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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Think of it like Dallas Independent School District education success — in black and white. While the DISD wants all students to succeed test results show something troubling.

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Looking at the state math test, it shows 60-percent of African-American students across Texas pass. But only 49-percent of African-American teens enrolled in DISD pass the same test.

The school district is now making more of an effort to tackle black student success.

Byron Jones’ daughter, Trinity, shines bright in school. The youngster has all A’s in her classes and is setting the pace for others.

Jones has a formula for success. “Her after school programs. We keep her involved in everything that her school is doing; like cheerleading, after school activities, peer mediation…. Everything,” he explained.

Black students, like Trinity, make up just over 20-percent of Dallas ISD’s student population. But overall success in the classroom as a collective group generates elevated concern for the school system.

During one meeting Dallas School Board President Miguel Solis said, “The data will also tell you that they are significantly behind. And that happens year, after year, after year. This is the important issue that we need to get right.”

African-American students lag significantly in reading, math and other core subjects in Dallas.

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

(credit: CBSDFW.COM)

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In five Dallas ISD neighborhoods, with majority black enrollment, less than 50-percent of black students passed the state math exam. The average passing rate statewide for black students is 63-percent.

Dr. Dinah Marks is the principal at Oak Cliff’s Zumwalt Middle School. “I don’t like to refer to it as a gap,” she said. “I want to refer to it as a lack of experiences and exposure for our children.”

The district’s success initiative for students, like Dr. Marks’, includes not just more work in the classroom, but broadening exposure.

The initiative calls for a reading and math tutoring program and using more than 200 DISD staffers as mentors for African American students at 130 schools. It also means partnering with parents, like Byron Jones, to get their children to find the height of classroom success his daughter experiences today.

DISD Superintendent Mike Miles has and continues to say that having better teachers in classrooms will help all students in the DISD.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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