Fact Sheet

About the Center for Communities and Education and the Simmons School at SMU

 

December 14, 2011

Children in a classroomThe new Center for Communities and Education in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development is the result of a partnership that began in 2009 with the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition, a nonprofit community development organization dedicated to the transformation of West Dallas through education. The mission is to close the education gap in targeted low-income communities by coordinating resources and using data to support students’ academic success.

The Center for Communities and Education at a Glance

  • Students in West Dallas can be as much as three years below grade level in their academic performance, and by high school, they drop out in unacceptable numbers. According to the 2010 report from Children at Risk, Pinkston, the only high school in West Dallas, ranks at the bottom of high schools in the Dallas area (183 of 183).
      
  • The median age for West Dallas residents is 26 and 38% of them are under 18. Those lacking high school diplomas comprise 67% of the adult population and 37% of families with children live below the federal poverty line.
      
  • The Center for Communities and Education will build on the existing work the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition has created with The School Zone, a collaboration between 20 nonprofit organizations and ten public schools in West Dallas to leverage neighborhood assets and strengthen schools. Simmons faculty and students will engage by conducting research, professional development and assessments.
      
  • To track data collection and outcomes for The School Zone, the Center for Communities and Education is working with the Institute for Urban Policy Research, University of Texas at Dallas to develop The West Dallas Report Card -- www.westdallasreportcard.com-- an electronic dashboard for metrics. All 20 nonprofits in The School Zone are participating.
      
  • In addition to The School Zone, The Center for Communities and Education manages two other programs, Parent Action Groups for Education (PAGE) and Faith and Community for Education Transformation (FACET).
      
  • The Center for Communities and Education is overseen by Regina Nippert, formerly with the Dallas Faith Communities Coalition. The faculty director is Reid Lyon, associate dean of the Simmons School.

 

The Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development at a glance

  • 58 full-time faculty members
  • 5 departments
  • 1 doctoral program
  • 11 Master’s programs, including a degree in Educational Leadership with urban schools specialty
  • 12 graduate certification programs
  • 2 undergraduate programs
  • 2 educational institutes
  • 6 community service centers