Institute for Social Impact

Community Engagement

Community Engagement seeks to better engage and partner with the community to achieve long-term and sustainable outcomes, processes, relationships, discourse, decision-making, or implementation.

From Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade, Hockaday students in all divisions are engaging and partnering with the community throughout the entire year.
United to Lead, co-founded in 2012 by philanthropist Abby Williams and Laura Day, is a program open to sophomores and juniors in private and public high schools.  They apply design-thinking strategies to real-world issues in North Dallas by engaging these high school leaders to learn advocacy skills and create viable solutions. Hear how their partnership, based in data, is transforming the way Dallas views service in early childhood education by clicking here.

In 2017-2018 more than 420 upper school students committed over 15,000 hours in tutoring programs at 8 local public schools working to improve literacy rates. The goal is to catch kids up by the third grade for STARR testing. The schools at which Hockaday tutors had a 10% gain above all other DISD schools during the 2017-2018 school year. Hockaday students will continue to track data and continue to tutor at these schools for 2018-2019. Upper School students play science and enrichment sensory games with daycare children at Creative Steps Academy to improve early reading skills and prepare them for success when enrolling in elementary school.

Jewish Family Services
leads a two-hour simulation to the Fourth Grade Class about learning differences and physical disabilities. The Hockaday students gain a better understanding of these issues and build empathy.

Hockaday’s contemporary English class led by Janet Bilhartz in partnership with Tony Award Winning Dallas Theater Center, and the AP English class from Thomas Jefferson will study Lynn Nottage’s play SWEAT.   DTC Director Tim Bond will lead a class and the course will culminate with a viewing of the play and a Talk-Back with the actors.

As a senior, Neha Dronamraju participated in the United to Lead fellowship and became committed to education equity. With fellow students from Thomas Jefferson High School, Neha spoke at DISD board meetings, talked to her school board representative and became close friends with her counterparts at Thomas Jefferson High School. She learned about the language barrier many high school students face and decided to start her own ESL classes with a local refugee organization. She is now attending SMU in order to stay involved with DISD and study education policy
“In support of this initiative, Executive Director for United to Learn Abby Williams notes, “United to Learn celebrates the launch of the Hockaday Institute for Social Impact leading our schools to inspire generations of young leaders to contribute a socially responsible future. We look forward to continued collaboration to accelerate students’ achievement across our supported public schools and building a singular vision of success for our community.”
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