Exemplary Programs and Practices in the
Dallas Independent School District
TSPR identified numerous best practices in the Dallas ISD (DISD). Through commendations in each chapter, the report highlights model programs, operations and services provided by the district's administrators, teachers and staff. Other school districts throughout Texas are encouraged to examine these exemplary programs and services to see if they could be adapted to meet local needs.
- Medicaid reimbursement
DISD aggressively pursues Medicaid reimbursements for the services it provides to students with disabilities. In 2000-2001, DISD switched its contract for the administration of this program from a private sector company to Houston ISD, which was able to provide the service at a lower cost, thus increasing the net revenue generated for DISD. Through continual evaluation and improvement of processes for obtaining Medicaid reimbursement for eligible costs under the SHARS (school health and related services) and MAC (Medicaid administrative claiming) programs, the district has obtained $9.8 million since 1997.
- Meeting local workforce needs
By working closely with campus-based and districtwide advisory committees, the Career and Technology Education (CATE) program has ensured that its offerings are relevant to the needs of area employers. In addition, graduates receive computer-based information about occupations, seminars and job referrals through the district's Graduate Placement Center. In addition, special education students at the Multiple Magnet Center are trained in workplace skills to help them find and keep jobs and live independently.
- Student health services
Since 1974, the district has forged partnerships with state, local and private health service organizations to provide medical and mental health services to its students. Its nine Youth and Family Centers (YFCs) serve a group of 20 to 25 campuses. In 1999-2000, YFCs treated 11,911 clients, 62.5 percent of whom were economically disadvantaged; 99 percent had no private medical insurance.
- Integrating technology in the classroom
Institutions of higher education, community groups and businesses have partnered with DISD providing the district with 1,150 networked computers for 23 schools, 10 printers and specialized training for 20 master teachers. These 20 master teachers will train 20 additional teachers each year in techniques for integrating technology into the curriculum. In addition, DISD is participating in an intradistrict distance learning pilot program that will allow students from throughout the district to receive instruction from a master teacher located in one of the district's six participating high schools.
- Arts-in-education initiative
ArtsPartners is a citywide arts-in-education initiative launched by the City of Dallas Cultural Affairs Commission in partnership with DISD. Through the program, which operates during the school day, students attend arts and cultural events; have music, dancing and art lessons; or attend the opera, theater or zoo. This program is integrated into the curricula and gives access to cultural events to children from all backgrounds.
- Cash Management
The district maintains only five checking accounts for normal business operations. This results in lower bank service fees and requires less employee time reconciling accounts and overall administration of the accounts.