Dallas ISD Names Master Principal Marion Jackson to Lead New STEM School, Opening in Collaboration with Simmons, Toyota USA Foundation, and West Dallas Community

Marion Jackson

Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) master principal Marion Jackson has been named to lead the West Dallas STEM School – an educational collaboration of the district, Toyota USA Foundation, Southern Methodist University (SMU) and the West Dallas community.

Known for her innovative and transformative leadership, Jackson brings a depth of knowledge in STEM instruction to the post. Most notably, she has a track record of closing student performance gaps and increasing academic achievement in reading, math and science as measured by Texas Education Agency standards. Evidence of her forward-thinking approach includes her co-development of a best practice model in mathematics instruction implemented in the Bryan Adams feeder pattern. The model led to improvements in student math performance across several metrics.

For nearly 15 years, Jackson has served the families of Dallas ISD as a teacher, assistant principal and principal. Much of that time was spent supporting students and leading instruction as campus administrator at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School.

“The positive experiences I’ve received in Dallas ISD and the communities we get to connect with each day are, in part, what makes this opportunity special,” said Jackson. “As we build a foundation for our students to explore all elements of STEM, I have no doubt that with the support of Toyota USA Foundation, SMU and the West Dallas community, our one-of-a-kind campus will fuel the next generation of STEM leaders.”

Experts continue to forecast a robust future demand for workers skilled in science, technology, engineering and math. The STEM school’s unique public-private partnership aims to inspire and prepare students for the next generation of STEM jobs through a project-based and business-aligned curriculum.

In 2018, Toyota USA Foundation granted $2 million to SMU’s Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development to support curriculum development, advise on state-of-the-art educational practices, provide teacher professional development, coordinate partnerships with community nonprofits, and monitor and evaluate the program. The future school will be operated and staffed by the Dallas ISD, whose Office of Transformation and Innovation will co-facilitate the design of the school in collaboration with School Leadership.

The collaboration will also bring together nonprofits, including groups already working with Dallas ISD through the SMU Simmons School program, The School Zone, and partners of Toyota Motor North America. Together, the team will address community issues such as literacy, nutrition, transportation and after-school care – each vital to creating successful outcomes for students and families.

Jackson holds several certifications, including a standard Texas School Principal credential and is certified in special education in grades first to 12. She is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. She also holds a master’s degree in instructional leadership from Concordia University Texas. Jackson will officially assume the new role June 1 upon completion of the current school year. The STEM school will begin a phased opening in fall 2021.

Spanish version below

Dallas ISD nombra a educadora con amplia experiencia como directora de escuela STEM en oeste de Dallas

La escuela es una colaboración entre la Fundación Toyota USA, SMU y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas; la apertura gradual comenzará en otoño de 2021

Dallas – Marion Jackson, integrante del grupo de directores destacados del Distrito Escolar Independiente de Dallas (Dallas ISD), ha sido nombrada directora de la escuela STEM en el oeste de Dallas — una colaboración entre el distrito, la Fundación Toyota USA, Southern Methodist University (SMU) y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas.

Conocida por su liderazgo innovador y transformador, Jackson brindará su vasto conocimiento sobre la enseñanza STEM a la nueva escuela. En particular, tiene un historial de reducir las brechas en el desempeño de los estudiantes, así como mejorar el aprovechamiento académico en lectura, matemáticas y ciencias, de acuerdo con los estándares de la Agencia de Educación de Texas. Una evidencia de su enfoque innovador es su colaboración en el desarrollo de un modelo de mejores prácticas en la enseñanza de matemáticas implementado en la zona escolar de la preparatoria Bryan Adams. Este modelo dio lugar a mejoras en el desempeño estudiantil en matemáticas en diversas métricas.

Por casi 15 años, Jackson ha servido a las familias de Dallas ISD como maestra, subdirectora y directora. Dedicó una gran parte de ese tiempo a apoyar a sus estudiantes y dirigir la enseñanza como administradora escolar en Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School.

“Las experiencias positivas que he vivido en Dallas ISD y las comunidades con las que estamos en contacto todos los días son parte de lo que hace tan especial esta oportunidad”, dijo Jackson. “Conforme construimos la base para que los estudiantes exploren los elementos de STEM, no tengo duda de que con el apoyo de la Fundación Toyota USA, SMU y la comunidad del oeste de Dallas, nuestra singular escuela formará a la siguiente generación de líderes en STEM”.

Los expertos continúan anticipando una fuerte demanda de profesionales capacitados en ciencias, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas. La colaboración público-privada de la escuela STEM busca inspirar y preparar a los estudiantes para la siguiente generación de empleos STEM a través de un plan de estudios basado en proyectos y que se adapta a la industria.

En 2018, la Fundación Toyota USA concedió $2 millones a la Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development de SMU para apoyar el desarrollo del currículo, asesorar sobre las últimas prácticas educativas, ofrecer capacitación profesional de maestros, coordinar asociaciones con organizaciones comunitarias sin fines de lucro y supervisar y evaluar el programa. La escuela la operará el personal de Dallas ISD, cuya Oficina de Transformación e Innovación colaborará con Liderazgo Escolar para el diseño de la escuela.

La colaboración también involucrará a organizaciones sin fines de lucro, incluyendo a grupos que actualmente colaboran con Dallas ISD a través del programa de la Simmons School of Education and Human Development de SMU, The School Zone y socios como Toyota Motor North America. El equipo tratará temas de la comunidad como la alfabetización, nutrición, transporte y cuidado infantil después de clases—todos vitales para generar resultados positivos para los alumnos y sus familias.

Jackson cuenta con varias certificaciones, incluyendo las credenciales de Texas School Principal y está certificada en educación especial de 1º a 12º grado. Es egresada de la Universidad de Louisiana en Monroe, donde obtuvo la licenciatura de periodismo de difusión. También cuenta con una maestría en liderazgo educativo por la Concordia University Texas. Jackson asumirá su puesto de manera oficial el próximo 1 de junio, una vez se complete el año escolar en curso. La escuela STEM comenzará su apertura gradual en el otoño de 2021.

 

 

Barbie Bungee Jumping? Walkington Takes Math Activities for Home to New Heights

Shelter-in-place requirements create new challenges for math learning – for students, parents and teachers working remotely. To help families make math fun and relevant to these times of handwashing, neighborhood walks and togetherness, SMU math education professor Candace Walkington suggests Soap Bubble Magic, STEMWalks and Barbie Bungee Jumping.

Walkington, an associate professor of math in SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development, specializes in making math relative and interesting to students. Her research includes engaging students in math by connecting their math skills to careers and outside-of-school interests.

“These activities for kids grades 3-8 are especially educational because the fun truly comes from the math itself being interesting and engaging,” says Walkington. “They also introduce math into the things we’re doing every day as we stay at home and practice social distancing.”

Here are Walkington’s favorites, including links that provided inspiration for her suggestions:

Geopanes: The Mathematics of Soap Bubbles

Since you’re washing your hands all the time anyways, here is another good way to connect with soap and water, masquerading as a fun math activity.

Supplies:

  • toothpicks
  • small objects that can link toothpicks together, such as raisins, marshmallows or clay balls
  • a mixing bowl filled with water and a few squirts of dishwashing liquid

Directions: Use the toothpicks and connectors like raisins to build polyhedrons, which are  three-dimensional geometric solids such as pyramids, prisms and cubes. Once they are built, dip your shapes into the soapy water – and see how the soapy water reveals complex surfaces or “geopanes.”

“If you only try one activity on this list, this one would be my recommendation. What happens when these are dipped into the soapy water is AMAZING! You can also integrate science into this activity by talking about surface tension in water and why the geopanes form as they do,” Walkington says.

Source: AIMS Education Foundation

http://gemsclub.org/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/Geopanes.4395625.pdf

 

Create a Math Walk

Here’s a new angle for your “escape the house” neighborhood walk. The walkSTEM® initiative launched by the non-profit talkSTEM, encourages families to go on virtual math walks via video, and create their own math walks in their backyard or their neighborhood.

Supplies: Walking shoes and a measurement instrument (optional)

Directions: Watch a few math walk videos on the talkSTEM YouTube channel as your first step –in particular ones where kids are acting as docents, like this one.

Create your own neighborhood walkSTEM tour. Observe everyday things – trees, roofs, street lights – and come up with questions about your observations. Why are roofs slanted? How tall are street lights? Select one question to explore in depth.

“Make a video of your walkSTEM tour and submit it to the talkSTEM Youtube channel to inspire other families,” Walkington suggests.

Source: talkSTEM

https://talkstem.org/create-your-own-walkstem-parents/

 

Barbie Bungee Jump

Anytime is a good time for a Barbie bungee jump, but this activity also allows cooped-up kids to work off steam. The objective is to guess how many rubber bands can be combined to create a “bungee cord” that drops Barbie as close to the ground as possible

Supplies:

  • A Barbie doll, GI Joe doll, or other similarly-sized, reasonably-heavy doll (stuffed animals are too light)
  • 15-30 same-sized rubber bands
  • ruler, meterstick or yardstick.

Directions: First, tape a large piece of paper to the wall, with a high point of five or six feet from the floor clearly marked as the Barbie dropping point. Barbie will need to be dropped from this height, so a parent or older brother or sister should help. String the rubber bands together to make a bungee cord for Barbie and attach to her ankles.

Test how far Barbie falls with two rubber bands, three rubber bands, four rubber bands, etc., then estimate just the right number of rubber bands for Barbie to jump, almost touch the ground, then spring back unharmed.

Keep trying until you find the perfect number of rubber bands for the best jump.

“There is nothing more satisfying than choosing the exact right number of rubber bands, and seeing the doll just barely kiss the ground as she bungee jumps, and then bounces back up to safety,” Walkington says.

 

Source: NCTM Illuminations

https://illuminations.nctm.org/uploadedfiles/content/lessons/resources/6-8/barbie-as-project.pdf

 

 

Bing Explains to CBS News the Need for More COVID-19 Testing for Getting Back to Work

Dr. Eric Bing, Professor of Global Health, Simmons School

Professor Eric Bing, Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness, is interviewed by CBS News on what Texas needs to do for work to resume. He says more testing has to occur to establish a baseline, otherwise it will be difficult to know about a community’s health, and more COVID-19 cases will rise. According to CBS News, Texas only has tested one percent of the population to date.

An epidemiologist, Bing is a professor of global health in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development and in the Department of Anthropology in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences at SMU. He previously served with the George W. Bush Institute as senior fellow and director of global health.

 

Professor Bing speaks to CBS News in a May 7, 2020 follow up report on the re-opening businesses during spikes in COVID-19 cases.

 

Culver Shares Perspective on Online Learning in KERA Report

Jennifer Culver, senior academic technology service director, Simmons School

KERA 90.1 zooms in on an eleventh grade AP history class in Seagoville High School and shows how online instruction can be. Some students like it and others worry about the quality of their learning. But Simmons’ senior academic technology services director, Jennifer Culver, Ph.D., says learning can occur in a variety of ways. Not all learning has to be on-time and real-time interaction with teachers. The report features her comments for a look at how online instruction is progressing during COVID-19.

Listen to KERA’s report here.

Students in Global Health Class Offer Strategies to Combat COVID-19 on Campus, Competing via ZOOM

SMU students in epidemiologist Eric Bing‘s Global Health class were studying the COVID-19 pandemic even before Bing re-tooled his annual “Battle to Save Lives” competition to focus on the coronavirus. Learn what the students recommend for suppressing the spread of COVID-19 on college campuses, and vote for the best team presentations, via Zoom from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, April 30.

The presentations and judging are open to the public.

Bing’s global health class is highly sought-after on the SMU campus. Participation in the class is by invitation from the esteemed global health researcher, physician and psychiatrist. The class requires debate on global health topics, completion of multiple papers and participation in a team project competition where teams of students vie to develop that best strategy to help local agencies solve health-related problems.

Bing traditionally opens the first class of the semester with a discussion on a well-known global health topic. But on Jan. 23, he tabled his original plan and instead led a discussion of a topic that few students knew much about – the coronavirus outbreak that was emerging in Wuhan, China.

“I completely re-oriented the class to study COVID-19,” he said. “Students listened to speakers from the CDC, and epidemiologists from other parts of the world. Then, all of a sudden, global health started impacting their lives. I took a class picture the last class before spring break because I was afraid the students wouldn’t be back and this would the last time we met in person.”  Like many other universities, SMU moved all its classes online after spring break.

Senior Ben DeLeon says he knew nothing about COVID-19 when Bing discussed it on the first day of class. “I would never in a million years have guessed that it would affect us the way it has,” said the applied physiology and health management major.

On Thursday, DeLeon’s team will join four other student groups to propose ways the SMU campus can mitigate the effects of the virus when students return to campus. And SMU administrators will be listening. Judges include Peter Moore, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, ad interim,  and K.C. Mmeje. Vice president for Student Affairs.

 Details:

What: “Combating COVID-19 on Campus,” Five teams of SMU students have developed strategies to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 on campus. Watch them compete and help select the winning team. Global Health student teams will join other SMU and UTD students when they enter their projects in a $5,000 grantchallenge presented by Dallas incubator  RevTech Ventures. The grant challenges students to create a low-risk campus environment that could exist after state- and local-executive orders have expired.

When: 5 to 8 pm., Thursday, April 30

Who: Eric Bing, professor of global health, SMU Simmons School of Education and Human Development. A physician and global health researcher, Bing received his M.D. from Harvard Medical School, his M.P.H and Ph. D. in epidemiology from UCLA and his M.B.A. from Duke University. Before joining SMU to head the global health program, he was director of the global health initiative at the George W. Bush Institute. Bing selects high-performing students representing a variety of majors to join the class.

Tune in: SMU.ZOOM.US/J/98455940148

 

 

NPR Looks at How Higher Ed Can Survive during COVID-19: Expertise from Dominique Baker

Dominique Baker, Ph.D., assistant professor of education policy

Assistant Professor Dominique Baker, Education Policy and Leadership, offered her insights in National Public Radio’s report, Can Colleges Survive Coronavirus? The Math is not Pretty.

Her analysis related how disproportionate the effects would be, depending on colleges and universities’ financial strengths, location, and populations served. Click here for report.

 

 

Serving Up a Perfect Connection to Students: Batenburg’s 20,000 Cookies

Ann Batenburg, clinical associate professor of Gifted Education in the Simmons School, is a legendary Faculty-in-Residence member. For seven years, she has been baking cookies for Sunday night snacks in Virginia-Snider Residential Commons. According to her calculations, this means she has served 20,000 cookies! Furthermore, she came up with the idea for Sunday night snacks now observed in the residential halls on campus. She’s put a stamp on cookies and conversation!

During the COVID-19 restrictions, SMU Faculty in Residence and students are keeping Sunday Night Snacks and other traditions going via Zoom meetups and social postings.

How to Help Young Readers

To help parents reinforce their children’s early reading, Professor Jill Allor in Simmons’ Department of Teaching and Learning offers video guides, based on her research on beginning and struggling readers, including those with disabilities. In the segment below, watch how Clinical Assistant Professor Miriam Ortiz, reads with her six year-old child, Gabriel.

 

Professor Allor shows how to choose books that children can read out loud to their parents, and learn words they need to know. As an example, she uses the same book seen above in Miriam Ortiz’s video from the Friends on the Block book series

For sample e-books from Professor Allor, click here.

 

 

In the next segment, Dr. Miriam Ortiz and her four year-old son, Daniel, read a level one book, Sam’s Lunch.

 

Dr. Allor explains how to help your reader, especially if your child stumbles on a word or has a disability. She recommends following four steps, “I, We, You and Repeat,” which she explains in this video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Center for Family Counseling in Simmons Provides Free Telehealth Services

SMU’s Center for Family Counseling in Simmons is now offering free telehealth counseling to anyone who needs it during the COVID-19 pandemic.

What started as a work-around to help the community during this period of mandatory social distancing has proved to be so successful that the center will continue offering remote counseling even after the staff returns to seeing patients in-person.

The clinic, associated with SMU’s Master’s in Counseling program, provides a variety of counseling services to adults, adolescents and children who are dealing with anxiety, depression, behavior difficulties, grief and loss, stress and parenting. Like many other businesses and clinics in Dallas, SMU’s Center for Family Counseling has temporarily closed its offices to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Clinic staff recognized, however, that because they were forced to close the clinic’s doors, there might be more people in need of mental health services related to isolation and other stay-at-home issues, said Clinic Director Terra Wagner.

“So we moved to offering services via Zoom,” Wagner said. “However, we plan to continue offering telehealth services, even when we return to seeing clients in person,” she said, explaining that they discovered they can serve more clients using a combination of telehealth and in-person appointments.

The Center for Family Counseling normally operates on a sliding scale fee system to accommodate low-income clients, with charges ranging from $5 to a maximum of $45 per session. All services will be free until further notice, Wagner said.

In addition to the telehealth counseling, five new remote support groups are also open for registration, free of charge: Adult Mindfulness Group, Adolescent Support Group, LGBTQ+ Parenting/Caregiver Support Group, LGBTQ+ Adolescent Support Group and LGBTQ+ Adult Support Group. These support groups started will meet via Zoom. Registration for all groups will remain open until groups end on May 7.

Counselors at the center are graduate students in the Master’s in Counseling program offered by SMU’s Simmons School of Education and Human Development. They have completed most of their coursework as well as clinical skills classes to prepare to work with clients under faculty supervision. The program is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs.

The clinic helps address the national shortage of mental health professionals by training counselors and providing affordable services. According to a spring 2019 report by Mental Health Dallas, the state of Texas is home to the second highest number of areas in the United States with a mental health professional shortage.

Earlier this year, SMU relocated the Center for Family Counseling from Plano to a new Dallas location in Expressway Tower, 6116 N. Central Expressway, Suite 410. Services are offered Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, please call 214-768-6789. If the Center for Family Counseling can’t meet your needs, you will be referred to another provider.

 

Tips for Leading and Managing Stay-at-Home Groups

The COVID-19 global pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Educational institutions, companies, non-profit organizations, government agencies have implemented social distancing policies and mandated telecommuting. Schools have closed and children are engaging in at-home learning alongside parents who may be remotely working for the very first time. What can managers do to lead effectively?

 Embrace Technology: Get out of your comfort zone to lead in new ways using technology.

  • Take advantage of online trainings to learn how leverage existing and new technologies to connect virtually with employees.
  • Model effective online meeting behaviors by utilizing features such as polling and chats.

 Nurture Relationships: At this time of physical distancing, your people need to know you care about them.

  • Through existing or new technologies, take time to visit with them to find out about their situation and how they are handling the disruption.
  • Provide them with resources to support their emotional and physical well-being.
  • Encourage your people and praise them for their work efforts and flexibility.

Establish New Norms: Let your people know you will be reaching out to them more often and why.

  • Your people need to understand that increased communication and monitoring does not mean you are trying to micromanage their work. You no longer have the luxury of walking down the hall to check in.
  • Get comfortable with real life being part of your communication. Relax your expectations regarding formal communication via phone and other technologies. Children, pets, and partners may suddenly walk into the room in a video call.
  • Shifting to a 100% remote workforce means that social norms of communication and interaction have to evolve. Clarify with your team about how information will be shared and the best ways to communicate for urgent and non-urgent messaging.

Reassess Priorities: What was important two weeks ago may no longer be as urgent or relevant.

  • Adjust goals and expectations to determine where to focus time and attention. Communicate these changes to your team. Take time to help your people think through the rationale for the adjustments.
  • Monitoring of key performance indicators may need to be altered and new metrics may need to be developed.

Update Procedures: It’s no longer business as usual.

  • Determine how processes need to change and invite your employees to generate solutions that meet the demands of your environment.
  • Ensure people understand the critical junctures and decision-points of key procedures.

Greta Davis, Ph.D., specializes in career counseling and serves as department chair and clinical faculty member of SMU  Simmons’ Dispute Resolution and Counseling program.