Clark Co. Interested Because of DISD Progress: Hinojosa

Superintendent says district's graduation rate, test scores have risen in recent years

By Ken Kalthoff
|  Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010  |  Updated 7:00 PM CDT
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Graduation numbers on the rise in the <a title=Dallas School District." />

Ken Kalthoff, NBCDFW.com

Graduation numbers on the rise in the Dallas School District.

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Dallas schools Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said Tuesday that the district's academic progress is a key reason why is he being courted for a job in Las Vegas.

Hinojosa is one of two finalists for Clark County School District superintendent.

He said the Dallas Independent School District's graduation rates and test scores have steadily risen in the past few years, even as the percentage of students below the poverty rate increased.

“The message is that we’ve made so much progress, despite the challenges, that people have noticed Dallas," Hinojosa said. "And that’s the important thing. That’s the thing that gets lost in this entire search process, is that they wouldn’t be looking at me if Dallas hadn’t made some progress."

The district's four-year graduation rate was 67.6 percent this year, based on the 2008 national reporting standard. That’s still behind the statewide average of 80.6 percent.

Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott joined Hinojosa at the Dallas Chamber of Commerce's annual “State of Education” presentation.

“Are we where we need to be?” Scott said. “Absolutely not, but we are certainly moving in the right direction.”

Hinojosa said progress was achieved through a multitude of different programs.

“It’s not just one silver bullet," he said. "If anybody tells you there’s one way to reduce dropouts, they’re misleading you."

Hinojosa also announced DISD's plans to open a college preparatory academy at the new University of North Texas at Dallas campus, transform nearby Maceo Smith High School into a special high-technology high school and reopen Wilmer-Hutchins High School.

Wilmer-Hutchins High School closed when that district merged with DISD several years ago.

Hinojosa said the DISD is positioned to continue making progress even if he leaves.

“This is much bigger than one person,” he said.

The Clark County School District board is expected to decide on a superintendent Wednesday evening.

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