Jindal School Program to Help Dallas ISD Students Shine Brighter

  • Dozens of Dallas ISD high school students visited the University for the launch of the Jindal Young Scholars Program last month.

Students, faculty and administrators from the Dallas Independent School District recently visited The University of Texas at Dallas to kick off a new partnership between the school district and the Naveen Jindal School of Management.

The goal of the Jindal Young Scholars Program is to help “Stars Shine Brighter Here” by supporting the academic, social and emotional development of Dallas ISD high school students and increase their chances of postsecondary success.

Spearheaded by Dr. Hasan Pirkul, dean of the Jindal School and Caruth Chair, the program will include five Dallas ISD schools:

  • The School of Business and Management at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center
  • Moisés E. Molina High School
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt High School
  • H. Grady Spruce High School
  • W. T. White High School

“What a great opportunity for these schools. It’s amazing what UTD has put out there for these kids,” said Vince Reyes, Dallas ISD assistant superintendent. “What a generational impact it could have for students coming from these schools.”

Leadership Activities and Scholarships

The program for students in grades 9 through 12 is composed of year-round leadership activities and full scholarships. The leadership activities include academic enrichment programs such as tutoring for students enrolled in Advanced Placement courses, a mentoring program, parent engagement activities, UT Dallas campus visits, SAT/ACT preparation courses, financial aid and scholarship application support. While students are encouraged to apply to UT Dallas, the program helps students navigate the financial aid and scholarship application process no matter where they apply.

The full-scholarship component of the program awards financial grants to students from the five high schools who participate in the program and fulfill all its requirements, including maintaining a qualifying grade-point average, actively participating in program activities, involving their parents whenever possible and applying to UT Dallas and the Jindal School. The scholarship may be used for tuition and fees, room and board, books and supplies, and a stipend to help defray living expenses.

Based on conversations we’ve had with Dallas ISD administrators, we anticipate robust participation and expect to have a cohort of students from the five participating high schools enrolled for the fall 2018 semester.

Dr. Diane McNulty, Jindal School associate dean

The kickoff event was itself an enrichment activity for the 84 students from the five high schools who attended. Billy Schewee, director of the Jindal Young Scholars Program, taught the students how to Whoosh, the signature gesture of UT Dallas students and alumni. The Dallas ISD students then displayed their new talent at a photo shoot with Temoc, the UT Dallas mascot.

The students also toured campus, visiting a residence hall and Blackstone LaunchPad, the campus innovation incubator. After lunch at Dining Hall West, they attended a panel discussion led by representatives from various UTD student organizations.

Idol Mallard, assistant principal at Roosevelt High School, witnessed how excited his students were when they visited UT Dallas.

“They don’t often get the opportunity to leave campus or even get out of their community,” he said. “For them to be able to experience other areas of Dallas and see what the options are — that’s an exciting piece for them.”

Benefiting Students and the Community

Usamah Rodgers, a Dallas ISD assistant superintendent, said the Jindal Young Scholars fills a need for the district’s students.

“We have very talented students in our district that have opportunities to go to college — some even get to go to top-tier universities — and there’s always some level of financial support,” she said. “But a gap often exists between the social or emotional support they need to stay and persist and what they actually receive. That’s what sets this program apart from many others.”

“Based on conversations we’ve had with Dallas ISD administrators, we anticipate robust participation and expect to have a cohort of students from the five participating high schools enrolled for the fall 2018 semester,” said Dr. Diane McNulty, Jindal School associate dean for external affairs and corporate relations. “We are actively soliciting gifts and have built great relationships with generous corporate and individual partners who see the value of programs such as this one. We are prepared to offer assistance to any participant in the Jindal Young Scholars Program who wants it.”

For Rodgers, the value of the program includes its long-term benefits to the community.

“When you have students who persist and complete a degree, and you couple that with the notion of having the spirit of giving back — to whom much is given much is required — then they’re able to go back into their neighborhoods and communities and show people that, ‘You know what? I made it and so can you,’” she said. “They begin to break cycles of poverty. When that happens, then they are elevating the city as a whole. It creates a better society for everyone.”

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

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