The Commit Partnership is pleased to announce a new regional recognition program, The Dallas County Economic Mobility Awards.
The 2023 program is awarding $25,000 to each public school district or public charter network in recognition of exceptional performance (often accomplished by bold innovation) in creating the numerous conditions that will allow its students experiencing economic disadvantage to have a significantly greater chance of attaining a postsecondary credential and a family-sustaining living wage.
The superintendents of each recognized district or network will distribute the monetary award to the select leaders who they feel have played the most pivotal roles in achieving this exceptional performance.
In making these awards, we looked at both absolute performance and growth across several key areas within those districts and charter networks primarily serving an economically-disadvantaged enrollment, including:
New policies and practices that introduce significant transparency and goal setting in partnership with their governing boards regarding the long-term college and career success of their students.
Student college and career readiness per national and state assessments (SAT, ACT, TSIA).
The percentage of students completing significant college credit within high school (including achievement of associate degrees).
The percentage of students enrolling in post-secondary institutions or receiving industry certifications.
State funding per student based the district's college, career and military readiness outcomes (made possible by the 2019 passage of HB3).
The average salary of their young alumni (ages 25-30) currently working in Texas.
Commit is recognizing three districts for exemplary 2023 performance:
Garland ISD has become the regional leader in qualifying for state outcomes for its over 52,000 students, 72% of whom are economically-disadvantaged. The district earned almost twice the percentage of potential state college, career and military readiness (CCMR) outcomes funding of its Dallas County peers. By creating early college and P-TECH offerings at each of its comprehensive high schools, Garland also led the county in the percentage of students receiving industry certifications and in the percentage of current seniors with 15+ hours of college credit (24%). Students who do so are three times more likely to complete postsecondary credentials than students graduating high school without any college credit.
Dallas ISD is the largest district in Dallas County and the second largest in the state of Texas. In 2023, more than 11% of the district’s graduating class earned associate degrees from Dallas College concurrent with their diplomas, thanks to the six early college high schools and P-TECH programming with industry partners at every one of its comprehensive high schools. Dallas ISD is also creating four state-of-the-art career institutes to provide ~14,000 students with high quality career, technical and education training. The district's 4% growth in CCMR outcomes funding was the highest among the 10 largest districts in Texas, outpacing flat state growth. Finally, Dallas ISD recently become the first public district in Dallas County to require its administration to annually report to its governing board on the enrollment, college and career readiness and completion success of its graduates.
Uplift Education serves over 22,000 students, and 56% of its alumni ages 25-30 who work in Texas have associate degrees or higher, more than twice the Dallas County average. Uplift young alumni are earning an average salary of over $69,000, the highest among Dallas County districts and charter networks serving a majority economically-disadvantaged population, and 58% higher than the overall county average for public school alumni of $45,000. Uplift's student body is 82% economically disadvantaged, consistent with the county. Uplift's success is in part made possible by philanthropic support of the network's Road to College program, which allows them to invest roughly twice the amount per high school student in access and alumni support than its county peers. Future results will be bolstered by a recent $14 million national grant to Uplift's partnership with Baylor Scott and White, allowing it to offer healthcare careers to students both directly out of high school and to alumni once they complete their two-year or four-year postsecondary credential.
“While we’re thrilled to recognize these inaugural awardees, we stand ready to collaborate and support every district in the area. We hope all districts will eventually participate in this award as they innovate and invest more deeply in new strategies that can be resourced and sustained by their state CCMR success funding. In addition to Commit’s resources, numerous regional and national philanthropic investors also help accelerate innovation because of Dallas County’s scale and the critical growth needed on behalf of our students, our neighborhoods, and our communities.”