Why do we each have to do the same research?


navigating DISD Choice schools


If you don’t know where to start when it comes to public education and Dallas, perhaps this 6-page document Casey Cox created will be helpful to all you newbies out there.




Thanks to everyone that came out for The ABC’s of Education event on January 10, 2019, hosted by Raising Oak Cliff. A very big thank you goes to the neighborhood parents and owners of The Cliff House for letting us use the beautiful venue. Visit to learn more about the venue that is available for hosting events.

Speakers from the evening included:

  • Stella Kastl – Dallas ISD Early Learning Office

  • Ashley Lozano – Dallas ISD Office of Transformation and Innovation

  • Lindsay Duncan – Rosemont Elementary School

  • Kaitlin Snow – Hogg Elementary School

  • Brenda Duarte – Reagan Elementary School

  • Chris Goskie – Stevens Park Elementary School

  • David Silva – Winnetka Elementary School

  • Jessie Ralat – Sudie Williams (TAG)

  • Laura Corkery – Harry Stone Montessori

  • Kate Thacker – Dealey Montessori

  • Ms. Shuman and Mrs. Delong – Sam Houston Personalized Learning Prep

  • Wendy Coltrane – Hernandez Montessori

  • Samantha Strong Murphey – Solar Prep for Girls

  • April Allen – Solar Prep for Boys

  • Leslee Mallinson – The Kessler School

  • Kelly Byers – Tyler Street Christian Academy

  • Audrey Pinkerton – Dallas ISD Trustee

Speakers were asked to provide context to their process for choosing a school and why they choose the specific one. The specific reasons varied a lot, but overall everyone chose their school because it was the best fit for their family and their child. Some folks chose their neighborhood school, others toured and applied to many, but overall every parent was happy with their choice and raved about the teachers, principals, extracurriculars, culture and more.

Below are some of the takeaways and news and notes that came out of the meeting.

  • Dallas ISD’s Early Learning program is now at 12,500 students. And you can visit their website for plentiful information or text 214-932-7735 with your questions.

  • Those interested in International Baccalaureate should visit or An Oak Cliff elementary school may have an IB offering soon.

  • Rosemont is no longer using a lottery system for the dual-language program. It will be first-come-first-serve, and you can apply now.

  • Hogg’s is off the list of schools to possibly be closed. Peeler is still on that list.

  • Reagan’s STEAM academy is in its first year, but already receiving positive feedback and the dedicated staff is looking to grow it.

  • Sudie Williams is a brand new TAG school near Dallas Love Field and providing individualized attention.

  • Laura Corkery. provided a wealth of knowledge about the Montessori schools and how the application process works. Grades are combined (PK-K and 1-3) so space is more limited.

  • There are buses from Oak Cliff available to some of the outlying Montessori, magnet and transformation schools. Check specifics with DISD.

  • The Solar Prep schools are 50/50 – meaning half of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch and the other half does not. They also have longer school days at 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • The Kessler School is non-denominational and focuses on character building and servant leadership. Kessler is also introducing middle school soon.

  • Financial aid is available to Kessler and Tyler Street private schools.

  • Audrey Pinkerton reported that of the 31 schools represented in her district, around 90% have an A or B rating.

Overall, I think Jessie Ralat summed up the event really well saying that no matter what school you pick, because of the fact you’re engaging in discussion about the choice shows that your child already has a leg up going into elementary school.

Thank you to everyone that attended. If you have specific questions about schools and want to reach out further, email event organizer Amanda Reiter at and she can put you in touch with any of the speakers.


School tour dates

Here is a document that lists all of the DISD open house dates. Fall Preview Nights are an opportunity for families to learn about all the opportunities offered in Dallas ISD schools.

Details on Choice School selection Process

I stumbled upon this FAQ document on the Choice School Selection Process from the Office of Transformation and Innovation and have found it very useful.

For instance: What are Transformation Schools?

Transformation schools have four core components:

  • Every student participates in the model in its entirety (i.e., Montessori, STEAM etc.)

  • The choice model is based on national best practices

  • Open enrollment districtwide (with some seats open to out of district students)

  • No academic or parental entry requirements