We are tremendously excited to have the founder of the East Dallas Community Schools, Terry Ford as one of our speakers. Her program, started in 1978, is a nationally and internationally recognized organization that serves 500 urban, low-income, and immigrant families on three campuses. Almost half of their students do not speak English when they enroll and the majority (over 60%) come from poverty-level families.
East Dallas Schools take a holistic approach that includes parent education beginning in pregnancy, Montessori Early Head Start and public charter school classrooms for children ages 3 to 9.
They have had fantastic results:
- In a neighborhood where less than half of entering freshmen graduate from high school, 95% of EDCS graduates earn their diplomas, with 89% of those graduates attending college.
- For the sixth year in a row, the State of Texas has awarded East Dallas Community Schools (EDCS) a Gold Performance acknowledgment for commended student achievement in reading.
- In 2011 EDCS earned the nationally prestigious 2011 Educational Achievement Award from the American Psychoanalytic Association for its system-wide support of children’s emotional well-being.
- For four out of the past five years, EDCS was rated “Exemplary” or “Recognized” by the state of Texas.
- Compared to Texas public schools, EDCS educates a higher percent of children from low-income families and children whose native language is not English. In spite of these challenges, EDCS students
- Perform better on the state reading test*,
- Have a higher high school graduation rate*, and
- Have a higher enrollment-in-college rate than the state average**
*Source: State of Texas AEIS reports for 2010-2011 under “Dallas Community Charter School”
**Source: The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems at www.higheredinfo.org
What do they say the keys to their success are?
- Starting young to take advantage of early brain development
- Involving parents as partners
- Expecting excellence from each child
- Learning values: to be kind, loving, and respectful
- Encouraging initiative
- Creating a small supportive school community
We’re very excited to have Terry here to share her wisdom and the practical lessons she has learned during her 35 years of leading this excellent organization!
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