Education and Schools in Dallas

Education plays a central role in Dallas and the city is a major centre of education for much of the South Central region of the USA. Each year thousands of Americans and people from abraod head to Dallas to attend one of the city’s universities, colleges or trade schools.
Dallas has a varied choice of schools for expats with kids
The Dallas Independent School District oversees the provision of education in the city and is one of the largest school districts of the USA. The standard of schooling in Dallas is good and there are plenty of options for students moving to the city from abroad. In Texas, it is compulsory for all children aged between six and 18 to be enrolled in full-time education.
The schooling system is divided into three levels:
  • Pre-kindergarten to grade 5 (elementary school)
  • Grade 6 to grade 8 (middle school)
  • Grade 9 to grade 12 (high school)

Expats moving to Dallas will need to carefully evaluate their priorities for their children’s educations when picking schools. It is necessary to consider cost, proximity of the school to home and the workplace as well as the curriculum and teaching style followed by the school.

Public schools in Dallas

The standard of public schools in Dallas is varied. On one end of the spectrum, Dallas boasts a number of excellent charter and magnet schools that cater for gifted students and produce outstanding results; on the other hand the city is also home to a number of schools that produce less stellar results. 

For this reason, expats choosing to send their children to a public school in Dallas will need to do extensive research into a school’s standards and facilities. A good starting point is to check the academic excellence indicator (AEIS) reports, which outlines the school’s rating as evaluated by the state’s education agency. 

In addition to the fact that public schools are the most cost-effective option available to expats moving to Dallas, the other advantage of sending children to a public school is that it allows them to mix with the local population, which can help them integrate into life in a new country.

The requirements to enrol a student can vary between schools in Dallas. However, as a general guideline expat parents should have the following documents:
  • Student’s birth certificate
  • ID of the child’s parents and proof of residency in the USA
  • Recent report card
  • Immunisation records

Charter and magnet schools

Another option falling under the public schools system in Dallas are charter and magnet schools. Both types of schools are associated with high achievement and a broader cultural outlook. They are great options for expat parents who are looking for a higher standard of education for their child. Charter schools use state-funding and uphold the state curriculum. However, these schools have more scope to be innovative and flexible in their teaching methods than traditional public schools.

Magnet schools also use state funding but follow the International Baccalaureate curriculum. Dallas is home to some of the top-performing magnet schools in the country.

Expats interested in this option should be aware that competition for places at these schools can be fierce, with long waiting lists. Lottery systems are used to confirm enrolment for both charter and magnet schools in Dallas. 

Private schools in Dallas

Expats living in Dallas also have the option of sending their children to one of the city’s private schools. Private schools generally follow the state’s curriculum but tend to have some degree of flexibility when it comes to teaching styles. Many private schools in Dallas have a religious affiliation and incorporate an element of religious instruction into their teaching. 

Private schools in Dallas provide a high standard of teaching and provide lots of scope for gifted students to flourish academically. They tend to offer a more varied range of extra-curricular activities. The downside to sending children to private schools are the high fees. While many of Dallas’ private schools have scholarships and bursaries available, expat students are generally not eligible.

International schools in Dallas

Unlike in other major US cities there are not many international schools in Dallas. Most expats from English-speaking countries find that sending their child to a public or private school is viable and there is not a huge demand for international schools in the city.

Expats from Germany and France will be pleased to know that they can send their children to international schools that follow the national curriculum from their home country. Expats should be aware that many private and magnet schools in Dallas offer the option of studying for the International Baccalaureate.

Demand for places in international schools is high and there are long waiting lists, so it is best to start the application process early. Fees at international schools in Dallas are very expensive. Expats considering this option should negotiate a considerable allowance for their children’s education into their employment package.

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