We’ve come to our final episode of The Uninformed Parent. In an event hosted by Heritage Oak Cliff, I was invited to moderate a panel about public school choice. The panel consisted of Angie Gaylord, Dallas ISD’s Deputy Chief of Transformation and Innovation, and two neighborhood parents: Andy Ramirez and Kay Wood. Our conversation covered a lot of issues that continued to pop up throughout this series, from the importance of public schools to the elusive “best” school. 

Ellie Hajek: Good evening. I am very glad to see you tonight, and I appreciate all of you coming. We need to get the program started. I want to welcome you. My name is Ellie Height. I’m the president of Heritage Oak Cliff, which is the sponsoring organization for this gathering tonight. In case you don’t know Heritage Oak Cliff is an organization that is about 44 years old. Our goals in working are certainly the preservation of our special places and spaces here in Oak Cliff and providing a space for our neighborhoods to talk to each other, to talk to city and other officials as they need to. This is part of a series called “Oak Cliff Live,” and that is a speaker series that we present each year. This is our fifth and last installment tonight. Previously this year, we’ve talked about the history of Oak Cliff, we’ve talked about the trees, we’ve talked about architecture at risk. We are talking tonight about education, I want to introduce and then turn this over to the executive vice president of Heritage Oak Cliff Anne Foster and was the person who conceptualized and organize tonight. She will explain the evening and get us started. Thank you. 

Anne Foster: Thanks, Ellie. Thank you so much for being here. There’s hardly anything  more exciting than to see this many people interested in public schools, because public schools impact all of us whether we know it or not. So if you’re a parent, wave your hands so that we know. We’ve got…Yes, that’s great. And if you’re with Dallas ISD could you wave and let us know, and we really thank you guys for coming out and being with us tonight. Dallas ISD is offering more and more options, more and more choices to parents within a public school system. That’s why we’re here tonight to give you at least a little bit of information on that and to help you understand where to go for more information. We’re very fortunate tonight to have two elected Dallas ISD school board members with us. I’d like to introduce the honorable [?] Joyce Foreman [?]. Joyce would you stand up and wave? Joyce represents district six, and she was elected in June of 2014. Also the honorable [?] Audrey Pinkerton [?]. Audrey was elected in May of 2016, and she represents district seven. I want to thank them for their school board service. I also want to introduce to you the person who will be moderating our panel here to my left Keri Mitchell. Keri is a reporter with the Advocate. She is a public school advocate, and she’s a mom. We really appreciate her moderating tonight. So would you welcome Keri? Keri will introduce our panel or have them introduce themselves in just a moment. So to kick this off, the format is going to be that I’m going to ask Audrey Pinkerton to come up and just say a word, ad then she’ll turn it over to Keri. We’ll have our panel. We’ll have a few minutes for Q&A. And then Joyce will finish with a remark or two. Then at the end, there’ll be folks in the back of the room who would love for you to stay and ask them questions. So Audrey? Thank you so much.

Audrey Pinkerton: Thank you Anne, and I want to start by saying a big thank you to Heritage Oak Cliff and what a wonderful organization for our community and what a fantastic event that they have organized for us tonight. My family moved to Oak Cliff in 1999. My oldest daughter was three years old at the time, and so like many of you, I was wondering what to do about school. We ended up enrolling our children in DISD. But a few years later, after we moved to Oak Cliff, I started to notice a trend that many of our friends and neighbors were moving out of Oak Cliff to the suburbs, or the park cities. The reason was generally the same. They were looking for better schools, and I knew that we had found great schools for our kids and wanted to share that with other parents. So I ended up organizing about 15 years ago, the North Oak Cliff School Fair. It was wonderful. We had about 100 families that came out to check out different schools and options.  I will tell you one thing that I learned from that experience is that every family is different. Every family is unique in terms of what they’re looking for, for their child and even there’s differences between children. So what I hope that you take away, during our time tonight, is that DISD has an incredible array of options. There’s even more options than there were back in the early 2000s when we were getting started. I don’t know if you’ve heard, but DISD just got its ratings for the A through F ranking that the state is giving to schools now. Two thirds of DISD schools rated either A or B. DISD is on an incredible upward trajectory, and if you’ve heard of a school, that maybe you haven’t really heard that it’s a great school, you need to go back and check it out. And you’re going to hear some of that tonight. I just want to commend all of you for coming out tonight. You’ve made a really good decision to get information that’s going to be beneficial to your family. 

Keri Mitchell: Is this mic working? Can you guys hear me? Yes? Okay, great. So we’re going to start by letting the panel introduce themselves. If you could tell us, if you’re a parent, how old your kids are, where they are just briefly. We’ll get into more later. And then Angie, I kind of want you to tell us what your title is and what it means.

Andrea Ramirez: My name is Andrea Ramirez. I have four kids. One is 19. She’s already graduated and out and in college, and two here in the back that are Sunset High School, senior and sophomore, Elijah and Noah. Then I also have an eight year old, third grader at Lida Hooe. Yeah, it’s a handful.

Kay Wood: I am [?] Kay Wood [?}. I have three children. My oldest is in fourth grade at City Williams Talented and Gifted Academy, which is that new magnet school this year. I have a second grader at Rosemont Elementary in the dual language program, and I have a four-year-old in Pre-K in private preschool and I’m very excited to have her in DISD next year and quit writing that tuition check.

Angie Gaylord: Hello, I’m Angie Gaylord. My title is Deputy Chief of Transformation and Innovation. So, it’s a long title, but basically, I was a teacher in Dallas 20 something years ago at Sunset, [?] Howard [?], Pleasant Grove, [?] Hillcress [?]. Dallas ISD has been on the cutting edge of creating competitive models to either recapture kids that are leaving the district or also provide choices for neighborhood and also choices for principals to redesign their schools into innovative models. I hope that by the time you leave here today, you walk out the door with a banner cheering, because a lot of people that have a lot to say about Dallas don’t know anything that’s going on in the school. Agree? Great.

Keri Mitchell: You guys can keep that mic. I’m going to start with the parents here, Andy and Kay? It may be has has been a while since you kind of were on that, “What am I do about school?” journey but tell us a little bit about that journey for you personally. What was in your mind, then? What have you used to make those choices? 

Andrea Ramirez: I am born and raised here in Oak Cliff. This is where I went to school. I went to [?] Howard Elementary School [?]. I went to [?]L.V Stockard[?], which you probably haven’t heard of and Sunset high school. And so my growing up, I always knew that my kids were not going to go to those schools. They weren’t just because at that time I graduated 94. During that time, it was not great. So when I had Sophia, who’s not here, I remember thinking, and I live down the street here in Sunset Hill, “There’s no way.” We can’t do it. We can’t do it. We can’t have her go through the same thing we went through. So I went to Duncanville,  we talked about this Keri, and then she went to kindergarten at Duncanville Elementary School District. But I was like, this drive is ridiculous. I’m not doing…this terrible. I’m not doing this. So I heard about Rosemont, and at the time, I was in the feeder. That was my homeschool, and I heard good things about it. I was like, “Well, you know, let’s just let’s just try it out. See what happens.” We loved it, and, you know, we ended up staying there and my son helped. He was one of the first to go through the Dual Language Program, the first group of kids that actually piloted the program. Sophia did not. She was just regular gen-ed, and then Noah also was in dual language for a while but then had some issues and went back to Gen-ed. So we loved it there. We we saw what parents were doing, you know, with just growing the school and it was great. It was great. Sophia then went to Greiner, and she was also gen-ed, didn’t do anything special and then Sunset High School where I did not want. I was like, “No, I won’t do that.” Luckily I knew enough people, and they assured me that there were some of the best teachers there. At that time, [?] Principal Towgar [?], he was turning it around. He had more kids graduating, more kids going to college, and the school, you know, the classes were great. So we just took a faith, you know, jump, a leap of faith and live three blocks from the house. She did it. She’s successful, and she was valedictorian. She got a full ride to UT. She’s studying physics and she’s a sophmore now. The other two decided to attend Greiner but through the magnet program there, the theater department. He was in the theater arts program and Noah was also in the theater arts program at Greiner Middle School. Then, they both decided on Booker T. Washington, and they both did get into Booker T. It just worked for them, and that’s okay. You know, yeah everybody’s like, “Oh, that’s the best for you. It’s really hard to get into that school.” And I was like, “Yeah, but you have to listen to your child. You know, you have to listen to them.” I didn’t want to, but we left Booker T. Washington, and now he’s at Sunset High School. Then I have a baby. She was at Rosemont up until last year, and now she’s at Lida Hooe, and she’s loving it. She’s having a good time there and not in any magnet program. I’m not sure if that’s something I want to do or not with her. We’ll see as she gets a little bit older. Right now, we’re just trying to get these two, these two out and then…Just kidding, just kidding.

Kay Wood: We’re all just taking it one year at a time with all the kids. My husband and I both grew up in the Park cities and went all the way through Highland Park schools. We moved to Oak Cliff right before we got pregnant with our first and were like, “This will be great. This is a great neighborhood. This is fun. We can afford it. There’s great houses, and it’s convenient for both of us. And as soon as we need schools we’ll move.” That was truly our mindset when we moved to Oak Cliff in 2008. We attended an event, somewhat like this, when our oldest was about three and started saying, “You know, we don’t really want to leave Oak Cliff. We hear good things about the schools.” We went and toured Rosemont, which is our neighborhood school. And we were like, “Why would he leave when we love the neighborhood? We love our friends. And we’ve got this amazing Dual Language Program right here.” By the time our oldest was halfway through kindergarten, we were buying another house in Oak Cliff planning to stay for the long haul. Our second daughter followed at Rosemont. Our oldest daughter, dual language wasn’t probably the best fit for her as she got older. Then she came home one day and said, “Mom, I think I want to go to a talented and gifted magnet school.” “Okay, well tell me more about that?” When the district announced in February, that [?] City Williams [?] was going to be changing from a neighborhood school to a magnet school and would be a similar model to Travis, we went and toured it. We all just immediately felt that that was the right fit for her. Fortunately, she was able to get in. She started in the fall this year and has been very happy. Our second daughter loves dual language. She’s thriving in that program. It’s a great fit for her. She may decide that she wants to stay where she is all the way through. We had this great plan that all of our kids were going to be in the same school for these few years together all of them in the same place, and that wasn’t meant to be for us but we take it year by year and do what’s right for each individual kid. But I’m really thankful that we have so many great options. You have all those choices, and that’s a little bit overwhelming when you’re the parent of a four year old, like I don’t know what my four year olds going to want to do. I don’t know what they’re going to be good at. They can write their name, color. But you figure it out along the way. You have options along the way. We have friends now who are going to schools like Solar Prep. Solar Prep was a brand new concept when my oldest was going into kindergarten. I was like, “I don’t know about that.” Now, we’re seeing especially with Solar Boys opening this year, a lot of our friends said, you know, we feel like that’s the right fit for our family. And you know, that’s good for them. What we’re doing is good for us. We’ve all got choices, and that’s one of the things that is really amazing. There’s something that’s the right fit for every kid.

Keri Mitchell: Kay you gave me a perfect segway to Angie. There were lots of terms you were using that may sound like gibberish to you all, things like [?] City Williams [?], what is that? What is a City Williams and Solar Prep? Angie, would you mind talking a little bit about some of the choices in Dallas ISD and also what are some choices too right here in the neighborhood? 

Angie Gaylord: Well, it is overwhelming, especially if you’re not an educator. Realistically, there’s three options, three big options. And that is you go to the school that your boundary to go to. You you go in, and you check out that school. You get to know the principal, get to know the teachers, get to know what they’re doing. And if you’re not happy with that or you’re wanting other options based on your child, then realistically, you have the option to go into a choice school. Like you said there’s Montessori, there’s IB, but most of these are differentiated.

Keri Mitchell: What is IB?

Angie Gaylord: So the IB program, which we do have in the [?] Hillcrest [?] feeder, and the Woodrow Wilson feeder, it really starts with some of the elementary schools all the way up the high school to where they graduate, by the time they get to high school on an IB graduation diploma. All right, so you’ve got elementary options, middle options, and high school options. When I say “high school options,” I know the majority… raise your hand if right now the majority of the people are here to find out about elementary options. Middle school options? High school options? Perfect. Okay, that helps guide my conversations, because we’ve got people here from all of the departments to kind of give support. In elementary school, if you’re one through Montessori, kids are grouped together in the same grade band. It is very student driven. It is not teacher driven. So if you have a child that doesn’t do well with a lot of guidance on their own, meaning I’m going to put you in a scenario for two hours at your own pace to learn these things on your own. If your child wouldn’t be successful in that model, you might not like Montessori. Another opportunity is, personalized learning, and we’ve got Botello We’ve got some schools that are local that are that are in that model. And that’s another model, where kids are not just getting whole group instruction. It’s differentiated. The student is led, but it’s a blended learning model. So kids are on a computer starting early on. For some of our parents, that’s what they want. They want their child to have digital portfolios and digital pathways and be able to do virtual school classes by the time they’re in ninth and 10th grade. It just depends on what the families’ matches. Another model that we have is we’ve got a single gender model, the solar preps. In both of those models, the student demographics are completely separated. So one school’s all girls, and one school’s all boys. Even in that model, that model, you will see traces of blended learning: social emotional learning, even parts of Montessori. You’re going to see pieces, because they’re really best practices, where students get agency. Students own their learning. Students, by the time they’re in middle school, tell you what are their strengths, what are their weaknesses, so that they have that. We don’t live in a world like it was when I graduated from [?] Lufkin High School [?] in 1991, where I just took a test at the end of the year. I have to have agency now. I have to be able to tell my parents, “I don’t want to go to A&M. I don’t want to go to Prairie View. I want to do an online course in China,” if I want to. A lot of times we don’t think that way, because when we were in school, it wasn’t that way. But school is different now because kids are going to have different expectations when they graduate. Alright, so with that we’ve even got collegiate academy. I’m going to bring that up, because a lot of people don’t realize what that is. And that is a huge deal in Dallas ISD Almost every single comprehensive high school every year has about 100 ninth graders that start. Are you ready for this? I’m sorry, I get super excited. I try to hide my energy to be professional, but I just get so excited about the opportunities that y’all have in Dallas. You start as a ninth grader. You then in two years start taking all of your courses at a junior college, at a junior college that you don’t pay for. Those kids graduate a week before they graduate from high school with an Associate’s in Applied Science. Unbelievable. That’s 100 kids at 23 high schools. 25% of every senior in Dallas ISD going to have an associate’s degree before they graduate from high school. People don’t know that, and that’s not including IB. Those are all neighborhood schools. These neighborhood schools are competing with these magnet schools. But it all goes back to, nowadays, if you don’t want your child to go to the school that they can walk down the street to, it’s on parents to kind of figure out what’s going to be the best fit. You all will call me, and you do all call me like 150,000 parents, and my response is, “I don’t know your child.” I’ve got a nephew that’s gifted, so putting him in a magnet school would accelerate his his love of life and passion. I’ve got another nephew that will be a professional football player that is not gifted, putting him in a magnet school would kill his energy and kill his fear. He would always feel like he’s not smart enough than his brother. So that’s where as parents, you’ve got to really get in to know. If it’s not where your peer of friends are going, then let us get you reconnected to another pair of friends, because I can throw a ball and hit like 50 wonderful schools in this neighborhood. 

Keri Mitchell: Angie gave us a lot of options, and so I’m sure all the parents in this room are feeling like, “Oh, good. So many options. That’s exactly what I want.” But yet, we have the problem of, “What is best for my kid? How do I know what best is?” Is there such thing as best? And how do we figure that out?

Kay Wood: I’m still working on that. I heard an educational consultant speak years ago, her first piece of advice to everyone is go tour your neighborhood school. We have so many awesome neighborhood schools in our class that I think a lot of people don’t realize. Public school kids are the future of this city, this country, everything. We all need to be supporting our public schools and every neighborhood school needs to be a strong school, and it takes parents support. It takes community support, and it takes great teachers and it takes funding from the state. Sorry, I’m about to get on my soapbox. Another panel for sure on that one.I t takes a lot to do that. So start with touring your neighborhood school, find out what it’s about. You may be very pleasantly surprised. I was. 

Keri Mitchell: You brought up the fact that, you know, tour your neighborhood school, check out your neighborhood school. The fact that we’re even having a panel about school choice is interesting. I mean, this would not have existed 20 years ago, probably, maybe 10 years ago. You’re absolutely right. So why choices? Why do we even have choices to begin with? That might be a question for you, Angie. Why does the district feel like it’s important to have choices for parents?

Angie Gaylord: For us, we want to be competitive. We know that parents want choices. We know the kids do better when they can align in best fit. It’s not all kids. Not all kids need choices. 85% of our kids go to the neighborhood schools, but we’ve got 15% that don’t go to the neighborhood schools because they want options. Each year that seems to be growing. Every year, we’re getting more applications. We’re getting more interest. It’s spreading.

Keri Mitchell: I want to ask Andy and Kay, you’ve got kids, both at neighborhood schools at your neighborhood schools and other schools.

Andrea Ramirez: Not anymore. 

Keri Mitchell: Not anymore? Not you. That’s right. Okay. 

Andrea Ramirez: After getting over my fear of Sunset, I realized I have a love for my neighbourhood schools. I love them. I really want them to grow. Sunset’s a great school and parents like me, parents who are involved, are going to be what changes that school and brings more people into that school. There’s so much going on there. They’ve got the collegiate academy. There’s you know, [?] On Ramps [?] which is UT comes in and tag team teachers with another teacher there. So they’re getting a UT professor who’s teaching them and then I’m sure there’s other colleges, of course, I’m just partial. I want to be there. We want to be there. We wanted to be at Greiner, and people were like, “You sure you want to go to Greiner?” I was like, “Yeah.” You know, “You sure you want to leave that bubble at Rosemont for Eli?” And I was like, “Yeah, that’s me, guys. That’s me. Those kids are me.” You hear bad things about Sunset or Kimball or Adamson, and you’re like, “Yeah, I don’t know. Those kids.” Well, you know, they’re my kids, and they were me. I feel like, in order to help change that, more kids need to be there. 

Keri Mitchel: You guys have the advantage now, Andy and Kay, of kind of looking back on when you were in the position of trying to make those choices. At the time, I’m just going to guess because I’ve been there too, there’s this idea of like, “Okay, what is better?” Let’s go back to best. I think we’re all looking for the best thing for my kid. What do you know, now that you maybe didn’t know then that I mean, has led you back to your neighborhood schools? 

Andrea Ramirez: Booker T was like, it is a fabulous school, by the way. I love it. But I think back now I really probably should have followed more cues that he was throwing out than I did, because I was excited too about Booker T. I should have realized that that probably wasn’t the school for him, even though that was his dream, because at Rosemont arts was big. He was in the theater arts department, and the dance teacher at the time, Giuliana, love her, really pushed them, “You can do this. You guys can be at this school.” And I should have known that that was not for him. That didn’t fit his mold. Trust your instincts. That’s what I should have done, in retrospect, was thought more about what he could handle, what he was all about. And he’s an engineer. He’s not an actor. 

Kay Wood: I don’t know.

Keri Mitchell: Did you worry about anything that you shouldn’t have worried about?

Kay Wood: Oh yeah. All parents worry all the time. That’s what being a parent is. We second guess ourselves all the time. Did I pick the right school? We changed schools did we pick the right school? Should we stay? When my fourth grader came home on the first Friday of the school year and said, “I wanna go back to my old school.” We said, “Well, we can have that conversation in a couple more weeks after you’ve given this one an actual chance.” And now she’s gotten her groove and is very happy. She knows she can always go back to her neighborhood school if she decides that’s what she needs. But right now she’s happy and thriving and learning. That’s pretty much what I want for my kids: happy, thriving and learning. 

Keri Mitchell: Let’s go back to one more thing. Parents do have lots of choices, and some of these choices aren’t public schools. So how did you guys end up in the public school? Would you consider doing other things, whether private schools, home schools, charter schools, something else?

Kay Wood:It was always public school for me. I’m a believer in public school. My husband and I grew up in the Park City’s. When we were looking for schools, for our kids, we wanted something where they were going to get some racial, ethnic, cultural, socio economic diversity, which we did not have growing up. We got a great education, but it’s not the real world. Private schools, charter schools, there’s lots of great ones. But public school’s are the world. That’s where it is. Everybody should be able to find a public school that’s the right fit for their kid, I think. And that’s granted, you know, I have resources. My kids can go to a magnet school. I know that there’s families who don’t necessarily have as many choices as we have in DISD, in Dallas, I get that. So that’s why we need to be fighting for state funding and better public schools all around.

Keri Mitchell: Why? 

Andrea Ramirez: For me, it wasn’t an option. Financially, it was a public school. I mean,charter schools, I don’t even…I think they were just starting to pop up 14 years ago or maybe there were a few charter schools. But I still haven’t heard great things about charter schools even now. And homeschooling? Absolutely not. I am not a teacher. I’m not teaching my child. No way, I don’t have a brain for that. So public schools were going to be my only option, with four especially. I didn’t work at the time. I do now, part time, and so I knew that I had like all my time to give, and I did. I realize that that’s not the case for everybody, but I had that time. I had that luxury, and I just like threw myself into it. 

Keri Mitchell: So we’re going to move to the Q&A segment of our panel event.

Andrea Ramirez: I just want to remind everybody. These should be questions for our panelists. There are lots of good stories, I’m sure, in this room, and I want to hear them. So please find me afterwards to tell me your story. Since we have very, very limited time, please direct your questions to the panel and just keep it to questions. Thanks. Go ahead. 

Unknown: I would just like to start off with a comment. I think everyone that is here, is already doing their part and being part of the progress within choice or any public school or anything. These ladies up here, thank you so much for what you do. 

Keri Mitchell: Great question?

Unknown: Yes, just go over the differences between charter and magnet.

Keri Mitchell: Angie, tell me if I’m wrong, but charters are publicly funded by state dollars, but they’re not under the district supervision. They have their own boards and their own governing structure.

Angie Gaylord: Yeah, okay. A magnet school is a school where there’s an academic requirement to get in. So you basically take some kind of assessment or some kind of test, and then based on the academic grade, or score, then from there, there is a requirement. That’s a choice model based on academic. So that’s an academic accelerated model.

Keri Mitchell: So for example, Harry Stone, which is an elementary school, that would be a magnet school.

Angie Gaylord: The kids that would get in would be the kids that had done the assessment at the highest level versus some of the other choice schools where it’s just a lottery, based on how many people apply. It’s random. There’s no academic score. We don’t line you up by your test score. Does that make sense? So an academically accelerated kid would do very well in a magnet school. A kid that would have a hard time with a lot of acceleration, taking courses like a year or two years above grade level, might have a hard time in a magnet school, depending on if they’re in gifted kid versus a high achiever, which is a whole nother conversation. I want to make this clear, because this is a soapbox, I will get on. I’ve been an assistant principal, a principal, a director and executive director. A gifted learner is one umbrella, a high performing learner, which a lot of times are the valedictorians. They learn the system and they master the system. A gifted learner is going to ask you, “Why do I have to do this? I already know how to do this. I’m not going to write the problems. I don’t need to go to the class, and I really don’t even care if I get an A because I already know more than the teacher.” There’s a lot of research around when parents don’t know the difference between a gifted learner and just a high achiever. I’m a pleaser. I’m a worker. I will stay up to two in the morning to get all this done. Where the gifted kid is literally like, “I don’t know what they said all day long, but I will make 100 on the test.” That is a soapbox, because I have a lot of parents that really confuse that, and they will put their kids in a accelerated course, like let’s say, a math class that’s two grade levels ahead and kind of beat it out of the kid. You can look at the kid like, “I didn’t learn the year before. I do need the sequence to get there. Now once I get the sequence, I might be the valedictorian, because I will learn it all. I will memorize the textbook.” 

Kay WoodL To give some specific examples, so like my kids at Rosemont. Rosemont’s a neighborhood school, so they were guaranteed a spot in the school. They did a lottery to be in the dual language program. Then my fourth grader, when she wanted to apply to a talented and gifted magnet school, she had to have a minimum grade average of 80. She had to have minimum standardized test scores of 80. And then if she had those two requirements, then she had to do an essay test and another test on site at the school. So it was a multi stage process for that. 

Andrea Ramirez: And then I’ll talk about the arts magnets, because those are completely different than these types. The arts magnets are completely different in that you do have to have a certain percentile. You have to be like 80% percentile. You do have to have an 80, but with an artist magnets, you have to audition. You don’t take a test. It’s not academics. Depending on what they’re going for visual arts, they would need a portfolio of their art. For theatre, they’re going to act. They’re going to do a monologue. It’s a whole process, and they will all interview. 

Keri Mitchell: We have a question in the back, and then I’ll go to you. Okay, right here.

Unknown: So we’re looking at kindergarten but maybe in general as well, can you give a feel for the timeline if we were to opt out of our neighborhood school. When do you win? Do you miss a deadline? Who do you contact?

Andrea Ramirez: It opens November 1. So if your child is going to kindergarten next year, you would do and start looking into this November for the next year. So applications open November 1,  third, apologize, November 3. And remember, every school has an open house. There’s also a fair where you can go and every school, every charter school, every, not charter, choice, my goodness, choice. They will all be there. They will all have tables, and they will all have their little schedules of open houses.

Kay Wood: I also highly recommend going to that, because all the schools are in one building. You can walk from table to table and say, “Oh, this is the Montessori School. This is the all girls school. This is the all boys school”

Keri Mitchell: You’re next. Go ahead.

Unknown: So what about someone that’s been going to a private school. How would they go about transferring to public schools?

Kay Wood: If it’s for a neighborhood school, they don’t have to apply. 

Keri Mitchell: You can just withdraw and then check into your neighbourhood school.

Kay Wood: One of the things that I found was really interesting this year going into a magnet school for the first time I was very surprised how many of the students in my daughter’s class were coming from charter schools or private schools. I thought it was going to be all kids coming from other DISD neighborhood schools, and that is not the case at all, from all over.

Keri Mitchell: I’m sorry, I saw two more hands. So we’re going to do this. Okay. Right here in fact.

Unknown: So you talk about visiting the school and your choice, and a lot of us work full time, you know. When you say visit and open houses, like you go to an open house and go schedule a private tour?

Andrea Ramirez: You can find your school online. You just Google it and then pull it up. You can call that school, and if you cannot make it to the open house, they will schedule a tour with you and meet with you privately, you know, give you a personal tour . You can go to the open house.

Angie Gaylord: I’m going to just make this simple. Okay? As a principal, I used to give my cell number to all my parents and people thought I was crazy. But I’m a communicator, and I want people to know I work 24/7 for their kids. So if you email me “A Gaylord,” so write it down, because I don’t think it’s public. It’s probably not difficult to find because everybody in Dallas ISD is the first initial of their first name. Yeah, it’s “A Gaylord.” I don’t mind giving you directive to where you need to go. AGaylordDallas ISD.org. 

Keri Mitchell: I was just gonna say I know there are tons of questions left. Everybody that is here, and everyone in this room, that is from Dallas, is planning to stick around. So find one of us, and we will help you find your school principal if you need to. And we’re going to wrap this up.

Anne Foster: Okay, thank you. Before I call [?] Joyce Foreman [?] up to finish our together part, I just want to thank Keri and Andy and Kay and Angie for all of their knowledge and passion. I do hope that they can stay for a few minutes, as well as we appreciate the DISD people in the back of the room to help.

Joyce Foreman: So thank you, Heritage Oak Cliff for inviting me. But you know, it is just so exciting to see so many people here talking about the offerings of Dallas ISD, and all the good things that are happening. I’m a graduate of the district. I graduated from Lincoln High School. I went from elementary school all the way up, and I am one believer in public education. All of our children that are in public education, 156,000 children in DISD. 156,000 children in DISD. And as you know, as Audrey said earlier, with the new state rating we actually got a B. Dallas ISD got a B guys. Thank you again for being here. I can talk all night event.

Anne Foster: And if you’ll join me in thanking all of our speakers.

Thanks for listening to The Uninformed Parent. We appreciate you sticking with us throughout this series. If you found it helpful, please share it with a friend. This podcast has been a production of Advocate Media with music by HookSounds.