We Need Smart Transformation
Research on successful urban school districts (and yes, they do exist) shows that the strategy consists of some pretty basic elements:
- A strong principal at every school – a strong leader who thinks strategically, knows how to engage parents and the community, is laser-focused on instruction, and who creates an inclusive and supportive environment. Strong principals are critical to a disciplined, orderly learning environment, to teacher retention, and to the level of parent involvement. District 7 has a significant percentage of parents who speak only Spanish. Each of the 31 schools must have at least one administrator who is fluent in their language.
- A great teacher in every classroom – a quality instructor who believes in helping students reach their full potential. In order to keep great teachers, we need to make DISD a place great teachers want to work. This includes an effective evaluation and incentive program that rewards our best teachers and encourages collaboration, strong support from campus leaders, resources like curriculum guides that are fully aligned with TEKS, and professional development.
- Engaged parents and community – Parents who are active in the school and at home, and community organizations and support that makes up the gap when parents are unable or unwilling to do this. Students with involved parents make better grades, are more likely to take college-track courses, have better behavior, and are more likely to graduate and go on to college.
- A safe, warm, nurturing environment for teaching and learning. This means keeping our students safe from bullying and violence. It also means maintaining our facilities in good condition using both the bond program and the operating budget efficiently and effectively.
Ethics and Integrity
No transformation can be successful unless the right people are doing the right things for the right reasons. The board must foster a culture of integrity and ethical behavior.