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Help The Concilio ‘Inspire Families to Achieve Big Dreams’ on November 14!

On November 14, nonprofit The Concilio is hosting their annual fundraiser, ‘Inspiring Families to Achieve Big Dreams’ from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at eM the Venue (1500 Dragon Street, Suite D, Dallas, TX 75207). Presenting sponsor for the event is Target. Join us for an evening of live music and dancing, a silent auction, photo opportunities and food and drink as we celebrate another successful year of empowering parents to get involved in their child’s education.  Attendees have a chance to bid on memorabilia from the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers, as well as fabulous pieces from Na Hoku and James Avery. Tickets to the event are $50 and can be purchased at their website. Proceeds will benefit the Parents Advocating for Student Excellence (PASE) program. PASE helps parents, in particular those from low-income families, learn how to take charge of their children’s educations to improve student achievement, attendance and higher education enrollment. The Concilio serves approximately 2,000 families annually in communities all around North Texas. For more information, go to www.theconcilio.org or check them out on their Facebook and Twitter pages.  RSVP to events@theconcilio.org.

Community Action Breakfast Unites Leaders Around Student Outcomes

Nearly 300 leaders representing more than 150 organizations came together for the Commit! Partnership’s Community Action Breakfast on October 24. Hosted at the Communities Foundation of Texas, the convening was another meaningful step forward in supporting every child in Dallas County from cradle to career. The breakfast began with an overview of the Partnership, its approach and progress to date. Attending were several members of Support Councils and existing Action Networks, committed individuals who have been driving the work. Of particular focus during the opening session was local student achievement data being used to prioritize action along the cradle-to-career pipeline. To view the presentation and our responses to many of the audiences FAQs, click below.  Following the opening presentation, attendees broke out into smaller groups to dive more deeply into outcome-oriented focus areas: Early Childhood (Kindergarten Readiness and 3rd Grade Reading): Nearly 75 attendees stayed to learn more and discuss the many factors impacting school readiness. For a full recap, click here. Postsecondary Enrollment: Roughly 40 attendees broke out to learn about and plug into 6 projects to help more students continue their education beyond high school. For more, click here. Workforce Alignment/STEM: More than 45 attendees began to shape how we can better equip students with the skills and credentials needed in the workforce of tomorrow. To catch up on this conversation, click here. Want to get involved but unsure where to start? Click here to get involved with the work.

Workforce Alignment and STE(A)M: Beginning the Conversation

For the Commit! Partnership to become a true “cradle to career” effort, we must better align our education system to the demands of our regional workforce. As part of last Thursday’s Community Action Breakfast, stakeholders representing K-12 and higher education, nonprofit organizations, and the private sector came together to review some initial data and discuss two critical topics: Alignment between Postsecondary Education and the Workforce, with a focus on "soft skills" Student achievement in Math and Science in Grades 4-12 While seemingly distinct, employers often identify a combination of these “soft” (or non-cognitive) and academic skills as those most essential to success in the workplace. So, what programs in our community are developing non-cognitive skills (teamwork, oral communication, perseverance, etc.), and how do we know they work? A variety of programs – art-based, leadership development, internships – surfaced. While non-cognitive skills are notoriously difficult to measure, the group shared some ideas already in practice, including longitudinal data (attendance, discipline referrals, etc.) and other teacher-derived measurements. The next discussion topic centered on Math and Science education in Grades 4-12. Given the large variance in performance between schools, especially between those with large numbers of economically disadvantaged students, the group brainstormed possible ways to bridge this gap, including career exposure (especially in the middle school years), in- and out-of-school curriculum design, and investing more heavily in teacher recruitment and development. This rich discussion was the first step in a longer process to begin scoping collaborative work. If you’re interested in contributing ideas or input as the process unfolds, please contact Sagar Desai at sagar.desai@commit2dallas.org.

Early Childhood Education: Help Shape Our Work

Across our country, there is a widening gap in achievement between low-income children and their more advantaged peers. This gap is apparent before a child even reaches school and often persists throughout his or her educational career. Research consistently finds that low-income children enter school 1.5 years behind.[1] By preventing this achievement gap, our community has the opportunity to significantly impact the long-term academic success of our children. Recognizing that many factors impact a child’s readiness for school, the Commit! Partnership has adopted a framework that includes: Ready Families: Parent education and engagement Ready Communities: Resources and supports for children and families Ready Services: Early Childhood Education: Access to quality early childhood education Ready Services: Health: Access to quality physical and mental health services Ready Schools: A school’s readiness to support student success For a closer look at some of the local data being used to focus collective efforts particularly around Ready Schools, Ready Families and Ready Services, check out this presentation from Thursday’s Community Action Breakfast: If you’re interested in learning more or helping to shape this work, you’re invited to join a working group scheduled for late November. More details coming soon! [1] Promoting Effective Early Learning: What Every Policymaker and Educator Should Know. (2007). New York, NY: National Center for Children in Poverty  

Llaves del Éxito/Keys to Success College Fair for Families

While high school juniors and seniors are busy thinking about homework, exams, proms and graduation, their college clock is ticking.  Time is flying as they text each other, do homework, attend football games and keep up with the latest news on their favorite social networks. Yes, their college clock is ticking and time is flying, and those students must look ahead, plan for the future and learn more about the steps they need to take to earn a college degree. The Keys to Success/Las Llaves del Exito can help.  The free, one-day college fair for families will be held on Sat., Oct. 26, at the University of North Texas at Dallas.  Presented by Dr Pepper, in partnership with the Dallas County Community College District and the Dallas Independent School District, the event will provide students with the keys they need to succeed in higher education, including information about how to navigate the system so that they can attend a college or university.  Focusing on students in grades 6 through 12, the free program is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at UNT-Dallas, 7300 University Hills Blvd.  Registration is scheduled in Building 7400, located on the south side of the campus.  Parents are invited, and breakfast will be provided. In addition to sessions about preparing for college, deciding on a career pathway and understanding financial aid (FAFSA/TASFA), students can apply for the Dr Pepper Tuition Giveaway and meet La Grande 107.5 radio personality Shoboy.  Several workshops in Spanish and English are scheduled for parents as well. Other partners include: the University of Texas at Dallas, the Greater Dallas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Education Is Freedom, Capital One Bank University Crossroads, Ford, La Grande 107.5, Texas A&M University-Commerce, New York Life, McDonald’s, Dallas County Schools, LULAC National Education Service Centers Inc., Univision 23, Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington and Wells Fargo Bank. More than 1,100 participants attended last fall’s event, and more than 200 volunteers will work with students and their parents this year, providing practical information to help them become college-bound.  (A related spring 2014 event will be scheduled specifically for high school juniors and seniors.) College representatives, admissions specialists and financial aid advisors will talk to families about the application process and the steps they need to take to be considered for admission and financial aid. For more information, call the DCCCD office of outreach at (214) 378-1738 or DCCCD’s Spanish-language line at (214) 378-1713.  Details also are available at Las Llaves or www.dcccd.edu/KeysToSuccess.

Celebrate Fitness and Nutrition at ¡Vive tu Vida! Get Up, Get Moving!

The Concilio’s 7th annual ¡Vive tu Vida! Get Up, Get Moving! family health and fitness fair is Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kiest Park Recreation Center, 3080 South Hampton Road. Special guests include media personality Gloria Campos of WFAA Channel 8, Councilmember Dwaine Caraway, District 4 and Councilmember Scott Griggs, District 1. This is not just another health fair.  It’s a celebration of health and well-being as well as a promotion of healthy habits for the entire family. Parents and kids alike can enjoy this free event that emphasizes the importance of fitness and nutrition in an exciting, engaging way. Bring the kids, friends and loved ones for a fun day at Kiest Park! The United States has become increasingly diverse in the last century. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, approximately 36 percent of the U.S. population belongs to a racial or ethnic minority group, and some minorities experience a disproportionate burden of preventable disease, death, and disability compared with non-minorities. In an effort to combat these high rates of preventable diseases and hospitalizations, Get Up, Get Moving offers families the chance to receive free health screenings and education. On-site screenings include kidney, prostate, glucose/cholesterol, and dental screenings. The event also offers free HIV and syphilis testing.  With an emphasis on nutrition and physical fitness, family-friendly activities include inflatables, sports and fitness clinics, healthy cooking demonstrations and food trucks. This year’s event also boasts the largest attempted Zumbathon in Dallas! The event is sponsored by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and presented locally by Baylor Health Care System. For more information, please visit www.theconcilio.org or check them out on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

By |September 30th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Stories of Impact: Grand Prairie ISD: Improving Student Engagement and Academic Achievement through a Single-Gender Middle School Strategy

By |September 23rd, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

RSVP for the October 24 Community Action Breakfast

  Community Action Breakfast October 24th, 2013 from 8:30am to 12:00pm Communities Foundation of Texas5500 Caruth Haven Lane, Dallas TX

By |September 18th, 2013|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Welcome, new Dallas ISD teachers!

On Monday evening, 400 new Dallas ISD teachers gathered downtown to kick-off the school year at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. After welcoming words by Mayor Rawlings, Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Phillip Jones, and Perot Vice President of Programs Steve Hinkley, guests mingled, enjoyed refreshments, and explored the museum to the tunes of DJ Sober. The event wrapped up with some dancing and a raffle that gave a few lucky folks prizes to take home at the end of the night! The Dallas ISD New Teacher Welcome Reception was made possible by ReimaginEDallas, a project of the Commit! Partnership, and a number of local organizations, including the the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, MEplusYOU, Avant Garden, Heart of Dallas, muralists from the Sour Grapes crew, the Texas Rangers and Dallas Mavericks. TZOM Films was also on hand to capture the evening, and we're excited to share the event through video. We hope that guests made some new friends and had a fun-filled evening, and felt the immense respect and gratitude we have for the hard work of our community’s educators. We wish all teachers (and students!) a smooth transition as classes begin on August 26th, and a successful school year ahead!

Commit! to Literacy: Volunteer with South Oak Cliff and Molina

We're excited to share unique volunteer opportunities throughout August in 14 Dallas ISD elementary schools that feed into South Oak Cliff and Molina high schools, serving over 8,000 students in Southwest Dallas. Principals and teachers at these schools have been hard at work planning for the year ahead, and they need your help as they rev up for the first day of class and set the foundation for our kids' success. Literacy centered classrooms and an aspirational college-going culture will help set that foundation. At the end of 3rd grade, children make the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Hence, a child's ability to read on grade level by the end of 3rd grade is a strong indicator of his or her future; fewer than 1 in 5 children who read below grade level in 3rd grade go on to college. Over the next three Saturdays (Aug. 3, 10, and 17), you can help by: Working with teachers to help set up student-centric classrooms that advance literacy Promoting a college culture by hanging banners outside of classrooms and decorating the doors with college themed materials We will have complete directions and supplies at each of the schools. All you need is enthusiasm and energy! In addition to impacting thousands of students, all volunteers will be rewarded with a free ticket to the Heart of Dallas Classic football game and entry to the State Fair of Texas! To participate, please complete this brief Dallas ISD volunteer application and sign up for your preferred day, time and project here. Please forward this email to your networks!                 Thank you for your time and support of children across our community. To learn more about the Commit! Partnership or if you have questions, please email marnie.glaser@commit2dallas.org.