• Declaration of Commitments and Covenants Upon Release from Court Supervision

    Whereas, it is the mission of the Dallas Independent School District to prepare all students to graduate with the knowledge and skills to become productive and responsible citizens;

    Whereas, the Dallas Independent School District Board of Trustees establishes the goal of becoming the finest urban school district in the United States by the end of this decade;

    Whereas, it is ultimately the responsibility of the Board of Trustees working with the Superintendent of Schools to assure that this mission is achieved;

    Whereas, since 1970 the Dallas Independent School District (The District) has been a defendant in the litigation now styled Tasby, et al. v. Moses, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division (the Court);

    Whereas, in 1994 the United States District Court held that the District had achieved unitary status and granted a three-year period to remedy certain deficiencies before being released from the jurisdiction of the Court; and,

    Whereas, the District desires to state its intention to maintain certain programs and policies should it be released from the jurisdiction of the United States District Court;The Board of Trustees of the Dallas Independent School District adopts the following Declaration of Commitments and Covenants.

    1. The Dallas Independent School District shall continue to operate a unitary school system and shall promote the availability of equal educational opportunities to all its students regardless of race, national origin, ethnicity, gender or religion. The District recognizes the particular importance of programs designed to accelerate achievement for students who have not achieved grade level status.

    2. The Dallas Independent School District is committed to principles of diversity at all levels of employment and shall recruit and assign quality teachers and administrators without regard to race, national origin, ethnicity, gender or religion. The District affirms its commitment to recruit and assign a staff representative of all racial and ethnic groups in the area served by the Dallas Independent School District.

    3. The Dallas Independent School District shall maintain a strong Early Childhood Program at each campus which includes PK-3 students. This program shall be based on current educational best practices, including but not limited to a diagnostic and prescriptive approach, a program facilitator at each campus which includes PK-3 students, emphasis on small group and individualized instruction, a comprehensive program that includes curriculum guides and supporting materials, appropriate staffing, increased parent involvement and training and a strong emphasis on mastery of essential skills by the end of the third grade level.

    4. The Dallas Independent School District shall continue to fund Dallas Community College District tuition credits and free music lessons and instruments for students who as of the date the District is released from supervision of the Court are enrolled in the majority-to-minority transfer program.

    5. The Dallas Independent School District shall maintain a program of magnet schools, including Montessori schools. The program shall offer unique educational opportunities through specialty curricula which cannot be found within the neighborhood schools. The program shall include the vanguards, academies, and high schools designated as magnet schools or Montessori schools at the date the District is released from supervision of the Court. The District shall maintain the Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center as a center for high school magnet programs. The District shall be diligent in its efforts to identify all eligible or qualified students, and to encourage parents and students to participate in the programs. It shall be the policy of the District that properly identified students shall be served without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or religion. The District shall carefully monitor the selection process so that no student or ethnic group is unfairly excluded. The District shall no less frequently than every three years evaluate all magnet and Montessori programs to determine appropriateness of the program, potential need for additional programs, and the degree to which the programs are ethnically diverse. Nothing herein shall limit the ability of the Board of Trustees to add additional programs or to modify or eliminate existing programs in accordance with the recommendations of the Districts evaluation. Criteria for determining whether programs should be added, modified or eliminated shall be included in the initial Special External Magnet Evaluation. The District shall maintain an advisory committee for each high school magnet school that will include specialists in the particular focus of the individual magnet school.

    6. The Dallas Independent School District shall maintain programs for talented and gifted students in all elementary, middle, and high schools in accordance with the requirements of State law. The District shall be diligent in its efforts to identify all eligible or qualified students, and to encourage parents and students to participate in the programs. It shall be the policy of the District that properly identified students shall be served without regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or religion. The District affirms the importance of encouraging and including ethnic minority students in high academic programs and courses. The District shall carefully monitor the selection process so that no student or ethnic group is unfairly excluded.

    7. The Dallas Independent School District shall maintain the South Dallas, West Dallas, and East Dallas Learning Centers. The District shall provide a Learning Center Management Plan to address administrative, staffing, evaluation, instructional and other issues important to the mission of these centers to support and further the achievement of the students. The District recognizes that these Learning Centers may develop exemplary practices that may be utilized in other District schools whose students are similar to those enrolled in the Learning Centers. The District may make revisions to the Learning Center Management Plan to focus funding, personnel, and programs on the specific needs of the students enrolled at a particular campus. These Centers shall continue to develop educational programs and practices to promote the long-term eradication of the under-education of this identified population.

    8. The District shall provide supplemental funding for students in at-risk situations, including those enrolled at campuses identified as low performing according to State or federal law.

    9. The District shall maintain Bilingual and English as a second language programs in grades PK-12 in a comprehensive effort to meet the affective, linguistic, and academic needs of LEP students. In elementary schools, the program shall focus on teaching English and subject matter through developmental bilingual classrooms, shared teaching, ESL self-contained classes, and send-in ESL teachers. In secondary schools, the ESL program shall provide LEP students with sequential instruction in ESL, sheltered English, and other sheltered content courses in mathematics, science, and social studies. The programs shall be based upon current best practices and shall be designed to help LEP students acquire English proficiency and facilitate their integration into the mainstream curriculum to ensure equal educational opportunity. The District shall encourage teachers to seek ESL certification and will provide professional development opportunities for the same.

    10. The District shall maintain a program of facility construction, addition, renovation, repair and maintenance which focuses on the priorities of health, safety, and avoidance of overcrowding. This program shall be administered without regard to the race, ethnicity, national origin, gender or religion of the students enrolled at a particular facility and without regard to the geographic location of the facility within the District. Attendance zones and feeder patterns shall recognize the importance of diverse student populations where feasible. District operating and bond funds shall be budgeted and expended using the following priorities: (a) facilities which are safe and secure and compliant with the requirements of the ADA shall be the top priority; (b) regular maintenance and repair of the Districts facilities in order to preserve these assets; and (c) the program of maintenance, repair, renovation and construction shall be maintained in accordance with these priorities. The Superintendent of Schools shall present an annual facilities plan for the coming calendar year.

    11. The General Superintendent shall be required to report to the Board of Trustees annually on these commitments and covenants. The goal of these commitments shall be increasing student achievement throughout the District for all students in the District.

    12. These commitments and covenants shall be subject to and conditioned upon the normal authority of the Board of Trustees and the Superintendent of Schools with regard to matters of personnel assignment and funding priorities. These commitments and covenants shall further be subject to the constitution and laws of the United States and the State of Texas.

    13. This Declaration of Commitments and Covenants shall be the official policy of the Dallas Independent School District. This policy shall take effect immediately upon the release of the District from supervision of the United States District Court by a final court order. This policy shall be subject to Board of Trustee review to determine its further application three years from the date the District is released from the supervision of the United States District Court. While this policy is in effect, a vote of seven of the then-sitting members of the Board of Trustees shall be required to modify, alter, amend, repeal or vacate this policy.