Dyad Consultant Highlight: Elise Hurt

We asked Elise Hurt, Ector College Prep’s Cosmetology Instructor and Dyad Consultant, questions about her passion for all things makeup and beauty. Read the full interview

Exploring Japan’s Rich Culture: An Unforgettable Journey with Our 8th Grade Students

Traveling to Japan with our 8th grade students was an incredible experience that exposed us to the rich culture, traditions, and vibrant city life of this fascinating country. From enjoying a traditional tempura dinner to witnessing awe-inspiring ceremonies at the Meiji Shrine, our journey was filled with unforgettable moments and a deeper appreciation for Japan’s heritage. 

Good Morning, Baltimore?

A couple months ago, a story about Baltimore City Public Schools went viral when the public learned that 23 schools in the District had zero students scoring at a proficient level in math. A mother asked if there was anyone anywhere who would be willing to change this sad state of affairs. This news only strengthened the lawsuit against the District for failing to provide a good education for the city’s students. The District is failing to provide even an adequate education even though it spends over $20,000 per student.

What it Takes

Last week the National Bureau of Economic Research published two working papers about two reform initiatives my team and I put in place in the Dallas Independent School District while I was Superintendent there.[1] One paper showed conclusively the positive effects of the principal and teacher pay-for-performance evaluation system and their ongoing positive impact on student achievement. The other demonstrated the success of the “ACE” program in attracting and retaining highly effective teachers in hard-to-staff schools. While earlier analyses have similarly shown the success of these major reform initiatives, the latest NBER papers are the most scientific.

The Pace of Change

What is the pace of change needed to bring about significant reform? Our profession is fond of saying that leaders need to “go slow to go fast.” In many cases, where districts are looking for minor and continuous improvement, this strategy makes sense. As a blanket rule, however, the strategy is very problematic. I believe districts ought to go at the speed they must.

Higher Salaries Now?

Third Future Schools will begin operating Prescott K-8 Academy in Baton Rouge in July. The average salary will be over $83,000 and the average starting salary will be $78,000. The average salary is approximately $25,000 more than the average salary among the schools in Baton Rouge, and, because our salary plan is not tied to years of experience (except for the three-year mark), even new teachers will start at $78,000 on average. TFS will operate ten schools in seven different cities in three states in the 2023-2024 school year. And in each case, the average salary is at least $8,000 more than schools in the surrounding area. We also provide full dental, vision, and health care for just $50 a month total.

Too Many Consultants

I have been an education consultant and continue to offer support in a consultative role every now and then. Certainly there is a place for consultants in education, especially if there is a need for technical assistance or specialized skills such as configuring technology networks or converting district operations to a new financial platform. Consultants can also be helpful in some specific and limited professional development to train trainers or to improve capacity. The use of these types of consultants should be specific and limited because school leaders cannot effectively implement new initiatives or manage change systemically through consultants.

Gutter Ball

Bob is a bowler and a pretty good one. He prides himself on this skill and works hard to get better. He’s been in a local league, and he and this team are pretty competitive. Bob wants to bring his average score up from 188 to 200. The team, “Mamas and Boys” (don’t ask), have won some smaller tournaments, but never the Annual All City Bowling Tournament. His team’s average score will have to be around 200 for them to come away with the first place trophy.