Bright Spots

Introducing the Bright Spot Blog Series


25 January 2016

Every day, roughly 50 independent and public charter districts educate over 490,000 students across Dallas County; if the County was a state, its K-12 population would rank higher than the K-12 enrollment of 24 states in the U.S.! In other words, what happens here, and what is achieved, has real significance to both our state and our nation.

Across this diverse landscape, numerous school districts and campuses – often without fanfare or recognition of any kind – have been achieving outlier success in their quest to improve the odds for more of their learners. To celebrate that achievement, we’ll be publishing a series of blog posts in the weeks leading up to the release of the Partnership’s 4th annual Community Achievement Scorecard in March. You can check back here, on Facebook or on Twitter using #DallasBrightSpots. You can download the accompanying full PDF story for this first bright spots blog post here.

In this first installment, we recognize those partner districts earning notable growth since the Partnership was formed in 2012. It was then that we started to compile 11 indicators across Dallas County, ranging from enrollment of eligible Pre-K students to Postsecondary Completion rates for all public high school students within six years of graduation. Four of those 11 indicators represent State of Texas STAAR exams (3rd grade reading, 4th grade math, 8th grade science, and Algebra 1). As you can see below, more than 7,500 additional students have met proficiency benchmarks in these four benchmarks since the Commit! Partnership’s inception.

    We took a look at the data released via the Texas Education Agency’s 2014-15 Texas Academic Performance Report and found some of the following “bright spots” over the past 3 years when we examined the Level II: Final Recommended/Postsecondary Readiness Standard:
  • Overall, Dallas County public schools have increased proficiency across the Partnership’s four STAAR indicators by 2% since 2012, with an additional ~7,500 students proficient than when the Commit! Partnership was formed. In terms of combined increases in proficiency across these indicators, Coppell ISD (up 7%), and Dallas ISD and Lancaster ISD (both up 6%) led the region.
  • In terms of absolute proficiency rates, Highland Park ISD led the region across three of the four STAAR subjects in 2014-15 (Coppell ISD led in 8th grade Science) while Richardson ISD also consistently performed well due in part to its relative proficiency with low-income populations.
  • In terms of growth in the numbers of proficient students, Dallas ISD (with 4,000+ additional students proficient since 2012 despite a declining enrollment) comprised over half of the region’s collective three-year gain, a fact not surprising given both its increased proficiency of 6% and its relative size.
  • While 3rd grade Reading represented the region’s biggest challenge vs. the state (the County’s overall proficiency fell by 2% relative to the state over the last three years), Irving ISD (up 5%) and Coppell ISD (up 4%) showed outlier growth.
  • In 4th grade Math, the region kept pace with state’s growth of 2% since 2012, driven by the outlier performance of Coppell ISD (up a substantial 17%), Irving ISD (up 11%), Duncanville and Carrollton Farmers Branch ISDs (both up 6%) and Dallas ISD (up 4%).
  • In 8th grade Science, the region’s overall proficiency growth of 4% was faster than the state’s growth since 2012, driven by the outlier performance of Lancaster ISD (up a notable 18%), Mesquite ISD (up 12%), Dallas ISD (up 11%), DeSoto ISD (up 7%), and Grand Prairie ISD and Cedar Hill ISD (both up 5%).
  • In Algebra 1, the region’s overall proficiency growth of 3% slightly trailed the state since 2012, driven by the outlier performance of both Grand Prairie and Highland Park ISDs (both up 11%), Dallas ISD (up 10%), Coppell and Carrollton Farmers Branch ISDs (both up 9%), and Lancaster ISD (up 6%).