Case Studies

Dallas Independent School District: 2016 – 2017


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.

THE NEED for the project

The Dallas ISD ACE core staff spent the prior spring and summer identifying their strategic priorities or big rocks they planned to implement for the upcoming 2016-2017 school year.  The team needed objective data to be able to benchmark their progress and recommendations on the steps to take for successful implementation.

what was the project?

  • School Diagnostics performed for each of the seven schools 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 identify strengths and upgrades as well as the specific steps necessary to implement improvements.
  • Professional Developments delivered targeting specific ACE big rocks to help with implementation. Using data collected from the school diagnostics and conversations from the team, two half-day professional developments were delivered.  The first professional development focused on effective observation and feedback.  The second centered around delivering systems to hire for core values.

WHY was this project chosen?

The highest performing schools spend their time and energy focused on what moves student achievement the most. Having the right data helps the seven principals know specifically which big rock changes need to be made and guides the team and BRES to identify the most appropriate professional development to deliver.

PROCESS FOR how the project was implemented

  • Collaborative conversations occurred between the Dallas ISD ACE Schools Assistant Superintendent and ACE Coordinator to determine the greatest areas of need.

  • ACE big rocks framework created, with rubric, to clearly define and objectively assess highest impact instructional strategies and culture in preparation for the school diagnostics.

  • School diagnostics performed three times during the school year using the ACE big rocks framework and rubrics to collect data.

  • Report of findings presentation delivered at the end of each school diagnostics with data based strengths, upgrades and recommendations with step by step directions on how to implement, enabling each principal and the Dallas ISD ACE core staff to make necessary changes and upgrades.

  • Professional development delivered using data collected from the school diagnostics and conversations from the team to further improve ACE big rocks.

CLIENT BENEFIT – where are they now?