While many factors can play a role in a family’s or company’s decision to relocate, one always seems to top the list—the availability of high-quality education. A strong education system ensures parents and patrons that schools are a priority and helps provide a future workforce ready to meet the growing demands of a global economy.
MESQUITE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT (MISD)
Excellence Always – Mesquite ISD’s Mesquite ISD’s vision statement – leads our district staff, students and campuses to optimum achievement while ensuring the best educational experience for every student. It’s a philosophy that rooted in our culture and values. Our goal is to prepare all students for continued success beyond graduation and careers that follow their passion. Each school day, more than 41,000 students on nearly 50 quality campuses are exposed to caring, highly qualified teachers, and the most current technological learning innovations.
MISD believes that by challenging students with high expectations and offering abundant opportunities, students will excel. With the support of our community, MISD is singularly focused on providing students with skills, attitudes and knowledge they need to be self-determinant adults, successful lifelong learners, and contributing members of our workforce and community.
We know learning doesn’t begin when students start school. A child’s learning begins the moment he or she enters the world. For that reason, Mesquite ISD and our community are committed to creating bookworms from birth through an early reading initiative we call #ReadPlayTalk. Our families are encouraged to read and talk with their children every single day. By 2021, every student in Mesquite ISD will be reading on grade level by the time he or she reaches third grade. Why? Because early literacy is the greatest single predictor of high school graduation and success into adulthood. Partnerships with local businesses, organizations and city services are helping to spread the message of #ReadPlayTalk and making this simple model a part of our community’s culture.
A Great Place to Work
MISD boasts a lower-than-average turnover rate, and in the most recent workforce survey, 92 percent of employees said they would recommend the district to others as a good place to work. Mesquite ISD’s Board of Trustees strives to keep salaries and benefits competitive so that the district can attract and retain the best educators and other staff members.
We also value our teachers who are called to make a difference. In 2016, Mesquite ISD launched a groundbreaking program that allows teachers to grow professionally and financially – all while staying in the classroom. Under the Excellence in Teaching Incentive Program, Mesquite ISD teachers can add up to $12,000 to their annual salary in just six years by completing advanced training and other requirements. No other district in the country is making this type of investment in its staff.
District honors include:
• Dallas Business Journal’s Best Places to Work List in 2012
• The Dallas Morning News’ Top 100 Places to Work for 2012; Mesquite ISD was the only public school district to make the competitive list.
• Top 150 Workplaces in the Country in 2013
School safety is a top priority for families and Mesquite ISD. Our campuses warmly welcome visitors while maintaining strict security standards. And School Resource Officers are trusted role models and staff members at middle and high schools, building relationships that keep students on the right track and making good choices. When asked, 96 percent of our high school students said they feel safe at school.
Rich Academic Offerings
A focus on college and career readiness is a hallmark of the district’s academic programs. In fact, Mesquite ISD was one of 14 Texas school districts and 477 in the United States and Canada to be honored by the College Board with placement on its 4th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. The Honor Roll recognizes districts for increasing access to AP course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. On a broader scale, FutureQuest/myfuture is a MISD-created program promoting daily conversations between K-12 students and teachers about going to college and being college-ready. And soon, the district hopes to open a choice high school where students can streamline and focus their education toward their chosen careers.
Career and Technology Education (CTE) in MISD provides a kaleidoscope of opportunities for students to explore and plan for future success. CTE courses offer opportunities for students to learn skills they may use in high school, in a career after graduation, or as a financial means to help pursue higher education. In high school, our students enjoy options to earn 15 professional certifications and advanced training in even more industries.
The needs of nontraditional students are met through MISD’s Alternative Education Campus of Choice, the Mesquite Academy. Through its innovative class scheduling and individually paced instruction, students seeking an alternative to the traditional school schedule and environment can achieve educational success. On average, moree than 200 students graduate with a high school diploma from the Mesquite Academy each year.
Approximately 20 percent of Mesquite ISD students are limited in their English proficiency (LEP). LEP students are served by MISD’s elementary 50/50 enrichment bilingual program – with instruction in both English and Spanish – as well as English as a Second Language (ESL) programs at elementary and secondary levels.
The MISD Gifted and Talented Program serves students in all grade levels. Gifted students have different needs, and their needs must be met through a differentiated curriculum. Each of these programs is taught by teachers who have completed additional specialized training, enabling them to lead these classes in exciting, motivating ways.
Broad Extra-Curricular Options
Because students who are involved at school tend to stay in school, one of the district’s objectives is to ensure that every student takes part in a school organization or extra-curricular program.
M1SD’s numerous extra-curricular programs give students opportunities to develop relationships with peers through a team environment, an awareness of health and fitness, and the ability to sharpen leadership skills while working with others. Extracurricular programs include athletics, academic competitions, fine arts, and a variety of clubs and organizations.
Studying the fine arts is a great way to get involved in a lifelong activity. Classes such as band, choir, orchestra, art and theater provide students the ability to realize their talents and the opportunity for individual and team recognition. On the elementary campuses, general music classes and fine arts field trips are part of the curriculum and expose students to a variety of cultural experiences.
Eastfield College serves students and communities through shared learning experiences, job preparation, economic and workforce development, service learning and community spirit. Eastfield serves people of all ages, from all walks of life, who want to succeed both personally and professionally. Since 1970, Eastfield has welcomed high school students and adults whose common goal is to earn a degree or a certificate and to use that knowledge to better them and their communities. In fall 2011, Eastfield had record enrollment serving over 14,000 credit students.
Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) helps students succeed and communities prosper through education, access, workforce and economic development, and lifelong learning.
More than 60 percent of the students who attend Eastfield are enrolled in hundreds of freshman and sophomore academic courses that will transfer to four-year universities across the state…guaranteed. Eastfield offers more than 15 technical training/certificate programs that give students the skills they need to succeed in today’s job market. That’s guaranteed, too! Additionally, students are enrolled in adult education programs that include workforce development, continuing education, and literacy and other basic skills programs.
Diversity is reflected in the faces of students who attend Eastfield College. While the average age is approximately 27, students who enroll range in age from 16 to 90! They can begin taking dual credit enrollment classes in high school, and older lifelong learners are enthusiastic participants in several emeritus programs. The student population is diverse – 33 percent white; 27 percent African American; 34 percent Hispanic; 4 percent Asian/Pacific Islander; 1 percent American Indian; and 1 percent non-resident alien/foreign national.
DCCCD is taking a pro-active approach to making learning opportunities accessible to everyone, focusing on how the district can best serve residents of Dallas County and planning for the future by preparing to welcome an estimated 20,000 additional students. As part of that response, the district proposed a $450 million bond package, which voters passed in 2004. This long-range plan enabled DCCCD to provide education, economic development, workforce training, and lifelong learning to residents of the communities it serves, now and for years to come.
As businesses and industries need an increasingly larger number of well-educated workers and as more students enroll in college to pursue successful careers, those demands drive the need for additional facilities that promote student learning. In response, Eastfield’s expansive capital building program included the construction of four major education/learning facilities on its main campus – the Learning Center; the Center for Child and Family Studies; the Workforce and Criminal Justice Training Center; and the Career Technology Center expansion.
Students are DCCCD’s top priority, and the district continues to provide educational opportunities for a diverse population. DCCCD’s tuition – among the lowest of any community college system in Texas – puts a college education within reach. Access to higher education is the key to success, and the district seeks to eliminate financial barriers for students by offering scholarships, grants, loans and other programs.