||In 2011, a Dallas ISD trustee led the effort to move the district to full day from a mix of half day and full day Pre‑K. In 2013, the district created an executive director position focused exclusively on Pre‑K, and Alan Cohen moved from Commit to Dallas ISD to fill the role, with the goal of increasing the number of children ready for Kindergarten.
With a few key initiatives underway, Cohen also began working with the community in 2014 to develop a more comprehensive long-term plan to increase kindergarten readiness. That strategy, for the first time, articulated a focus on improving kindergarten readiness through four key levers: increasing access for families, creating demand for Pre‑K, developing quality, and a continuum of care.This strategy could not have got off the ground without the deep support of the DISD Board of Trustees, or without the Boston Consulting Group, who invested a team to help with developing the strategy.
One of the major outcomes of this strategy was a major marketing push to increase Pre‑K enrollment, including the launch of the first Dallas County Pre‑K registration campaign, where 5 districts and more than 75 community organizations rallied together to increase Pre‑K enrollment by more than 250 percent across the county. Today, this effort goes far beyond Dallas ISD to include 16 districts aligned on a common Pre‑K registration week with the support of nearly 150 community partners.
It was also during this period that the Dallas ISD team began to grow, with an emphasis on intensive, job-embedded coaching for teachers. DISD hired its first Pre‑K Specialists, a group of coaches dedicated to partnering with Pre‑K teachers across the district to improve the quality of instruction for kids.