Podcast: Michael Hinojosa on Making Dallas Schools Work

Michael Hinojosa is superintendent of schools in Dallas Texas, the town where he grew up, where his kids went to school, where he taught and coached. It’s a big rapidly improving school district with 155,000 students in 230 schools. Hinojosa has a thoughtful board, a strong team and is in his tenth year as superintendent–all reasons education in Dallas keeps getting better.

In our conversation, we spotted 10 ways that Dallas ISD is innovating. They are improving from early childhood to high school. They have the largest dual language program in the country with 150 bilingual elementary schools

With the help of 75 business partners, they created 25 P-TECH schools where students can earn an AA degree, work experience, industry credentials, and job opportunities.

The good work being done in Dallas and Hinojosa’s advocacy in Austin was instrumental in the recent passage of a giant school funding bill in Texas.

Key Takeaways:
[0:57] Michael speaks about growing up in Dallas and becoming Superintendent in his hometown.
[3:13] As Michael thinks about leading this huge district, what are his main priorities? How does he think about the work in general?
[4:49] Why has Michael made early learning a priority? What are some of the things they have accomplished within it?
[6:03] Why Michael supports public school options.
[7:03] What is a P-Tech program?
[8:38] How many P-Techs DISD currently has and how they’re planning on expanding.
[9:47] Michael speaks about the incredible partnership DISD has with the Dallas County Promise and what it means for students.
[11:22] Michael’s view on teacher preparation and development.
[13:03] How does DISD work with teachers to try and improve their practice?
[14:20] Michael speaks about his pros and cons for the state test and the accountability system in Dallas.
[16:39] Michael elaborates on one of DISD’s new strategic initiatives: their race equity agenda.
[17:48] Michael expresses his enthusiasm for his position as Superintendent and his love for the community in Dallas.
[18:42] What Michael has learned about the importance of learning environments and what he has done to update the physical school plans.
[20:04] How does Michael keep learning about this work? What is he doing to stay informed about the work that he does?

Mentioned in This Episode:
Dallas Independent School District (DISD)
More About DISD’s P-Tech Programs
Dallas County Promise
Teach for America
Urban Teachers
Austin ISD
Tulsa Public Schools
Council of the Great City Schools
Texas Urban Council of Superintendents

For more see:

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Getting Smart Staff

The Getting Smart Staff believes in learning out loud and always being an advocate for things that we are excited about. As a result, we write a lot. Do you have a story we should cover? Email [email protected]

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