Dallas Independent School District

Dallas Independent School District
“Our mission is to prepare all students to graduate with the knowledge and skills to become productive and responsible citizens.”[1]
3700 Ross Avenue, Dallas, TX, 75204
United States of America
District information
Grades PK - 12 [2]
Superintendent Michael Hinojosa
Budget $1,618,362,513 [2]
Students and staff
Students 160,253 [2]
Teachers 11,103 [2]
Staff 3,774 [2]
Other information
Website www.dallasisd.org
DISD Human Development Office

The Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD or DISD) is a school district based in Dallas, Texas (USA). Dallas ISD, which operates schools in much of Dallas County, is the second largest school district in Texas and the twelfth largest in the United States.

In 2014, the school district was rated "as having met the standard" by the Texas Education Agency.

General information

Location and area

Dallas ISD covers 312.6 square miles (809.6 km2) of land (map) and most of the city of Dallas. The district also serves Cockrell Hill, most of Seagoville and Addison, Wilmer, most of Hutchins, and portions of the following cities:[3][4]

In addition, Dallas ISD covers unincorporated areas of Dallas County, including some areas with Ferris addresses.


The Dallas public school district in its current form was first established in Dallas in 1884,[5] although there is evidence that public schools had existed for Dallas prior to that date.[6] Mayor W. L. Cabell ordered just one month after the June 16, 1884, district founding that "all former Ordinances in relation to the city public school are hereby repealed," and the district's 1884-85 superintendent, a Mr. Boles, had enrollment figures for each year from 1880 through his own tenure;[7] furthermore, the Dallas Directory of 1873 expressed regret that "there are no public schools in Dallas," while the 1875 Directory said that "the schools are near perfection."[8] The 1884 organizational meeting coincides with changes in statewide education law establishing a system of school districts, each to be assigned its own number, with the ability to levy taxes and raise funds as well as to determine the length of school terms and other educational decisions; the state superintendent of schools, Benjamin M. Baker, also praised the new law's abandonment of tying teachers' salaries to the number of pupils attending, a practice he called "a relic of barbarism."[9]

At the time of the 1884 organization, six schools already were operating; four schools were designated for whites and two for "colored,"[10] as segregation was the legal policy at the time. Booker T. Washington High School is one of these original schools, beginning as "Colored School No. 2" in 1884 and adopting its later name in 1902.[11]

Dallas ISD has absorbed many smaller school districts throughout its history. Vickery Independent School District was annexed into Dallas ISD (adding Vickery Meadows) in 1948. Pleasant Grove ISD was annexed in 1954 (adding Pleasant Grove), and Pleasant Grove High School was replaced by Samuell High School in the same year. Seagoville ISD of Seagoville was annexed into Dallas ISD in 1965.

Other schools and school districts annexed by Dallas ISD include:

The school system expanded from offering 11 grades to a modern 12-year program as of 1941. Initially, the change was resisted by families who felt the additional year would be too expensive, though others promoted the addition of a further year of athletics and some anticipated an ability for gifted students to finish the 12-year program in as little as 10.5 years, although that hope did not prove a reality.[14] The period from 1946 to 1966 saw rapid construction of schools, with 97 of the district's school buildings erected during this period, at a peak of 17 schools in 1956 alone.[15]

School desegregation was a gradual process that did not begin for nearly six years after the United States Supreme Court made its May 17, 1954, Brown v. Board of Education decision, nullifying the previous doctrine of "separate but equal" public facilities. The Dallas school board commissioned studies over the next several months, deciding in August, 1956, that desegregation was premature and that the segregated system would stay in place for 1956-57.[16] Texas passed legislation in 1957 requiring that districts not integrate their schools unless district residents voted to approve the change; an August, 1960, election for this purpose ended with voters rejecting desegregation. Meanwhile, a lawsuit was filed by the district against the state superintendent on August 13, 1958, with the goal of a resolution of conflicts between federal and state courts on the subject of integration.[16]

In 1960 the district initially adopted a plan to desegregate grade by grade, starting with the 1961 first-grade class, and proceed year by year until desegregation had been achieved; the plan was amended only weeks later to provide for movement of students at parent request. The year 1965 brought substantial changes to this process, as on September 1, 1965, the elementary schools were ordered desegregated, initially to be followed by the junior high schools in 1966 and the senior high schools in 1967; however, the Fifth Circuit United States Court issued an order on September 7 that led to amending the ruling so that all twelve grades must be desegregated as of September 1, 1965.[16] A book on the history of DISD published the following year by the school district made the statement, "Desegregation of the Dallas Schools was accomplished in the course of ten short years with a minimum of commotion and stress ... [due to] the patient and sympathetic understanding ... and the flinty determination of the School Board ... to serve the public in their lawfully constituted duty."[17] In September 1967 Dallas ISD states that its schools were desegregated.[18] During another desegregation suit in the 1970s, a judge suggested that students from different schools could interact via television instead of forcing desegregation busing in the district. The judge liked the plan, while the parties filing suit did not.[19]

After the forced busing desegregation, in the 1970s many White American students and families withdrew from district schools en masse.[20]

In 1996 DISD announced that it would en masse rezone many areas to different schools. DISD officials said that the rezoning, which would affect over 40 campuses, would be the largest such rezoning since at least the 1950s.[21]

In the summer of 2005, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) ordered the Wilmer-Hutchins Independent School District closed for the 2005–2006 school year due to financial stress and reported mismanagement. After negotiations, Dallas ISD agreed to accept the students for the 2005–2006 school year. The Wilmer-Hutchins ISD district was absorbed into Dallas ISD in summer 2006.

Dallas ISD opened 11 new campuses in the fall of 2006.[22] The district incorporated the WHISD territory via "Plan K," adopted on November 30, 2006.[23]

From 2005 to 2007, several northwest Dallas area public schools under Dallas ISD jurisdiction became infamous due to the outbreak of a Dallas-area recreational drug, a version of heroin mixed with Tylenol PM, called "cheese," which led to several deaths of students. Dallas ISD issued drug dog searches to schools in order to combat the problem.

Recent student dropout history and improvements

Dallas ISD was reported in April 2008 to have the 7th highest dropout rate of any urban school district in the US.[24] All 6 cities with higher dropout rates than Dallas in this study were smaller cities with under a million population.

From 1998 to 2008 Dallas ISD had a pattern of having an average of 14,600 9th grade students but only giving high school diplomas to an average of less than 6,300 students four years later. Using these 9th grade numbers indicates that roughly 56% of students are consistently missing at graduation. The graduation rates (percentage of 9th grade students represented by the number of diplomas given to that class at graduation) for the classes of 2006, 2007 and 2008 have been 41.4%, 40.5% and 41% respectively.[25] With the graduation of the Class of 2009 the graduation rate went up to 43.5%.[26]

Using four major indicators for dropout rate patterns, the Dallas ISD is improving as of November 2009 in all four indicators. This progress has been consistent for almost four years for all measurements.[27]

In 2009 state representative Yvonne Davis proposed a bill which would force the state to divide any school district that meets several parameters. The parameters include the district having more than 150,000 students, the district residing in a county with more than two million residents, and the resident county being adjacent to at least one other county with more than one million residents. The bill does not name any particular school district, but the parameters of the bill may only apply to Dallas ISD.[28]

Graduation rates continued to improve following constant measurements of lowered student attrition. From 2008 to 2012 Dallas ISD enjoyed the most positive gains in graduation rate ever recorded. This was verified by multiple measurements. See eleven of these measurements in the following chart:

School uniforms

Dallas ISD implemented mandatory school uniforms for all elementary and middle school students (through 8th grade) on most campuses starting in the 2005–2006 school year.[29]

Elementary and middle school campuses which do not follow the Dallas ISD uniform policy continue to use their own mandatory uniform codes, which were adopted prior to the 2005–2006 school year.

Uniforms are optional at the high school level as in schools decide whether to adopt uniform policies; eight traditional high schools and three alternative high schools have adopted them.

The Texas Education Agency specified that the parents and/or guardians of students zoned to a school with uniforms may apply for a waiver to opt out of the uniform policy so their children do not have to wear the uniform; parents must specify "bona fide" reasons, such as religious reasons or philosophical objections.[30]

Relations with other agencies

Angela Shah of The Dallas Morning News said in 2004, "Even as many big cities move aggressively to bolster public education, City Hall's relationship with Dallas' largest school district remains informal at best."[31]

LGBT relations

Jose Plata, an openly gay DISD board member, and Pat Stone, the president of the Dallas Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), advocated for adding LGBT students to the anti-discrimination ordinance. In 1996 the DISD board of education voted to add LGBT individuals to the ordinance, and by 1997 the district had created a pamphlet for LGBT students.[32]

Some high school campuses in DISD house Gay–straight alliance organizations.

Athletic facilities

Athletic facilities controlled by DISD include P.C. Cobb Athletic Complex in the Fair Park Arena, Forester Athletic Complex in southeast Dallas, Franklin Stadium in North Dallas (north of NorthPark Center), Jesse Owens Memorial Complex (southeast of Interstate 20), Alfred J. Loos Athletic Complex in Addison, Pleasant Grove Stadium in southeast Dallas, Seagoville Stadium in Seagoville, Sprague Athletic Complex in southwest Dallas, and Wilmer-Hutchins Eagle Stadium in South Dallas.[33]

Student makeup

Some of the wealthiest, neighborhoods in the central city area are actually in the Highland Park Independent School District (HPISD), not DISD. The student body of DISD has a higher percentage of Hispanics, a slightly lower percentage of non-Hispanic Whites, and a higher percentage of low income students compared to the Houston Independent School District (HISD), which includes some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in central Houston.[34]

Dallas ISD Enrollment Data 2013–2014 [35]
Grade Number of Students Percent
Early Childhood Education 189 0.1%
Pre-Kindergarten 9,535 6.0%
Kindergarten 13,618 8.4%
Grades 1 - 6 76,674 48.1%
Grades 7 - 8 21,715 13.6%
Grades 9 - 12 37,756 23.6%
Dallas ISD Ethnicity Data 2013–2014
Ethnicity Number of Students Percent
African American 37,290 23.4%
Hispanic 111,249 69.8%
White 7,524 4.7%
Native American 565 0.4%
Asian/Pacific Islander 2,116 1.3%

A more detailed enrollment of Dallas ISD students by grade from the years 1997 through 2008 as reported to the Texas Education Agency is compiled into a spreadsheet at http://www.studentmotivation.org/DallasISD.htm.

Demographic history

In 1968 DISD had 159,527 students, with 52% of them being Anglo whites.[36] 30 years prior to 2003 (circa 1973), half of DISD's students were White. As time passed, the White population decreased due to private schools and white flight.[37] In the fall of 1978 there were 132,061 students, with 34% of them being white.[36] As of 2003, DISD was 58% Hispanic, 34% African American, 6% White, and 2% Asian and Native American. As of that year, 190 DISD schools were 90% or more combined black and Hispanic, 37 schools were 90% or more Hispanic, and 24 schools were 90% or more black.[37]

As of 2003, some schools in DISD still had significant numbers of White American students. Usually they were up to 15-20% of a school's given population. Many schools with significant White populations were in the East Dallas and North Dallas areas and mostly white sections of Oak Cliff, such as Kessler Park. Elementary schools that had significant White populations included Nathan Adams, Hexter, Lakewood, Pershing, Seagoville, Preston Hollow, and Harry Withers. Middle schools with significant White populations included Franklin,Seagoville and Long middle schools. The only high schools with significant White populations included Hillcrest, W.T. White, Seagoville and Woodrow Wilson.[37]

In 2009 the State of Texas defined "college readiness," or readiness to undergo university studies, of high school graduates by scores on the ACT and SAT and in the 11th grade Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS) tests. Holly K. Hacker of The Dallas Morning News said that DISD schools "showed extreme highs and lows in college readiness."[38] Regarding the selective DISD magnet schools, Hacker said that they "prepare virtually all graduates for college."[38] Throughout the DFW metroplex, the highest college readiness rates were found in the School of Science & Engineering and the School for the Talented & Gifted. Hacker said "[t]hough they serve some students with lower incomes, the campuses have a huge advantage because they accept only those with high test scores."[38]


List of schools

The district has 28 high schools, 32 middle schools, three "primary/secondary" schools that include grades normally in both middle schools and elementary schools, more than 150 elementary schools, and one early childhood development center.

Former secondary schools

Former high schools
Former junior high schools


Former primary schools

Grades 4-6
Pre-K through grade 3
Grades K-3

School Photographs

See also


  1. "2002-2003 No Child Left Behind – Blue Ribbon Schools Program Application" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education. November 2002. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Dallas ISD - DISD Factsheet. (PDF). Retrieved on 28 June 2015.
  3. "SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP (2010 CENSUS): Dallas County, TX" (Archived 2015-06-18 at WebCite). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on June 18, 2015.
  4. "Demographic Studies." Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved on June 8, 2016.
  5. McElhaney, Jackie; Michael V. Hazel. "Dallas, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved 2007-01-25.
  6. Walter J. E. Schiebel, Ed.D. (1966) Education in Dallas: Ninety-two years of history 1874–1966. Dallas: Dallas Independent School District.
  7. Scheibel, page 1; a table indicates that 1880 had 1218 students enrolled; 1881, 1351 students; 1882, 1453 students; 1883, 1760 students; 1884, 2537 students; and 1885, 3204 students.
  8. Scheibel, page 1.
  9. Schiebel, page 3.
  10. Schiebel, page 10.
  11. Schiebel, pages 11–12.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Schiebel, pages 253-256.
  13. Schiebel, page 56.
  14. Schiebel, page 130.
  15. Schiebel, pages 132-133.
  16. 1 2 3 Schiebel, page 160.
  17. Schiebel, page 159.
  18. http://library.law.smu.edu/disd/background.shtm Archived January 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. Parks, Scott. "Integration plan went down tubes." The Dallas Morning News. November 17, 2002. Retrieved on September 8, 2009.
  20. Meyers, Jessica. "Plano students trickling out of district into private schools." The Dallas Morning News. October 10, 2011. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
  21. Bleiberg, Larry. "School-boundary proposals faulted; DISD seeking the most changes in attendance zones since '50s." The Dallas Morning News. Monday February 5, 1996. 13A. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  22. The Dallas Morning News - 14 August 2006. "New year, new energy for DISD" by Kent Fischer. Retrieved January 16, 2007.
  23. "Plan K." Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved on November 24, 2008.
  24. Stutz, Terrence and Tawnell D. Hobbs, Grad rate formula to be uniform:Spellings issues order; dropout rate report puts DISD 7th worst, Dallas Morning News, 2008-04-02, retrieved 2009-01-24
  25. Standard reports, Texas Education Agency retrieved 2009-01-24, select the reports for the Dallas Independent School District
  26. Standard reports, Texas Education Agency retrieved 2009-01-24, select the reports for the Dallas Independent School District. 2009 graduation numbers are from Dallas ISD.
  27. a graph composed from enrollment numbers from the Texas Education Agency and current Dallas ISD enrollment as of October 2009.
  28. Hobbs, Tawnell. "Is it time to split DISD? A state rep. thinks so." The Dallas Morning News. Monday March 16, 2009. Retrieved on April 20, 2009.
  29. Dallas ISD: Uniforms
  30. "DOCKET NO. 008-R5-901 Archived October 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.." Texas Education Agency. Accessed October 13, 2008.
  31. Shah, Angela. "SCHOOLS As goes the schools, so goes the city. Good schools translate into a better-educated workforce, more desirable jobs, more stable neighborhoods, higher property values. So other cities are working hard - outside the classroom - to bolster their schools. Dallas needs remedial work." The Dallas Morning News. April 18, 2004. Retrieved on November 26, 2011.
  32. Fowler, Jimmy. "School's out." Dallas Observer. November 13, 1997. p. 2 (Archived 2014-09-22 at WebCite). Retrieved on September 22, 2014.
  33. "Athletic Facilities." Dallas Independent School District. Retrieved on February 24, 2012.
  34. Isensee, Laura and Stella Chavez. "Dallas Vs. Houston: How The Two Biggest School Districts In Texas Match Up" (Archive). Houston Public Media. September 1, 2015. Retrieved on January 2, 2016.
  35. "TEA Performance Reports". Texas Education Agency. Retrieved 28 June 2015.
  36. 1 2 Lyons, Gene. "This is Woodrow Wilson: A School that Works." Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications, January 1979. Volume 7, No. 1. ISSN 0148-7736. START: p. 69. CITED: p. 69.
  37. 1 2 3 Hadnot, Ira J. "Public schools resegregating, research finds Busing, court orders haven't reversed trend especially in South; policy changes urged." The Dallas Morning News. Sunday January 19, 2003. 23A. Retrieved on October 11, 2011.
  38. 1 2 3 Hacker, Holly K. "Analysis shows true Texas high school performance, stripping away socioeconomic factors." The Dallas Morning News. September 3, 2011. Retrieved on February 10, 2012.
  39. I graduated from tech in 71 and know disd closed this school
  40. "East Dallas Schoolhouse." The Dallas Morning News, 31 December 1886.
  41. "Stephen F. Austin School." The Dallas Morning News, 2 March 1902
  42. Buildings

Further reading

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