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As we kick off graduation season, we are reminded of the completion of one accomplishment and the beginning of another. For many students, graduation day is one they thought would never come. The make-up of the Dallas ISD student population is diverse, with many achieving high academic success against the grain of societal standards and persevering through tremendous odds to arrive at this moment. They are an inspiration to us all.

This graduation season, I ran across a statement from one accomplished student in District 7 who described her trek to school every day, which entailed a nearly 90-minute bus ride that began at 6 a.m. Her day ended much like it began, only with a more than two-hour trip home. Despite some of these challenges, this student maintained one of the highest GPAs in her class.

Many of our students outperform their peers when compared to similar urban districts across the country. I am proud to know that this is the caliber of student I’ve served as president and board trustee for District 7 and Dallas ISD as a whole.

As we approach the time in which we hear the familiar “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1” playing during graduations, I will also make my final march down the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees aisle.

It has been my pleasure to serve as the trustee for District 7 during the past six years. It’s been a rewarding journey, one that I am proud to have traveled with many of you as we worked together to bring excellence, opportunity and equity to District 7 for the benefit of every student.

This will be my last column as a member of Dallas ISD, and I want to wish each of you well. The support and encouragement you’ve shown through the years have been a guiding force for the work my colleagues and I set out to accomplish.

For that I say thank you, and congratulations to all of our incredible graduates! Here’s to new beginnings for all.

Avoiding the summer slide

This year has been even more satisfying as we engaged all 159,000 plus students to become college- and career-ready.

This effort should not end with our teachers. As a Dallas ISD parent, I’m a strong proponent of the involvement parents must have to keep the education conversation alive with their students, even more so during the summer months. I encourage each of you to reinforce the positive learning behaviors at home this summer. Plan more library visits with your children, sign them up for reading programs, or form a kids book club combined with a play dates. If we all do our part, we can help Dallas ISD students beat the “summer slide,” a term used to describe the academic loss children experience during the extended summer break.

According to the National Summer Learning Association, most students lose about two months of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills over the summer months. Low-income students also lose more than two months in reading achievement, despite the fact that their middle-class peers make slight gains.

Together, we have achieved many successes. Let’s all make an effort to continue that path during the summer and beyond.