CCD Celebrates Transformation of 51 Campuses

Dallas, TX (April 28, 2023) – United to Learn (U2L), a Dallas-based nonprofit that partners with Dallas ISD elementary schools to accelerate student achievement and grow purposeful leaders, celebrated the completion of 85 Community Campus Day projects at 51 schools that were executed throughout the spring. Community individuals and volunteers worked with Dallas ISD U2L schools to work on research-driven, tailored projects that enhanced learning environments and revitalized campuses across the city.

On May 12, 45 corporate and individual sponsors, principals from 51 schools, and teachers and students of Dan D Rogers Elementary School celebrated the sponsors, volunteers, and school leaders who worked together to transform Dallas ISD elementary school campuses to create a positive impact on the learning environment.

The average age of a Dallas ISD elementary school is 52 years. According to a study done by the University of Texas at Austin, student achievement scores can decrease up to 9% (depending on
maintenance factors) as school buildings age. In addition, research shows that the learning environment influences performance. In fact, a report by Professor Peter Barrett states that a school’s built environment accounts for 25% of a student’s learning progress. Despite the important role the learning environment plays on education, enhancements and improvements are not easily afforded by school budgets, which is where United to Learn steps in.

“With the help of our incredible volunteers, we were able to make a significant impact on our community schools this spring, transforming internal and external spaces that enhance the school environment in an effort to close opportunity gaps and simply make school a happier place to be,” said Abigail Williams, United to Learn Founder and CEO. “The changes that we made this semester will be transformative for years to come and we couldn’t do that without the close partnership of the schools and the generosity of our sponsors.”

These partnerships include large-scale design firms like Renson and HKS that are creating long lasting, professional-grade enhancements to outdoor learning spaces. Other partnerships like Goldman Sachs, Vizient, Truist, and EY build community engagement, workforce development and corporate responsibility amongst employees.

During this year’s city-wide volunteer events, United to Learn raised $257,000 and mobilized 1200 community volunteers from companies, schools, and other organizations. They completed 15 literacy-focused projects, which promote literacy achievement in students by offering access to leveled texts for self-selected reading, designated reading areas, as well as curated multicultural age-appropriate books; reinvigorated 10 outdoor learning environments, creating an engaging space for students to learn outside of the classroom, including garden refreshes, new outdoor learning spaces, revamped basketball courts and chicken coops; created and established 10 spirit stores dedicated to motivational incentives for students demonstrating good habits, such as perseverance, leadership, and empathy; set up and organized eight care closets to provide clothing for students who need a change of clothes or an additional uniform and indicating that a school is a safe learning environment for students; designed four calming corners that students can utilize to regulate their emotions; and applied three hallway sensory paths, which provide students with structured brain breaks where they can focus their energy outside of the classroom space.