TEA Commissioner visits Dunbar to see program aiming to turn school around

KCBD Newschannel 11 at 10 TEA commissioner at Dunbar 9/11/2019

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath visited Dunbar College Preparatory Academy this afternoon to see first-hand the implementation of a new program designed to turn the school around.

The middle school was labeled “improvement required” for five consecutive years, but with the initiation of the Accelerating Campus Excellence program, Dunbar is hoping to improve their school rating from an “F” to a “B” this year.

“We knew we needed to do something different, we’ve invested a great deal in this school and we know good things are going to happen,” Rollo said.

Superintendent of Lubbock ISD, Dr. Kathy Rollo, said TEA Commissioner Mike Morath has been guiding LISD for the last year and a half on how to improve Dunbar Preparatory Academy.

“We got to visit some classrooms, so we actually got to see instruction. And then we came to the library and actually talked to kids about climate and culture, about how they organize their work, about how they reflect on their lessons, about tutorials,” Rollo said.

As part of the ACE program, educators will teach an hour longer each day and will no longer be asked to coach on top of that.

“Strategic staffing is definitely part of ace and one of the things we did is we recruited our highly effective teachers from all around Lubbock ISD to come to Dunbar and teach,” Rollo said.

But, Gabe Gillespie, principal at Dunbar, said social emotional learning is a piece of ACE’s framework that Dunbar is putting an emphasis on.

“You can have the best instruction all day long, but if you don’t have a safe and supportive environment for students to learn in that’s already a barrier that interrupts their learning,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said the focus at Dunbar is to meet the needs of the students who come through their doors each day.

“Remove every barrier that’s in the way of students learning and then provide the high-quality instruction, so it goes hand in hand,” Gillespie said.

Gillespie said he has already seen a night and day difference in the students. He said they are happier, safer and really building relationships with the faculty and staff at Dunbar.

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