Education

At "Open Mike" Session, DISD Superintendent Miles Looks to the Future

They weren't mentioned. Not once. No one, not the parents, not the teachers from other schools nor longtime critic and DISD trustee Joyce Foreman, asked DISD Superintendent Mike Miles about the "reptile's nest" of instant messages sent between former members of the district's human resources department at a parental forum held by the district Tuesday night.

Miles, who kept things pretty brief because he said he had to get the airport, took questions from parents who were concerned about unfair application of DISD's truancy policy, about whether early childhood and pre-kindergarten programs might be expanded to seven days. When, more than one person asked, would the district begin to reopen the 11 schools closed since 2012.

Miles gave those asking some hope on that front. He pointed to D.A. Hulcy Middle School. Hulcy's Polk Street campus is set to reopen in August. For the 2015-2016 school year, it will only take sixth grade students and will expand by one grade each in subsequent years. The school will be one of the "choice schools" promoted as part of DISD's 2020 plan. It will have a focus -- STEM subjects plus the arts in Hulcy's case -- like the district's magnet schools but it won't have academic admissions requirements.

See also: DISD's Revolutionary Change Is a Better Story than Naughty Text Messages

The superintendent pushed, as he has so many times before, the urgency of the reforms he's instituted in his district.

"We have got to keep pushing and transforming," he said. "We don't have time, our children don't have time for us to chill out, to take a break, to take that tranquilizing drug of gradualism."

A district board meeting called for Monday promises to be more interesting. That meeting will feature, in open and closed sessions, discussions of the preliminary review of behavior in the HR office. Miles' handling of the finding of that review will also be discussed.

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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young