Dallas ISD's new chief sets bold goals for students, staff

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by JASON WHITELY and MONIKA DIAZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @jasonwhitely

WFAA

Posted on May 10, 2012 at 4:18 PM

Updated Thursday, May 10 at 10:41 PM

DALLAS – In his first presentation to trustees as the Dallas Independent School District superintendent, Mike Miles set bold goals over the next eight years for students, faculty and staff.

“You haven’t seen me in action,” Miles told inquisitive board members Thursday afternoon.

Among his goals to be achieved by September 2020:

  • Miles wants 90 percent of the district’s student to graduate on time
  • 60 percent of them to score 21 or higher on the ACT and 1110 or higher on the SAT
  • 90 percent of his students to enter college, the military or a “career-ready” job.

Plus, Miles said by August 2013, he wants to design an evaluation system for teachers and principals that ties their evaluations to student achievement. Then, in three years, Miles said he wants to enact a pay-for-performance system for teachers and principals.

Dallas ISD has steadily improved over the last several years, Miles acknowledged. In 2011, the district graduated the most students since 1981.

But Miles said more work remains.

“Dallas ISD is not working systemically and has the potential to be much more effective,” Miles wrote in his draft plan. “The organization is fairly traditional and is far from adaptive.”

In the next three years, Miles said he will focus efforts on effective teachers and principals and raising the efficiency and competency of the central office.

Miles praised teachers but said the quality of instruction is inconsistent.

He also said he wanted to create the strongest principal corps in the nation.

“Our principals will receive enormous support and professional development,” Miles told trustees. “The pressure of change and transformation will be greatest on the principals and they need to know that up front.”

This was the first time many at the district got a glimpse of Miles' vision.

"If he comes in and figures out all the detours that might have to happen, all the hurdles, then I think it can work," said DISD Board President Lew Blackburn.

Blackburn added that support from staff, teachers, parents and community/business leaders will be key.

Alliance-AFT, the teachers' association, told News 8 the plan, if approved, will be challenging. It is looking forward to meeting with the superintendent. 

"As long as whatever happens is fair to the employees and best for our teachers, students, I don't think people will argue, but it will be a large bite to swallow at one time," said Rena Honea from Alliance-AFT.

Miles is working temporarily until he begins his official duties on July 1. He said he will formally present the District Improvement Plan to the board next month. 

E-mail jwhitely@wfaa.com

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