December Briefing: Bond Phase 3, Racial Equity, and more!

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At a board briefing, our Dallas ISD School Board discusses items they will need to vote on in upcoming meetings. They also hear reports from the Superintendent & the Dallas ISD Administration on ways in which the district is meeting student needs. Below is a summary of the 8-hour briefing on November 29, 2018.



Admin Presentation:

PreK continues to produce meaningful results in transition from ISIP to new K-ready assessment: TX-KEA. The TX-KEA assessment measures: Language, Literacy, STEM, Social Emotional, Executive Function, + Academic Motor Skills. ISIP will continue to be the progress monitor tool in the meantime (during the transition).

Key Benefits – 

  • Goes beyond just a literacy focus compared to what district has used in past. 

  • TX-KEA mirrors assessments students will see in 1stgrade and beyond.

  • Teacher and student work together 1:1 through questions, giving teacher info in multiple ways. 

  • ISIP is norm-referenced where KEA is criterion-referenced (like STAAR).

Literacy-Reading Composite score will be shared with TEA – 

  • Sept. 2018 results show 70% students on track. 

  • Students in DISD PreK outperforming those not in DISD PreK (but eligible) by 39 percentage points.

Comparing students’ performance on both TX-KEA and ISIP assessments – 

  • 42% of students who took both ISIP and KEA are on track according to both ISIP and KEA, 28% not.

  • 4% of students on track according to ISIP but not KEA; 25% on track according to KEA but not ISIP.

Looking ahead: Continue K-12 curriculum development, prepare for new 2019-2010 TEKS, roll up TK-KEA will one year at a time with each class of students, expand PreK3 and PreK4, + focus on coaching quality.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: Comparison of students calls ineligible PreK students ‘affluent’ though they may be ineglibile for different reasons (i.e., parent in the military) – needs clarification. Good point. How long is the assessment? Time is spread out over multiple days. 

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Exciting to see 1:1 testing for more accuracy. Any other assessments to measure skills that may not be included? Yes, as an example: running records for reading. PreK enrollment? 3,400 PreK3, 9,600 PreK4.

  • Trustee Marshall: How are we testing social-emotional component? Teacher completes checklist over 4-6-week observation. Concern on norming teachers for assessing students. We have and will continue to train teachers, and more importantly, to use information afterwards.

  • Trustee Henry: What does the assessment look like over time? District gave suggestion of timeline. Teacher uses technology to scroll through questions and the student verbally shares response. What feedback do students get? Teacher can suggest activities for home practice with parents.When is assessment completed? This year, only required once a year - September. Does this assessment allow for comparison outside of TX?No, only TX districts. Does only one teacher provide feedback? Yes.


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Admin Presentation:

The Dallas Education Foundation: 501C3 nonprofit designed to raise philanthropic funds for district.

Benefits of DEF:

  • additional resources would enhance educational programs

  • builds communication with community

  • can raise awareness of district needs

  • invites community to be a part of solution. 

Where the district is: Wants the foundation to be integrated with DISD, foundation must reinstate its 501C3 status and its governance structure. District has created a Memorandum of Understanding to protect DISD by approving the support for DEF & itemizing the commitment from the district and from the foundation. 

Next steps: Re-launch the foundation, confirm the board of directors, launch an ED search, identify funding priorities, and develop a plan of work. Ultimately, need approval of MOU.

Board Discussion: 

  • Trustee Marshall: Fully supportive. Elaborate on part-time ED? Part DEF, part district-employee = full time position. Please plan for growth of DEF team; need ED with deep relationships in business & philanthropy network.

  • Trustee Foreman: Historical perspective – experienced challenges. Don’t see goals, timelines, etc. How to hold DEF accountable? There is a strategic plan in place, we can share & make more specific. Can you share past disbursement of funds? Yes. Difference between Volunteer Partnerships and DEF? DEF is focused on corporate donations; VP is focused on specific needs (washer/dryer, etc.).

  • Trustee Solis: Let’s get it right this time. Understand tension between having goals and having someone (ED) to create goals. Suggestion – let’s shorten the 3-yr plan to a 1-yr plan, then build out if we trust the work.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Appreciate generosity of Dallas philanthropy. Agree, let’s get it right this time. Are we in good standing to launch? Yes – all corporate documents filed. Can we cap administrative spending if the DEF team were to grow? Can discuss and get board approval. Agree with Solis about 1-yr plan.

  • Trustee Henry: Agree on 1-yr period. Agree on exceptional talent for ED hire. ED should have strategic plan on goals, though MOU could include some measurements before the hire.

  • Trustee Blackburn: I’d like copies of past by-laws to ensure we get it right. Would like reports to share periodically with board. There is a retroactive payment from 2016 in the MOU? – Let’s take that out if possible.

  • Trustee Micciche: Let’s take a real hard look at why DEF has not succeeded in the past.


Admin Presentation:

Using the data from the Long Range Master Plan and the corresponding proposal from the Strategic Facilities Plan Version 1.1, district has detailed its recommendations for Phase 3 of the 2015 Bond. 

For Long Range Master plan, needed $1.6B to complete projects, specifically when looking at priorities 1 and 2.

  • Priorities 1: critical replacements of equipment & systems with 0-2 years left of utility.

  • Priorities 2: replacements of equipment & systems with 3-5 years left of utility.

In Phases 3-5 of Bond program, there were 121 projects identified. We have funding for $450M for these phases. Would need additional $1B to target priorities 1 and 2 for those 121 projects. 

Developed criteria to select projects for phase 3 from the original 121 – 

  • Facilities Condition index (FCI) Schools Ranking: highest (worst condition) to lowest (best condition).

  • Concentrate remaining dollars to schools that have not had any work done to them.

  • Address high schools as quickly as we can – recommend moving all high school projects forward.

  • Any building that exceeds 300 students, would be considered a part of phase 3 (if available funds).

  • Won’t put money into schools that need to be replaced in the future.

  • Maximum of 4 schools per district for each of the 9 districts. Ultimately selected 3 for each district.

Admin recommends 27 schools for phase 3 of bond program: Rosemont, North Dallas, Pershing, Gooch, De Zavala, Webster, N. Adams, B. Adams, Madison, Gill, Chapel Hill, Casa View, Donald, Carr, Silberstein, Hill, Holland, Martinez, Lanier, Jordan, Anderson, Central, Bonham Solar Prep, Mt. Auburn, Pinkston, Sunset, Rogers.

The 27 schools total $440M. We would have a $10M buffer. Admin reduced bond program to 3 phases (originally it was 5) to address school needs more quickly. 

Hope for future bond program that allows district to move all schools up to standard.

Following through with these recommendations allows: all high schools in great shape, makeover at several schools in every part of town, and shows taxpayers what our schools could look like for a future bond. 

Board Discussion:

Pinkerton: Concerns about Rosemont and its lower price tag. How do we tackle critical needs at other schools not on the list of recommended projects? We will utilize the maintenance department.

  • Trustee Marshall: The data we used for the 2015 bond compared to the facilities assessment data we received in the last year has resulted in a different prioritization of campus needs. We can’t get bogged down on different approach for a single school, need to stay macro so that we can prioritize across district.

  • Trustee Foreman: Some schools repeatedly receive bond money. Let’s make sure we are equitable.

  • Trustee Solis: Martinez has grown, what does support look like? Listed with priority 3 items (i.e., expand library).

  • Trustee Blackburn: Please consider growth in West Dallas when planning for Pinkston (Carr and De Zavala, too).

  • Trustee Micciche: Consider a bond program sooner than 2021 without raising the tax rate. Possible 2020 bond with big voter turnout.(Pinkerton – commercial paper program could help.)

  • Trustee Resendez: Please get FCI score for Pleasant Grove TAG School. That is a concern.


Admin Presentation:

Office of Racial Equity has chosen 3 areas of focus for quantitative data share: student access to schools of choice, enrollment of African American students, and student achievement on Advanced Placement exams. 

Data Point 1: Student Access to Programs by group – 

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Data Point 2: Student Enrollment

  • Admin presented a slide that demonstrated, on average, African American enrollment in the district has remained at a steady 22/23% of total district enrollment since 2014.

Data Point 3: Student Achievement on Advanced Placement Exams (AP)

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Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Henry: I see huge inequities. We have to start acting on this. This isn’t an issue just for DISD, but across the nation. I believe DISD can lead the way on this. 

  • ForeTrustee man: It all comes back to access, and for me, it’s by design. 

  • Trustee Solis: The data are what the data are. We need to see this, and we should not be afraid of being bold. 

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Nothing new to add considering my colleagues’ statements. 

  • Trustee Micciche: We are all behind this and have been behind equity from the beginning of this process.


Admin Presentation:

This agreement allows district to partner with other entities through SB1882 (higher ed institutions, non-profit organizations, or governmental entities). The schools and students that are a part of the partnership would still be DISD students and schools. This policy is required for the district to participate in partnerships. It is also a TASB recommendation, and the district’s legal department has made edits.


  • performance contracts will be generated to outline parameters for partnerships

  • schools will gain autonomies as participants (ex: adjusting calendar year or school-day schedule)

Potential Drawbacks:

  • If we engage in this process, there would be a governing body that supervises the campus principal, called “chief officer.”

  • There are also some non-negotiables – governing body would have purview of curriculum – but the district can negotiate this as it seeks partnerships.

  • Academic and financial goals are also decided on by this governing board.

Board Discussion:

  • Trustee Foreman: This reminds me of the home-rule charter, where partnership board takes away from the DISD School Board’s role. Concerned about who makes up the application review committee. 10-yr contracts with partners? Upto 10 yrs for the partner, but required 10-yr for in-district campus.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Why this need? DISD has made progress; partnerships enhance opportunities + resources for schools. Partnership would also have to be very unique and exciting before we consider partnership. Do we have any partners in mind? Yes, some ideas. DISD’s role? Details in performance contract would outline those specifics. Policy approval allows district to have partnership option – does not obligate it. Please run analysis on additional funding per student + consider board input for the application committee.

  • Trustee Marshall: Before we sign off, want to understand who is in charge of what (i.e., Who hires teachers?). We will share a sample of an agreement. If DISD is doing well, want to be careful proceeding forward by relinquishing authority. Let’s see what proposals bring us, we have plenty of schools in need.

  • Trustee Blackburn: Who pays for these partnerships? TEA gets final approval after DISD School Board approves. 

  • Trustee Henry: Can school board identify someone to be on the governing board? Yes. What other examples of responsibility can you share on the partner side? Partner could get final say on DISD employee hire at the campus. Shortest agreement? 3 yr. Primary concern - governance.

  • Trustee Micciche: What do we mean by charter? In-district charter, someone with whom we enter into agreement. Don’t want anyone to get impression we are turning our schools over to competitors at charter schools.

  • Trustee Pinkerton: Example of partnerships with governmental entities?City partnered with San Antonio ISD to support Pre-K.


For full video clips of board discussion or for a closer review of each agenda item. please visit the Board Docs site with all public materials. Questions about this summary? Email