Oak Cliff Live!: Is a neighborhood only as strong as its public school?

Neighborhoods and schools have a symbiotic relationship, the Old Oak Cliff Conservation League believes. When residents pitch in to improve their neighborhood school, it can’t help but improve the surrounding neighborhood.

That’s the focus of the league’s “Oak Cliff Live!” event next Wednesday, Sept. 13, which offers a venue to meet principals who helm Dallas ISD schools all over our neighborhood, and to hear from DISD District 7 Trustee Audrey Pinkerton and longtime DISD volunteer Val Haskell about opportunities to make an impact.

The 6-8 p.m. event includes a principal meet-and-greet for the first hour and a panel discussion the second. It takes place at Henderson Elementary, 2200 S. Edgefield Ave., which has a longstanding relationship with the surrounding Elmwood neighborhood, says Ellie Hajek, Old Oak Cliff Conservation League board president.

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It isn’t that partnerships between neighborhoods and schools are sparse in Oak Cliff, Hajek says, “but I’m sure we can do it better. Our intention was to help our neighborhoods and schools see how they might work better together, particularly how the neighborhoods can support the schools, even if the residents don’t have school-age children,” Hajek says.

The hope is that both principals and neighborhood residents will network and walk away with action steps, says Anne Foster, the league’s executive vice president who is moderating the panel.

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“I hope they leave with a concrete idea of something they could do to support their neighborhood school and, in doing that, they’re supporting their neighborhood,” Foster says. “Those things are very tied together.”

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