Richardson ISD Announces Program to Turn Around 4 Low-performing Schools

Richardson ISD school officials are taking a not-so-small step in the right direction in the battle to close the achievement gap between black and Latino students and their white peers. Fresh off a spring break that came on the heels of a federal lawsuit landing in its lap, the district rolled out a plan Monday to turn four "high-poverty" elementary campuses -- Carolyn Bukhair Elementary, Forest Lane Academy, RISD Academy, and Thurgood Marshall Elementary -- into Accelerating Campus Excellence (ACE) schools next fall.Under the ACE model, which is being used in Dallas and Fort Worth, the district will be able to shift some of its best teachers and principals to the campuses, where students also will be able to start school earlier and stay later to improve their academic performance.Economically disadvantaged students in the apartment-dense attendance zones will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner and also will get extra tutoring.An RISD spokesman told me before spring break about the $3.2 million initiative, which he said was in the works before former trustee David Tyson Jr. filed a federal voting rights lawsuit seeking to overthrow the district's at-large electoral system. Tyson says the at-large system works against the interests of minority students and voters.I don't doubt that Richardson officials were banging their heads on the wall like every other urban school district and looking for ways to improve students' performance. But I also have a hunch that Tyson's legal action lit a fire under RISD's leadership. Superintendent Jeannie Stone presented the ACE plan to the school board on March 5, a week after Tyson filed his lawsuit.  Continue reading...

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