Category: Education

Speakers Bring the Heat at Facilities Meeting


Last night was the second public forum regarding the upcoming bond election for HPISD facilities renovations. And I must say, good job, guys. As I mentioned earlier this week, Tuesday night’s meeting had a dearth of speakers. But this time, nearly 20 speakers voiced their praise, concerns, and criticisms, pushing the meeting more than an hour past its projected end time. 

HPISD Wants Your Feedback on Bonds



The plans for a November bond election are chugging along for HPISD trustees, who are now trying to secure community support before the state-mandated deadline for filing the necessary paperwork.

So the school board, as well as its Facilities Advisory Committee of community volunteers, have planned two public forums this week to solicit feedback on their ideas. They will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Highland Park Middle School auditorium, and 7 p.m. Thursday at the Highland Park High School auditorium.

The latest proposal is for a whopping $358.3 million, which is far more ambitious than any such plan in the district’s history. It includes several ideas for accommodating enrollment growth that already has led to overcrowded campuses, with more students projected in the future. There’s talk of a fifth elementary school, as well as the tearing down and rebuilding of three existing elementary campuses, with extensive renovations to other buildings.

We’ve written in great detail about the proposals, and what they might mean to your property tax rate, so you can do your own cost-benefit analysis before attending. You can also comment online here.

Pulitzer, Tony Winner to Work with UNT

Doug Wright

Doug Wright

Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning playwright Doug Wright will serve as the 2015-2016 artist-in-residence for UNT’s Institute for the Advancement of the Arts.

Wright, who grew up in the Park Cities, will visit UNT for three weeks in the fall and spring, where he will work with students and conduct research for upcoming works.

The playwright won the Pulitzer and Tony for his 2003 play, “I Am My Own Wife,” a portrayal of a transgender woman in Nazi Germany. He studied at Yale and NYU and has taught at both schools, as well as The Juilliard School.



HPISD Names Communications Director

Jon Dahlander

Jon Dahlander

It hasn’t been long since former HPISD communications director Helen Williams left to return to her native Louisiana. Today, incoming superintendent Tom Trigg announced that Jon Dahlander will replace her.

Dahlander is the executive director of communication services for Dallas ISD, where he has served for almost 20 years. Before that, he was the executive director of communications for the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

HPHS Senior to Attend Journalism Workshop


Incoming HPHS senior Eric Johnsen is one of 15 Texas high school students selected to attend UNT’s Multimedia High School journalism summer workshop in July.

The week-long workshop, hosted by UNT’s Mayborn School of Journalism, gives juniors and seniors or recent graduates experience in multimedia storytelling through news articles, online photo galleries, blogs, and broadcast news packages.

Students will attend the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference from July 17-19 at the Hilton DFW Lakes Executive Conference Center, where they will take classes, interview speakers, and attend keynote speaker dinners.

SMU Hosts Pair of Teen Filmmaking Camps


With improved access to technology and lower costs, it’s becoming easier these days for our most creative young minds to bring their filmmaking aspirations to fruition.

So if you’re a teenager with Oscar-sized dreams behind the camera, or know someone who is, the Dallas Film Society is hosting a pair of three-day workshops this month in conjunction with SMU ‘s Meadows School of the Arts that will teach the basics in a hands-on setting.

Production Boot Camp is set for July 8-10, while What Makes a Good Documentary will be held July 13-15. Both are for students ages 14-18, and will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day in the Umphrey Lee Center on the SMU campus.

HP Cheerleaders Go, Fight, Win at Camp


The HPHS cheerleaders won plenty of awards at the prestigious UCA camp.

Four HP cheerleaders were named UCA All-Americans: Annalea Pedigo, Arden Wynn, Nicole Gottlich, and Camille McSherry.

HP cheerleaders are UCA All-Americans: Annalea Pedigo, Arden Wynn, Nicole Gottlich, and Camille McSherry.

The Highland Park High School cheerleading squads proved themselves against some of the best in the country when they brought home several awards from the recent Universal Cheerleaders Association camp in Grapevine.

In addition to classes and pep rallies, the four-day camp included an opportunity to qualify for UCA All-American status in addition to various team honors. HP’s All-American qualifiers included Nicole Gottlich, Camille McSherry, Arden Wynn, and Annalea Pedigo. All four earned an invitation to perform at Thanksgiving Day parades in either Orlando or Philadelphia, and Gottlich was invited to return as a staff member as next year’s camp.

Learning Can Be Fun Afterschool

Bottom left: Dallas Afterschool works with 120 sites throughout Dallas, collectively serving 9,000 students. Activity boxes contain 45-minute activities to help actively engage the students. (Photos Courtesy of Dallas Afterschool) 0
Bottom left: Dallas Afterschool works with 120 sites throughout Dallas, collectively serving 9,000 students. Activity boxes contain 45-minute activities to help actively engage the students. (Photos Courtesy of Dallas Afterschool)

There was a time when afterschool care was just homework help, apple-juice boxes, and peanut butter sandwiches — not the most appealing situation for today’s youth.

Introducing Dallas Afterschool, where there’s more to programming than just snacks. The staff is in the business of improving the quality of afterschool and summer programs. Since 2007, Dallas Afterschool has collaborated with nonprofit afterschool sites in low-income neighborhoods to suit the needs of the youth in that area.

“There’s something to be said for having kids safe between the hours of three and six,” said Christina Hanger, CEO at Dallas Afterschool.

Today, Dallas Afterschool serves 120 nonprofit afterschool sites, including Trinity River Mission and Family Place shelter, serving nearly 9,000 students.

HPISD Tackles High Cost of Managing Growth

hpisd-growth 3

Regardless of how public sentiment shakes out on Highland Park ISD’s massive bond proposal, everyone can agree on at least two things — it certainly is ambitious, and $358.3 million is a lot of money.

Although a final price tag hasn’t been determined yet, that’s an estimated cost of the unprecedented package that HPISD trustees hope will win voter approval in November, allowing for a complete overhaul of district facilities.

The primary goals are to relieve overcrowding at each campus — including the accommodation of projected future growth for the next 20 years — and to update aging buildings that in some cases have outlived their usefulness.

Trigg Officially Named Superintendent


Tom Trigg has officially been named the new superintendent of HPISD. Trigg was named the “lone finalist” on June 1, and the district followed the state-required, 21-day waiting period before naming him superintendent.

Trigg will lead the Superintendent’s Convocation for faculty and staff on Aug. 17.

UPDATE (2:45 P.M.):

According to his contract, which HPISD has posted online, Trigg will receive a $320,000 salary plus a $5,000 doctoral stipend. Trigg is also granted a car allowance of $1,000 per month and a technology allowance of $150 per month. In addition, he’ll receive $20,000 for relocation expenses and a $1.2 million interest-free loan for a home, which must be in the district. Trigg will have to pay back the loan within four months of his contract expiring.

The contract is effective as of today’s date, though Trigg’s term of employment technically begins July 27 and ends June 30, 2019. The district may extend the term by action of the board and approval of the superintendent.

HP Library Presents Marvelous Monarchs


Kids will have the chance to be heroes for the environment at HP Library’s Marvelous Monarchs event on July 10.

At 10 a.m. in Prather Park, staff from the Texas Discovery Gardens will present a program about Monarch butterflies and their migration patters, complete with live butterflies.

The event is part of the library’s 2015 Every Hero Has a Story Summer Reading Club, sponsored by Christine McKenny and Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate.

Children may still register for the reading club. If they read five books, they will receive a free ticket voucher for the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, and if they read 10, they will receive a certificate and have a book donated in their honor to the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas.

Providence Celebrates Graduation

Look at all those happy Providence babies.

Look at all those happy Providence girls.

Providence eighth graders celebrated their graduation on May 28.

“We will miss each and every one but know they will represent us well as they enter this new season of their lives,” head of middle school Jeff Hendricks said.

The graduates are: Allison Albert, Sterling Alpert, Alex Baker, Spencer Borrego, Avery Bowers, Margaret Boyd, Creston Brooks, Becca Brophey, Padgitt Diehl, Ruth Anne Emerson, Alyssa Garner, Mollie Hamman, Haley Hanson, Arden Howard, Daniel Jones, Emma Kackley, Holden LaForce, Anna Kathryn Lipe, Sophia Love, Jordan McFarlane, Jackson Mechem, Claire Nowlin, Broc O’Brien, Bryce O’Brien, Rachel O’Brien, Katherine Patterson, Beverly Poston, Michelle Raybourn, Scott Raybourn, Cole Rea, Macrae Smith, Kelsey Wittmann, and Laurel Wood.

Catch more graduations in our July issue.