Dallas Kids First

Because every Dallas kid deserves a great education.
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A positive shift in Dallas educational reform took place Saturday, May 12, 2012. DallasKidsFirst had a front row seat in what turned out to be a life-changing evening for many.

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2012 DISD Board Election Results
Elizabeth Jones, Dan Micciche and Bernadette Nutall were elected to serve on the DISD Board of Trustees. In 2010, with 3 DISD Board seats up for election, 4,176 people voted. In 2012, with 3 seats up for election, 8,940 people voted.While 9,000 voters represents a small percentage of actual Dallas registered voters, it still demonstrates that we’re moving, slowly but surely, in the right direction.

For Bernadette, her victory signaled a belief that indeed, she was the right choice for Dallas schools and that her work as a Trustee did not go unnoticed.

The wins by Elizabeth Jones and Dan Micciche bring a new energy and a new flavor to the board. There seems to be a new sense of hope for the future and a belief that things CAN change for Dallas and its students.

What the Election Meant to DallasKidsFirst

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DKF Members block walking in the community
The election this past Saturday meant many things to many people in the Dallas community. For DallasKidsFirst, the wins that evening represented:
  • More than 3,000 doors knocked on by DKF members
  • Calls to thousands of voters
  • Over 500 individuals that became DKF members
There were many people and groups that played a large role in this year’s election. We like to think that we also played a special part as well. Our involvement would not have been possible with the support from many. We sincerely thank you for your time, your donations and your continuous words of encouragement.

FUBU - For Us. By Us.

This year’s election solidified the importance of having a grassroots community organization that is for the people and by the people.

DallasKidsFirst is you.

DallasKidsFirst is every mom, dad, student, teacher and concerned citizen that believes that Dallas kids deserve the best schools.

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DKF Members
The new school board trustees are a great first step in the quest to improve Dallas schools but we’ll need more. With those wins comes a large responsibility. There are still many children in the school district that continue to fall through the cracks.

DallasKidsFirst needs you!

DallasKidsFirst believes that Dallas can be the best urban school district in the country but we know we can’t get there without your help.

How to Get Involved.

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Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

The journey has just begun. We already have our eyes set on the 2013 DISD Board of Trustee elections. Join us as we put our Dallas kids first!



Since founding our family owned and operated restaurant, La Popular Tamale House in 1985, the Moreno’s have become well known in Dallas as “doctors of tamalogy.” However, my family’s active involvement in supporting our city’s schools as advocates for education provides the foundation for our strong relationship with the community.  

Of course, we are proud of our tamales and our award-winning restaurant, but the Moreno family’s true passion is enriching the lives of the children who are a part of our city’s schools. The opportunity we have to give back to the community through helping students in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) means more to us than any of the accolades that have been bestowed on La Popular.

Education is the key to a successful and thriving city. 

We believe in the DISD because we have seen it work, especially in the East Dallas area where my siblings and I attended DISD schools.  We believe that if we can replicate our exceptional experience across the DISD, parents who once fled to the suburbs for private schools will begin to “Choose DISD.” A migration toward Dallas’ school district has the power to boost our economy and the diverse communities within the metroplex. 

It’s important that we not only assist with donations, but that each of us also provides hands on help by mentoring students and encouraging them to become responsible, productive citizens. Additionally, voting is such an important factor in determining where our school district will be in the next 2-plus years, and it’s vital that you support our city’s future by casting your ballot for the right leadership for the DISD.   


I find it disturbing that we’ve have so little activity at the polls for DISD voting, and even more upsetting has been the lack of qualified professional candidates running for trustee positions. 

This year feels different. 

If you, like the Moreno family, feel a strong commitment to Dallas and all it has to offer, it’s critical that you invest in relationships with your area schools and trustees. As is illustrated by our community’s avid sports fans, Dallas is a city that likes to win, and to achieve educational bragging rights, we must be willing to join the DISD’s team effort to become the “Top Urban School District” in the country.

To learn more about getting involved with the DISD, we hope you’ll join DallasKidsFirst and La Popular for our Cocktails for a Cause event at Southside on Lamar, Monday, April 30, from 6 to 8 p.m. We’ll treat you to some of our delicious, signature tamales and sides, while DKF introduces you to information about how to get involved through the event’s theme, “Celebrating a Shift in Dallas Education.”

As I watch the race for the Dallas Independent School District Board Trustee seat in District 9, I am enthralled and disappointed at the race between incumbent BernadetteNutall and heropponent, Damarcus Offord. 

Born and raised in Oak Cliff and the current president of the Urban League of Greater Dallas Young Professionals, I’m drawn to this race in particular because Mr. Offord appears to be taking a stance for what he believes in (something that I love to see in young African-American men).

Damarcus is a man who wants to make an impact in his community and make a name for himself.  He has a goal, a mission, direction to do something positive in South Dallas which I believe helps the community to see that not all black men are negative contributors to society.  This excites me because these are the precursors to a great leader, not just in his South Dallas community, but potentially on a much larger stage.

His energy and enthusiasm, however, is overshadowed by his naiveté. He is not ready for the type of responsibility that comes with serving as school board trustee. 

Experience matters. 

He has not been prepared at public debates, he lacks knowledge in district matters (inside and out of District 9), and the ability to clearly articulate his ideas (an area where I feel WE failed him).  It’s one thing to be the voice of an unheard population, but once you have the microphone, you need to be able to say something credible.  It reminds us how important proper studying, preparation, review, and counsel from mentors are to someone like Damarcus.  

Damarcus needs more seasoning.

I appreciate Damarcus Offord’s energy and enthusiasm to make an impact in his community.  Those are characteristics that are needed to serve people.  However, I feel that he needs more time to sharpen those critical skills needed to truly be an effective leader.  He needs people in his “camp” to push him academically as well as politically and civically.  Like me after my not-so great performances in high school and college, Damarcus needs to study more, refine and improve himself. He just needs to get better and be willing to work on those skills.  

I’m willing to assist him with what he needs.  

Matt Houston



DallasKidsFirst is an organization that is dedicated to providing our Dallas kids with access to great public schools by increasing community awareness and engagement in the Dallas ISD school board process. 

We are volunteers that work toward significant strides in solving challenges in Dallas ISD by increasing community awareness and engagement around the role of a DISD board member the and election of those trustees that will put “kids first”.

Is DKF Political or Grassroots?

DallasKidsFirst is both. We are currently organized as a PAC so that we can support particular candidates if we choose to do so.DallasKidsFirst is about getting great leaders elected. 
Future plans for DallasKidsFirst may include evolving into a more traditional advocacy group with the goal of extending DallasKidsFirst into communities all over Dallas and giving all citizens a platform for increased awareness and engagement.

What’s the Difference Between DKF & EducateDallas?

The path to the mission is where the difference between the two groups can be found. Both organizations were created to bring positive changes to the current educational system in Dallas. Unlike Educate Dallas, a DallasKidsFirst endorsement does not come with a large campaign contribution. We will work with our endorsed candidates to help them get elected. DKF is about on-the-ground action which is very different from EducateDallas. Our goal is to shine a light on school board issues and lower the barrier for citizen involvement by making critical issues accessible. 

DKF in the Community

DallasKidsFirst is truly a community organization. By helping kids get the best possible education, each individual in the community is able to personally connect with the role education has or hasn’t played in his or her life.

We are hosting House Parties in districts 3 & 9 designed to connect residents with one another to discuss important issues concerning their neighborhoods and schools.

How will DKF Make a Difference?

What DallasKidsFirst is doing has never been done before. PACs have been done. Money has been thrown at elections. Never has a group of very passionate volunteers been willing to dive into the challenge before. It’s going to work because it’s theright thing to do. We need a catalyst to change the status quo that binds us to mediocrity. 

DKF is that catalyst. 

We will say what needs to be said and do what needs to be done. DallasKidsFirst believes that the tone set by the board of trustees, a professional, thoughtful, urgent tone of high expectations and fair policy to support those expectations will mean a new day in DISD.

Celebrate Education with DKF

Dallas Kids First is celebrating! What you ask? A shift in education here in Dallas. We want to celebrate our successes & get pumped for the school board elections on May 12th.

Join us Monday, April 30th 6-8pm at Southside on Lamar for cocktails, bites from La Popular Tamale House. Please submit your RSVP by 4/27 to events@dallaskidsfirst.org

Together, we can truly put our kids first!

Tuesday was a fantastic night for Dallas education. A lot of really exciting things took place in the span of just a few hours and DallasKidsFirst was happy to be in the middle of it all.



COCKTAILS FOR A CAUSE

DallasKidsFirst held it’s first ever “Cocktails for a Cause” at not just one but two Dallas area locations, City Tavern and Three Sheets.  From 5-8pm, DKF volunteers met with downtown residents, had great conversations on education and registered close to a hundred people to vote. April 12th is the deadline to register. Ensuring that Dallas citizens are ready to vote in the school board elections on May 12th has been a crucial task for DallasKidsFirst.

Why is this important? 

At its core, DallasKidsFirst is a grassroots community organization. We want to elect great leaders for our schools but we also believe it equally important that the citizens of Dallas are informed, aware and understand that when it comes to participating in the political process, they have a resource in the community.

TEDxSMU & D MAGAZINE EDUCATION FORUM

Held at the historic Kessler Theater, an event unlike any the local education community has seen before took place.

All eight candidates from Districts 1, 3, and 9 were there for an opportunity to connect with the very informed, educated audience present that night but also get a much needed jolt of energy to their campaigns. 

TEDxSMU's Sharon Lyle kicked the night off and D Magazine Editor Tim Rogers served as the evening’s entertaining moderator.

It was done Russian Roulette Style. 

8 candidates, 8 questions.

With only one round of questions, candidates basically delivered their “elevator speeches” to the audience.

District 1 candidates fared pretty well on stage but Elizabeth Jones was a highlight as she displayed an impressive background in education and explained her belief in the need to focus on innovation.

Dan Micciche, candidate for District 3, was asked about whether school athletic budgets should be slashed and shifted to teachers’ salaries. His response? The entire budgets must be reviewed and input from local non-profits and area businesses need to be a part of the discussion. He also stated that school is much more than just the classroom experience for children and he would be apprehensive to eliminate sports completely.

District 9’s current Trustee Bernadette Nutall appeared to be one of the crowd favorites with her passionate call for all schools - public, private and charter, to come together as one community and create a culture of true collaboration. Her opponent, Damarcus Offord, failed to connect with his lack of response and evasiveness to a question on what to do with Dallas’ growing ESL student population.

The forum had a sizable turnout that included Dallas area parents, local politicians, community organizers and young professionals. 

D Magazine’s FrontBurner will be releasing a complete transcript of the event as well as the results of the candidate scorecard every attendee was given to rank the candidates’ performance on a scale of 1-100.

A shift is occurring. There is a growing group of individuals who are tired of the status quo when it comes to education in Dallas. They want change. They want better for their communities, for their children.

DallasKidsFirst is excited to be a vital part of this growing movement. Stay tuned for details on a very special DKF event to be held at the end of this month at Southside on Lamar celebrating this positive shift in the Dallas educational landscape.

As a parent, educator, and Trustee, I have always been committed to ensuring that the children in our community receive a quality education. My mom is a retired elementary school teacher and from her I learned firsthand the impact a great teacher can have on a child.

Why have I decided to run again for DISD Trustee for District 9?

ESEA (The Elementary and Secondary Education Act) is America’s education policy. I’m running as a Trustee to make sure our education policy in Dallas provides the same promise and improved access to quality education. As the lone representative from Dallas, I recently traveled to Washington D.C. to learn more about two new bills in the United States Congress and how those future laws might impact our Dallas Schools.

When ESEA was first authorized by Congress in 1965, it was America’s promise to provide access to a quality education for ALL children. As a Dallas Independent School District Trustee, I too believe that ALL Children deserve access to a quality education.

The answer is alarming but clear: The current ESEA bills could negatively impact Dallas ISD students—particularly poor and minority children—in addition to many children in urban districts across the country.

While I appreciate the effort to streamline No Child Left Behind, the current bills proposed by The House of Representatives’ Education and Workforce Committee to reauthorize the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) are not yet the answer. 

Here’s why:

  •  Financial Impact: Dallas ISD can stand to lose millions of dollars in federal funds that are designed to assist students in poverty. Due to the recent decrease in state funds, Dallas ISD has already engaged in significant budget cuts. We cannot afford to face additional cuts to programs that support the students who have the greatest needs.
  • Student Protection: The current bills allow funds that have been reserved for key populations, including English Language Learners, to be spent on other students. This does not serve the populations that require additional support—of which we serve many in Dallas ISD.
  • Closing the Achievement Gap: We have begun to make strides in closing the achievement gap among critical groups including low-income students, minority students, English Language Learners and students with disabilities. The provisions in the current bills which allow increased state accountability might erode this progress –which we cannot allow.
  • Teacher Effectiveness: While Dallas ISD has taken key steps to ensure we have effective teachers providing world-class instruction (including designing a rigorous teacher evaluation system which is currently being piloted in a subset of schools), not every state or district has been so bold. ESEA should provide federal standards around teacher effectiveness so other districts and states will prioritize teacher effectiveness.

To be clear, the re-authorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is critical. In fact, this legislation will set the tone for education policy and reform for many years. We need to ensure the laws meet the needs of the children who need the most help—both in Dallas and across the country.

I am excited about the possibility of working with you again as your Trustee but I need your help.

The election is May 12th. Visit my website, www.bernadettenutall.com, to learn about how you can connect with my campaign. 

Early voting begins on Monday, April 30th. Your voice matters to our community but most importantly to our children.

Vote!

Bernadette

My name is Dan Micciche (pronounced “Mitch-Kay”), and I am running for the DISD School Board, District 3, which encompasses the east side of White Rock Lake (i. e., the Casa Linda side), plus Vickery Meadow and Merriman Park.   

I’m running because I believe that DISD is Dallas’ biggest problem.   

Dallas needs a first class public school system in order to retain and attract businesses, jobs, and families. Many companies will come to the DFW area, but not to the city of Dallas because of our school system. We have too many families who feel they must pay for private school (on top of their property taxes) or move away to another school district in order to provide the education they want for their children. 

DISD has 158,000 students. Less than  75% of the students graduate in four years, and less than 10% of the students who take the SAT or ACT are “college ready.”  If you do the arithmetic, and the current trends continue, over 100,000 students will leave DISD over the next decade with little or no chance to succeed.   

This is everyone’s problem, whether or not you have kids and whether or not your kids are in DISD.  

DISD is a complex organization with more than 20,000 employees, 225 schools, and a $1.5 billion budget.Improvements are needed in budgeting, record keeping, technology support and especially human resources (for example, they don’t screen resumes or check references).I think we can do better than this.  

As someone who went to public schools from kindergarten through college, and as someone who is the first in his family to graduate from college, I want the kids at DISD to have the same opportunities that I had.   

Every child deserves an excellent education.

What inspires me to run, and what leads me to believe I can make a difference, is my experience at Fannin Elementary School and my background and experience as a business lawyer and partner in charge of hiring at my law firm, Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, L.L.P. 

In 2005, I organized a school partnership between my law firm and Fannin Elementary on Ross Avenue.  The school faces enormous challenges of poverty (99% of the kids are on the school lunch program), minimal parental involvement, difficult language barriers, a transient population, and hardly any of the families have computers. Over the past 7 years, we have regularly provided a consistent group of volunteers to tutor, mentor, and work on other projects at Fannin, and we have had many more people who have made contributions of money, clothing, shoes, books, and school supplies as well as holiday gifts. 

In 2009, the school attained exemplary status.  WFAA did a news story on the school’s success.  What stands out most to me about our school partnership is the commitment and devotion of the teachers and their principal.  Their efforts are truly inspiring.  They give their best and go the extra mile every day for these kids.  

We have good teachers in DISD.   We need to support them. I believe that working together we can replicate that kind of success across DISD.   

The election is scheduled for May 12th.  The first day of early voting starts on April 30th!

I would very much value your support and your vote. Find out more about helping my campaign on my website - http://danfordisd.com/ I look forward to talking with you more.  Thank you for your support.   

Dan Micciche
Be the change you want to see in our public schools!

DallasKidsFirst has completed the 2012 candidate evaluation process and, after polling the group’s rapidly growing membership base of more than 400 parents, teachers and concerned citizens, has endorsed Dan Micciche in District 3 and Bernadette Nutall in District 9.

The DallasKidsFirst endorsement process is unique in its focus on Dallas ISD’s stakeholders. Our members developed DKF’s candidate survey process, interviewed candidates, researched candidate positions, and compiled all of their research into accessible, district-by-district election packets (available for review online at www.dallaskidsfirst.org). 

Endorsed candidates include:

District 1: No Endorsement
Our membership did not select one standout candidate so rather than making an endorsement, we’re going to engage them and provide all Dallas ISD stakeholders with information that will help them in forming opinions.

District 3: Dan Micciche
Micciche’s unique experience as a DISD mentor/program organizer and related professional experience make him a great candidate to bring a passionate, results-oriented perspective to the board.

District 9: Bernadette Nutall
Trustee Bernadette Nutall benefited from widespread support in the DallasKidsFirst endorsement poll. “Trustee Nutall’s community focus and leadership on the DISD school board have resulted in undeniable contributions to DISD’s progress. She was a DISD community liaison for eight years, co-founded a summer education program that has benefited hundreds of students, and sponsored the strongest anti-bullying policy in the State of Texas.”

In order to reach citizens across the community and to provide all stakeholders with additional information about the candidates, DallasKidsFirst will hold an online candidate forum on May 5, 2012 . All candidates will be invited to respond to topical questions, explain differentiating qualities and tell voters why they think they would be a great Trustee.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to connect with us on FacebookTwitter or send us an email, info@dallaskidsfirst.org.

Great school leaders = great education for our kids.

No complicated equations or magic tricks needed.

DallasKidsFirst is a group of concerned citizens; parents, teachers, busy professionals who have one goal - to make sure that Dallas kids receive the best education possible.

If you look at the school board elections last year, they were canceled because no one decided to run. 

That’s a shame.  DallasKidsFirst wants to change that.

The process that DallasKidsFirst has put in place to choose what candidates to endorse is the first of its kind

When you see a DallasKidsFirst endorsement, you can rest assured that we’ve done our homework and you’re receiving detailed information on each candidate.

Want to learn more about DallasKidsFirst and our endorsement process? Check out our video and share it with anyone who cares about Dallas schools and truly putting OUR KIDS FIRST.

If you are tired of the status quo and want to see some real changes in Dallas education, join the DallasKidsFirst movement.  Become a member, take the pledge and help us elect great school board leaders on May 12th!

Dallas is a city known for BIG moves and BIG wins. 

Our Dallas schools and their successes should be just as BIG. 

There are many positive stories today in DISD, but much remains to be done. 

Dallas Kids First is about making all Dallas kids first in education.

So Who is Dallas Kids First?

  • Dallas Kids First is the teacher that buys supplies from her own pocket because her students need them to succeed.
  • Dallas Kids First is the group of parents that meets for coffee every Saturday morning to discuss how to improve their school.
  • Dallas Kids First is the young professional who does not have children but cares about what happens to the schools in his neighborhood.

Dallas Kids First is YOU.

Dallas Kids First is all of us who care about the education our kids receive.

We are concerned citizens and parents who believe that every kid in Dallas deserves access to high quality public schools. We believe that all students deserve outstanding teachers, and these teachers should be supported and trained.We believe that by finding and supporting high quality leaders at all levels, we can make a difference

Change starts at the top, and we believe by providing support and community involvement in the election process, great leaders can and will be elected.

Dallas Kids First represents accountability. We need to have high expectations for everyone involved in education from students, to teachers, to the administration, to the community. And Dallas Kids First provides a voice for communities that insist on “kids first” decisions.

Mark your calendar.
DISD School Board Trustee elections take place on May 12th.

By working together, we can make the election process easier to understand and can share actionable tools you’ll need to make an informed decision.

Dallas Kids First is Social. We want to hear what you think and engage with you on this important topic.

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Join us as we put OUR kids first.