Transforming Communities Through Schools

The new Center on Communities and Education (CCE) will bring research, documentation and evaluation capabilities to a West Dallas redevelopment strategy that focuses on school transformation as its core.

A partnership between the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition (DFCC) created the CCE in October. The CCE assumes leadership of the education component of the University-wide commitment to provide intellectual resources and volunteer involvement that will have a positive impact on West Dallas.

Professor Reid Lyon, associate dean of the Simmons School, serves as CCE’s faculty director. He will supervise research and faculty engagement. Regina Nippert is the executive director and will oversee operations and programs, including all nonfaculty staff.

“The center is focused on communities and how their systems interact,” says Nippert. “One of its most important responsibilities is to support The School Zone, a community partnership that is committed to a healthy West Dallas educational ecosystem.”

CCE will function as the backbone organization for The School Zone, a collaboration between 10 Dallas Independent School District campuses, three charter schools and 20 nonprofit agencies.

While the center’s programs are still in development and details have not been finalized, its initial research partnerships are likely to focus on the effects of early intervention on children, schools and families, and interventions that support improved academic, social and language outcomes for English language learners and children in poverty, according to Nippert.

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