Thursday, November 15, 2012

The greatest 5 years of progress in history of DISD, & what?!

Everyone agrees that Dallas ISD has just completed 5 of the most progressive years in DISD history, progress where the seeds were sewn in 2006.

Using any one of a half dozen graduation rate measurements, the graduation rate has gone up more than 10 percentage points, and more than 20 percentage points by some of those measurements!  At the same time the numbers of students taking the SAT and ACT have increased, doubling the percentage taking the ACT, and scores have not gone down. (Yes, scores are low. That is an area demanding work, but average scores are not going down as the numbers of students taking the ACT test has doubled, a definite achievement.) 
Dallas ISD Enrollment 1996-2012 demonstrating attrition and graduation rate improvements
(Right click above spreadsheet and hit "open link" to enlarge and/or print.)
Each year in the above chart there are 5 separate measurements related to student movement toward graduation. Compare the five years before 2007 with the five years since.  Notice how all but one of the measurements in the most recent 5 years since 2006/07 have been positive improvements from the previous year.  (Gray blocks are ones with no progress but a step back.) During the previous 5 years, from 2002/03 to 2006/07, only 13 of the 25 measurements were positive with 12 measurements being steps backwards.  Something major changed within DISD!! 

We must not lose this momentum!  We have the staff who can do it!  That is, we used to have them. 

DISD lost too many staff with the 1,400 staff lost due to budget cuts, and now the additional staff leaving due to crowded classrooms and other pressures hindering work on student performance within DISD.

The best teachers teach because they enjoy helping students achieve. As long as salaries and working conditions are positive enough that teachers can provide for their own family, they enjoy working to help students achieve. When that satisfaction from a job well done becomes more rare and hard to come by in a district, that is when teachers leave seeking that priceless satisfaction elsewhere in another district or school.  What is happening in DISD to keep such priceless teachers?