DALLAS — Some Dallas schools are set to get some outside help. There was a big kickoff party this weekend for what is being called Imagine 2020 — a new program aimed at lifting up kids who are in danger of falling behind.
They still have a way to go before they reach the goal line, but on Saturday, a group of Dallas students gathered on the football field at SMU's Ford Stadium with plenty of people cheering them on.
"I think it's great, because they are teaching the kids about college," said Dallas ISD student Jesus Canizales.
He and hundreds of others were attending a pep rally of sorts for the district's Imagine 2020 program.
"This is a one-day event today, but it is going to continue," pledged DISD Superintendent Mike Miles. "The partners here are are in it for the long haul."
Miles said dozens of outside organizations will be brought in — and millions of dollars will be spent — to boost the achievement of students on 24 campuses.
"Mentoring; tutoring; helping them take tests better; closing the gap between inner-city kids testing scores and just different things like that," explained Dustin Sample, executive director of Urban You Turn. "Camps, athletic programs, art programs."
The program will unfold in the months to come, and will be specifically targeted at Madison, Lincoln, and Pinkston high schools and the schools that feed into them.
"I have my bachelor's [degree]," said parent April Blair. "I want her to finish and beat me."
April Blair believes her middle-schooler — and all these other kids — will go further in education and in life with this special backing from the community.
"We believe that there is world-class greatness on the inside of every student," Sample said. "But if no one ever tells them that, they'll never see it."
In the next few months, different community organizations will be selected to meet specific student needs, and the program will go into full effect in August.