As Dallas continues the search for its next school superintendent, some non-profits and outside organizations are watching closely. These groups work to bridge educational, economic and social gaps in the district.
A few leaders spoke about what they'd like to see in the next leader of Dallas ISD.
Renato de los Santos, director of the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) in Northwest Oak Cliff
LULAC is an organization dedicated to 'advancing the economic condition, educational attainment, political influence, health, and civil rights of the Hispanic population in the U.S.'
"We really need to reach out to the Latino leadership," Santos said. "We have a great cadre of young people graduating universities and going on. And they need to be connected to communities and involved in the schools as mentors, so that the young people can see people, who maybe lived in their neighborhoods and they've gone on and made successes of themselves and now are willing to come back."
Lenita Dunlap, executive director of Heart House
Heart House is a nonprofit that provides safety, education and opportunity to refugee and underprivileged children.
"They have truncated educations, some education in different refugee camps. And so if they're age 10, they're automatically put into the fifth grade even though their reading levels are only on the first grade or the second grade," Dunlap said. "Come sit with the families, come learn what's going on here in Vickery Meadow. Understand that 8,000 people are coming to our state alone, into this area, and we need to prepare the teachers to adequately serve a diverse population."
Catherine LeBlanc, founder and executive director of Catch Up & Read
Catch Up & Read is a reading intervention program, targeting at-risk children in grades first through third grade.
"When we first started with DISD, there had not been formal training in literacy instruction for elementary kids, so what we observed was that to impact more than a handful of students, we need to empower the school leadership and raise the bar of teaching," LeBlanc said. "Raise the bar of excellence."
Edward Turner, education organizer for the Texas Organizing Project
The Texas Organizing Project organizes low-income families around issues of education, neighborhoods, jobs, immigration and other social justice issues.
"My advice to the superintendent would be to listen to parents and the community," said Turner. "Make the school the central hub of the entire community. It's really giving parents a real voice and letting parents know where their true power lies and how to utilize it."
What issues would you like to see the new superintendent address? What makes a good superintendent? Let us know in the comments below.