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Want to Get More Involved in the Dallas ISD? Then Here You Go. But It Ain't Free.

Want to Get More Involved in the Dallas ISD? Then Here You Go. But It Ain't Free.

Over the last couple of weeks I've received numerous emails suggesting I sign up for something called Leadership DISD, which promises to develop "education-focused, informed leaders within the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) service area who affect positive change and help to lead support efforts to bring about significant improvements in student achievement." OK, sounds good so far. The principal at my son's school certainly thinks so: She sent a heads-up to parents just this morning.

Last week I asked around to see what exactly this is. I was told it's the brainchild of newly installed trustee Mike Morath and Bob Weiss, the Meadows Foundation's veep for administration. And, sure enough, Morath's the trustee quoted in the press release I just received from Patricia Arvanitis, chair of Leadership DISD's board of directors (which also includes Weiss) and president of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts PTSA:

"To provide the best environment for student achievement, DISD needs great volunteers engaged in supporting the District at all levels," said Mike Morath, DISD District 2 Trustee. "Leadership DISD is an excellent way for individuals who weren't sure how to get involved to become highly effective and engaged in supporting public education in Dallas and to support the positive changes that are happening here."

The full release follows, and the site has much, much more info about the monthly half-day seminars, which kick off in September with one titled "The Dallas ISD Landscape." Only, this may be a deal-breaker for some: The class, and it is a class, will run you $200, which, per the press release, "includes the orientation, all sessions and meals, course materials, the class project, and the graduation."

I left Arvanitis a message, just so we could talk more about the program. But I've been told the goal of the program's twofold: to groom folks to run for the school board (since no one bothered to run this go-round) and to get parents involved in their kids' schools. And a fund is being set up at Communities Foundation of Texas that will allow for contributions to subsidize some of the costs. A follow-up item, no doubt. Now jump.

LEADERSHIP DISD ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR INAUGURAL CLASS

DALLAS (July 28, 2011): Leadership DISD, a community-based leadership development program, is now accepting applications for the 2011-2012 cohort. Leadership DISD develops community members passionate about public education into informed advocates of, and empowered volunteers for, the Dallas Independent School District (DISD). These education-focused community leaders are then well-positioned to serve as volunteers in a variety of roles including on DISD Site Based Decision Making (SBDM) committees, volunteer board task force committees, and other leadership positions, and help strengthen DISD by advancing the broader education reform discussion within the community.

Open to all who live and work within and near the DISD service area, Leadership DISD strives for geographic balance, with spots reserved for residents of all DISD trustee districts and high school feeder patterns. Participants include parents, community volunteers, business leaders and anyone else passionate about education. While current educators are welcome to apply, the main objective is to train and empower those not already working in education. Leadership DISD costs a participant only $200, which includes the orientation, all sessions and meals, course materials, the class project, and the graduation. Application materials are available on the Leadership DISD website at www.leadershipdisd.org. Completed applications must be received by 5:00 pm on Friday, September 2nd.

Each Leadership DISD cohort begins their year in September with an orientation during which they engage in teambuilding, discuss advanced leadership concepts, and receive an intensive introduction to the Leadership DISD experience. Starting in October, the cohort meets on the second Friday of each month for a half-day seminar focused on a particular theme in education. Sample topics include:

* The Achievement Gap: Understanding Our Schools & Overcoming Demographics in Education
* Schools and their Communities: Building Parental & Volunteer Support
* Paying For Education: Texas Public School Finance & DISD Budgeting
* Educational Accountability: Federal, State, and Board Policy on Student Achievement and Teacher Evaluation
* Educational Leadership: Governance, Goal-setting, and Development of School Leaders
* Educating for the 21st Century: Current Trends in Education and Schools of the Future

To direct their acquired knowledge and experience into positive action, each cohort designs and implements its own education-focused community service initiative as a capstone project for the program year.

"To provide the best environment for student achievement, DISD needs great volunteers engaged in supporting the District at all levels," said Mike Morath, DISD District 2 Trustee. "Leadership DISD is an excellent way for individuals who weren't sure how to get involved to become highly effective and engaged in supporting public education in Dallas and to support the positive changes that are happening here."

For more information please go to our website, www.leadershipdisd.org or contact us at leadershipdisd@gmail.com.

About Dallas ISD and Leadership DISD: Dallas Independent School District serves more than 157,000 students in over 220 schools. The 14th largest district in the country, DISD serves a diverse population of students across Dallas. Leadership DISD, an independent non-profit, was developed by DISD parents and community members to support the students and District through informed volunteerism with the goal of creating a stronger DISD through community engagement.

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