Case Studies

Dallas Independent School District: 2015 – 2016


The Dallas Independent School District (DISD) sits in the heart of a large, diverse and dynamic region with a metropolitan population of 6.5 million people in the 12 counties in North Central Texas. The district is the second-largest public school district in the state, and the 14th-largest district in the nation. In March 2015, the district released the Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative to transform campuses that were designated as Improvement Required (IR) by the Texas Education Agency for multiple years. The Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) initiative was based on the principle that transforming schools requires strong leadership, effective teachers and an environment of high expectations for students and staff. The ACE program offered competitive stipends to incentivize top teachers and principals to relocate to some of the district’s most challenged schools.


Through close communication and collaboration with the ACE Schools Senior Executive Director, the following areas of need were identified:

  • Objective assessment of high impact systems or “big rocks” for seven schools in the ACE program
  • Identification of growth areas
  • Recommendations for improvement


  • School Diagnostics performed for each school in the ACE program at the beginning, middle, and end of the year consisting of evidence-based ratings on the big rocks of culture and instructional strategies. The school diagnostics also identified strengths, upgrades, and provided recommendations for improvement.
  • DISD ACE Schools / BRES aligned framework created and used for the school diagnostics. The framework identifies two big rocks that lead to school success and aligns the DISD Teacher Excellence Initiative rubric with the BRES frameworks.


  • The School Diagnostics enabled the ACE Schools Senior Executive Director and principals to prioritize, plan and implement the big rocks to increase student achievement.
  • The Aligned Framework ensures consistent assessment of the big rocks for the seven schools in the ACE program.
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