As Dallas Independent School District is shaken up by the idea of home rule, its superintendent told teachers, administrators and parents the district must stay the course and keep making drastic changes to improve academics.
Mike Miles unveiled his Destination 2020 plan, which includes a lot of outside the classroom concepts.
The superintendent started off his pep rally of sorts at W.H. Adamson High School Auditorium saying the 2013 graduation rate was 84%, up a few percentage points from 2012. This is the sixth straight year of gains. However, Superintendent Miles says DISD still has a long way to go.
Miles says DISD has already hired almost 2,000 new teachers for the upcoming year.
Among his core concepts, Miles wants 95% of eligible three and four-year-olds enrolled in DISD preschool and pre-k.
He hopes to create 35 new choice schools similar to Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Magnet Center, Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, and the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy
He believes personalized education plans for every student beats the one-size-fits-all approach.
Destination 2020 also calls for more parent and community engagement, higher expectations for the district and students and what Miles calls social-emotional learning.
“There are things like perseverance, doing your best work, getting up when you fail, being a risk-taker too, critical thinking, those are habits of mind,” he said.
“We've made great strides in this district both in the academics and modeling the expectations. Our students know the educators on campus do not give up on them,” said Michael St. Ama, Principal at Lassiter Early College High School.
Retired teacher and longtime Miles critic Bill Betzen liked what he heard but has one major concern. “The staff turnover is my biggest fear, we're losing so many good teachers,” he said.
When asked if he thinks home rule moving forward will affect these initiatives, Miles said he hopes the home rule commission, which is currently being formed, will support these ideas.
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