Dallas Independent School District loses, on average, 20 percent of its enrollment between the ninth and tenth grades. Research shows that this is the critical point at which students decide whether to continue and complete their education, or withdraw from school. While it may seem a modest ambition to convert a single student, we will consider the program successful if we do so, and we are taking the view that no matter how broad the reach, reading and citizenship are achieved one young man or woman at a time.
As a secondary agenda, we will use Big D Reads to harness the time, talent, and stewardship of Dallas Gen X and Y individuals to fold them into the community of volunteerism and community involvement. We acknowledge that these generations need unique arenas in which to operate, and that their approach will focus on grassroots activity, social media, networking, multi-media, creative messaging, and one-on-one opportunities to contribute to the city. We will consider Big D Reads a success if we are able to mobilize new segments of Gen X and Gen Y leadership, and introduce these individuals to local leaders, mentors, DISD, and city of Dallas influencers.
The 2014-2015 class of D Academy will mobilize volunteer talent among individuals and local companies, each working on discrete committees to create and promote the April 2015 experience.
Funding is a crucial aim at this juncture. In addition to $160,000 in in-kind donations from D Magazine, we need $120,000 to forge and operate the 2015 program, measure it, and refine it for the future.
With the expenses associated with a project of this scope, including purchasing books for DISD students, the ability to successfully execute Big D Reads relies heavily on the generosity of the citizens and corporations of Dallas.