Sunday, August 12, 2018

Dallas ISD School Information File – Resource for Parents

Every parent wants their child to have the best school possible.  Now that Dallas ISD is open enrollment, allowing any child to attend any of the 266 schools and academies that are not full, parents can explore the best alternatives!!  Only 10% of DISD schools, about 24, are full!  However, 36 DISD schools were among the 400 schools statewide who received every possible distinction available!  149 of DISD schools are rated either A or B in performance by the State of Texas Education Agency. Only a tiny minority of these schools are full!  With open enrollment any school with vacancies is available for transfer.  The improvement will continue! It is verified that DISD is improving faster than any other urban district in Texas! (See below.)

To find the school ratings for the 266 DISD schools and academies there is a "School Information File" on the Dallas ISD Data Portal.  It provides a shortcut to the most information available in one place about each of the 266 schools and academies in Dallas ISD, including their most recent state ratings and the number of distinctions they have.  This is one of the most useful places to begin a search for the best school.

To find the "School Information File" either google “Dallas ISD Data Portal” or go to .  At the top of that page, to the right of “Statistics & Reports” (where most people seeking DISD data go) you will find “RESOURCES.”  Select “RESOURCES” and go to the last of the four choices: “School Information File.”  Select it and the rest is easy.  On the last page all the information choices should remain checked if you want all the data to begin with. On the top of that page in the center you will see [Clear all boxes I Export to Excel ] as alternatives. You want to click on "Export to Excel."

The first time I did it I was using Chrome as my browser and it generated a virus message at this point not allowing the Excel Spreadsheet to be downloaded.  I switched to the Microsoft Edge browser and it worked fine.

(I was only told of this School Information File this week by one of the VERY few people within DISD who knew of its existence.  Most of DISD Administration, and probably 99 percent of staff, did not know this file had been online for almost a year!  It potentially will fill all the needs of the Excel School Equity Spreadsheet that I have been blogging about for several months!  We just need to add more variables and more years worth of data.  The format is perfect!!)

Parents looking for a school for their child can search by any of the multiple variables given on each school.  I would download the entire spreadsheet and save it.  Then save a “school search” copy so you keep the original to return to.  In the school search copy you narrow your search by deleting the rows with the schools outside the zip code areas you want to consider. Then also delete the columns with the types of information from the 48 variables that you are not interested in.  

That will narrow the number of possible schools and academies to those you may be most interested in due to location: near your home, work, or grandma, or anywhere if you are looking for the highest rated schools possible in DISD.  You can also delete variables you are not concerned with to help secure a more manageable spreadsheet.

The "School Information File" online as of 10-15-18 is only a start.  (It has been updated with current data by DISD staff since I first saw it.)  It has only one year's data and 40 variables.  The information items will need to increase significantly to over 200 and the number of years data represented need to grow so that past years are available. Parents definitely need to know each schools student capacity number so that they can easily tell if it is full using the enrollment figures online that are updated daily.

As you work on the file and notice information you believe must be included, please post below or send me a message about the missing data.  We know many more variables need to be added, as well as annual historical data to see a schools history to document patterns. This must be a School Information File that becomes a central resource for Dallas families, and will achieve that with feedback and improvement.

This week on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings there will be public presentations on both DISD progress and the Tax Ratification Election that will be approved at the Thursday called DISD Board meeting. There is also an open Q & A session after every presentation that is often the best part as it reveals our Dallas Community.

I have seen this presentation by Dr. Hinojosa twice. It is priceless!  I strongly recommend attending.  Both meetings start at 6:00 pm promptly.  The first is Tuesday night, the 14th, at the Pinkston High School Auditorium and the second is at the Madison High School Auditorium on Wednesday night, the 15th.  The next night, also at 6 pm, the Board meeting will begin at the 5151 Samuel Blvd, the old Dallas County Schools location, that will approve the TRE.  That is the Tax Ratification Election that is the formal election to ask for public approval for the 13 cent tax increase.  

You can go to for a general orientation, but the presentations are the best thing to attend due to the public questions asked.  It lets you know Dallas.

Lack of trust of DISD is a driving force for people saying they will vote against the TRE. The level of transparency demonstrated with the "School Information File" now online will help change that, and pass the TRE!  

Anyone can download an Excel Spreadsheet now on 266 schools and academies with 40 pieces of information.  If DISD shows a resolve to expand that information available to all years from 2017/18 back ten years, and if DISD expands the data each year on each school to five times the size of the 40 pieces of information now available, if that happens, trust for DISD will expand very positively.  It will help confidence in DISD to grow. 

With the new letter grades being given this week, below is the letter grade projection for Dallas ISD schools given at the 8-9-18 Board Briefing.  This chart also shows the wonderful progress going from 43 to 4 failing schools within 4 years. The letter grade distribution among DISD schools was projected this week by DISD staff.  This is the current projection: 

On Wednesday of this week the Texas Education Agency (TEA) will make public their ratings of all public schools in Texas.  It is reported that there are 12 schools in Texas that received perfect scores in the TEA.  Half of those 12 are reported to be Dallas ISD schools.  DISD only has 3% of the schools in the state, but a disproportionately high percentage of the best ones!

Again, this week the TEA ratings will be made public.  If I have the time I will be inserting them into the full 266 school and academy spreadsheet that I downloaded from the DISD Data Portal. If you would like to have a copy of the DISD School Information File Spreadsheet that I will update with new school ratings from Wednesday, send me an email request at  I will send the updated spreadsheet to you with the new TEA data coming out Wednesday when I finish it, but it may take a while.

DISD is making wonderfully positive academic progress.  The "School Information File" now online already reflects this progress.  As 2017/18 and the years before 2016/17 are added, more of the history of improvement will be reflected, constantly more strongly, as DISD gathers resources and is able to post more data onto the "School Information File."

We have the good fortune in Dallas to be living in the most-improved-urban-district-in-Texas since 2012. Look at the chart below to see how DISD beats the other urban districts for improvement and achieved this title.  
Achievement Growth Across Major Texas Urban Districts from 2012 to 2018
Nothing will improve the quality of life in Dallas more than constantly more improvement at Dallas ISD!

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