrived and challenged the status-quo-culture, that mindset started to change.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

Ask ODers to volunteer, there should be at least 5 or 6 who haven't had recent arrests, aren't homeless or recovering pedophiles, and know how to read.  Maybe they could treat the kids to 11 minutes of reading supreme court opinions covering proper time, place, and manner for free speech and assembly.

More seriously, why are kids in school on Veterans' Day?  They get out for Easter (a clear violation of separation of church and state) but not in honor of the men and women who sacrifice so much for our freedoms?

DISD Teacher
DISD Teacher

Easter is on a Sunday.  We don't get out for Easter.

Good Friday is an off day ONLY if we didn't have to take ice/snow days in the winter.

Good Friday isn't off in honor of Good Friday; it's more of an acceptance of the fact that many students and teachers will be out anyway for services (our demographic is overwhelmingly Catholic).  Districts are allowed a certain number of "holidays" and they can pick them to coincide with a major wave of absences or not.

Jewish students/teachers are allowed to take off for their holy days, and I'm sure the same applies to Muslims.

*We'd love to take off in honor of Veterans' Day--especially since so many teachers are  veterans--but DISD has come up with about 25 days of testings, so there's never time for anything else.  Including teaching.

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

yep, took all of five minutes. I had a ticket in the past so I had to call. Folks were very pleasant and courteous, cleared it right up. Ready to read on Friday. Brenda, I sent you a message. Come join me. 

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

I'm in.  Sam Houston Elementary (our local Oak Lawn group Secret Santa school).

NewsDog
NewsDog

While I like this idea a lot I already see the nightmares. Even if people signed up today there is no way the backgroud check could be done by Friday morning. Here’s a quandary for you Robert. If this event does get a good turnout, which is a good PR move for the district, why don’t you, as a reporter, ask to see all the background checks on all the volunteers? Do you think DISD would violate it’s own policy for good PR?  

Readergirl
Readergirl

the background check takes seconds but be aware- if you've been to court about something, you'll get a message to call for a quick review; the  whole process takes no more than 5 minutes total

do it!!  the kids will give you lift!

NewsDog
NewsDog

Interesting. When my son was in Plano ISD and I wanted to volunteer for things I had to go through a background check that took longer that the one to get my CHL. I'm sure DISD isn't cutting corners with your child's safety and security. 

JM
JM

IF you can get the DISD servers to work, the background check happens immediately. Don't ask why, just go read!

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