Dallas City of Learning 2019 Impact Report

Today, The City of Dallas, the Dallas Independent School District (DISD), Big Thought and the Center of Research and Evaluation at SMU hosted a ‘State of Summer’ update about the progress of the Dallas City of Learning program.

Dallas City of Learning is a citywide initiative to ensure all students have access to high-quality summer learning programs. In partnership with more than 700 community partners, the program connects students to the city’s most valuable out-of-school time resources.

By sixth grade, each limited resource student has already missed out on 6,000 hours of learning compared to their more affluent peers. The summer months are especially challenging, as students lose two to four months of academic skills in the extended time away from school.

Dallas City of Learning is a public-private partnership that was launched in 2014 and serves an average of 76,500 DISD students each summer, helping to close this gap.

“Continuing to keep our students’ minds sharp over the summer months impacts their school performance and ultimately, their long-term prospects for academic success,” said T.C. Broadnax, city manager of Dallas. “The City of Dallas is grateful for the hundreds of partners that work hard to deliver this important program for our children.”

Dr. Michael Hinojosa, superintendent of DISD stated, “Dallas City of Learning has provided more than 7,300 summer learning programs over the past three years. This program is helping us create more equity for our students who live in areas with little or no enrichment activities. We are stopping the ‘summer slide’ – improving attendance, GPAs and STAAR scores.”

“As someone who was the first in her family to graduate from a four-year college, I know that it takes a village for us to move our children forward,” said Cynt Marshall, CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. “Dallas City of Learning is providing our children with a village that cares, teaches and enriches. We should all support this program as an investment in our future workforce.”

Byron Sanders, CEO of Big Thought shared, “It is our team’s privilege to work with more than 700 incredible partner organizations to break down barriers in program deserts, improving access to learning resources across the city. Nearly three million hours of programming were provided during the summer of 2019 and our students are responding very positively to their teachers and the curriculum.”

Three program awards were announced at the State of Summer event:

Neighbor’s Award Goes to Frazier Revitalization

The Dallas City of Learning Neighbor’s Award recognizes an outstanding partner whose work in summer learning has been identified as uniquely community-focused and uplifting. The summer 2019 Neighbor’s Award winner is Frazier Revitalization, a place-based nonprofit that serves as a catalyst for the revitalization of the community, where 50 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. As part of Dallas City of Learning, Frazier Revitalization utilized a social-emotional learning approach to counter the negative and health behavior patterns caused by childhood trauma and provided consistent academic programming after school and in the summer to help close the achievement gap by building math and reading skills.

Superintendent’s Award Goes to Bold Idea

The Dallas City of Learning Superintendent’s Award recognizes an outstanding partner whose work in summer learning has been identified as uniquely innovative. The winner of the Superintendent’s Award for 2019 is Bold Idea, an education non-profit organization that helps north Texas students discover computer science and prepare for careers in technology and engineering.

Partner of the Year Award Goes to the Dallas Public Library

The Dallas City of Learning Partner of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding, multi-year partner whose work in summer learning has demonstrated elevated levels of expertise year over year in how they impact access and dosage to high quality summer programming. The summer 2019 Partner of the Year is the Dallas Public Library, which provided various programs for students and their families.

Dallas City of Learning Summer 2019 Summary

  • More than 700 program partners participated
  • 2,735 programs were offered
  • 95% of programs offered were free for participants
  • Total youths served = 68,303
  • 2,993,300 cumulative hours of programming were provided
  • 30+ days of student participation delivers the greatest impact
  • Multi-year participation is better for student outcomes

Key Outcomes

With every 10 days of Dallas City of learning programming:

  • Elementary school students are 25 percent more likely to pass STAAR math
  • Elementary school students are 35 percent more likely to pass STAAR reading
  • High school students are 40 percent more likely to pass End of Course English 1

The Dallas City of Learning summer program is most effective when partners are offering programming on a long-term and consistent basis. Big Thought, the Dallas City of Learning program manager, is currently looking to extend existing partnerships for next year as well as recruiting new program partners for the summer 2020 program.

For more information about becoming a Dallas City of Learning partner, please visit: https://dallascityoflearning.org/partner.

Dallas City of Learning is supported by a strong network of funding partners. To see the full list, please visit: https://dallascityoflearning.org/about.


Dallas City of Learning (DCoL) was established in 2014 as a collaborative public-private initiative led by Dallas Independent School District, the City of Dallas Mayor’s Office and Big Thought. DCoL is an out of school arts, culture and STEM learning system for grades K-12 that focuses on connecting youth with low- and no-cost learning experiences that cultivate creativity, build social and emotional skills and boost academic achievement. Students choose from an array of digital and in-person activities throughout the city that spark their interests and feed their curiosity.


Driven by our mission to make imagination a part of everyday learning, Big Thought is an impact education nonprofit dedicated to closing the opportunity gap for youth in Dallas and beyond. Throughout our 30+ year history of innovation, Big Thought has become a national model in arts education, out of school time systems, summer learning and juvenile justice intervention. Now we’re one of 6 community partnerships in the U.S. helping scale national best practices in social and emotional learning. For more information about Big Thought, visit: https://www.bigthought.org.


Jacqueline Chen Valencia


[email protected]