Announcing Rocketship Dennis Dunkins Elementary!
by Dr. Christina Hanson, Founding Principal
Rocketship Texas families have continued to engage and express their power! In March families met at our School Naming Kick Off Event to brainstorm a list of possible school names to represent our community and the values we want to convey during this process. Our school will serve the Stop Six neighborhood – a historically Black community steeped in pride and tradition. The Stop Six neighborhood, located in the southeast sector of Fort Worth, has served as one of the economic and cultural epicenters for African Americans for several decades after its founding. As a vital hub for the African American community, our community offers a vibrant culture and rich legacy that most don’t consider and is often overlooked. For our families and our staff, we want our school to represent not just the possibility of the future, but also to call upon the beautiful community we have here in Stop Six.
Schools in our area are traditionally named after meaningful figures from the various communities historically in Fort Worth.We wanted to continue that tradition while representing the unique aspects of our first Rocketship school. Our families generated a list of 5 names that legal and others vetted – then last week families and staff discussed the meaning of each name and voted on the name that best represents a rich legacy of our community.
Our families came together to select our fifth core value and enrichment offering as well. We want our parents to be genuinely engaged in all aspects of our school! Our School Naming and Beyond Community Meeting, by design, separated our families into three groups that rotated through choosing the school name, fifth core value, and enrichment. Staff members from our regional team led each group through engaging activities that grounded families in the scope and long-lasting effect the night’s choices would have. After the event, families electronically voted on all three – the energy in the room was palpable! You could see the excitement on everyone’s faces to not only pick our name, fifth core value, and enrichment, but to be a proud owner of a piece of our school start-up process. Families enjoyed expressing their parent power in yet another meaningful way.
And so, without further ado, our school name is…drum roll, please…
Rocketship Dennis Dunkins Elementary (RDDE)
Dr. Dennis Dunkins was a pioneer of education in Fort Worth and beyond. For decades, he worked for the Fort Worth Independent School District and was instrumental in promoting school choice. He played a crucial role in creating magnet programs and was a champion for education excellence in the Stop Six community. As one of the founders of the Fort Worth Area Alliance of Black School Educators (FWAABSE) and the Texas Alliance of Black School Educators (TABSE), he worked tirelessly to solicit more principals of color to serve the local school district. Additionally, he single-handedly organized and chaperoned thousands of middle and high school students on the annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities tours.
Dennis Dunkins’ courage, passion for excellent education, dedication to our community, and belief in developing talented, diverse educators inspired our parents to choose his legacy to honor. You can read more about Dr. Dunkins’ life and legacy in this Fort Worth Star-Telegram article.
We also voted for our 5th core value of H.O.P.E. which means Having Opportunities Presented Everyday in Every Way! Our enrichment will also be theater arts.
As a principal, I was proud to offer families the option to choose! Similar to how families now have the opportunity to choose a school that’s not based on zip code, they also chose what school name resonated with them the most as a group. It’s another expression of power, presence, and voice that we support in all families to express every single day. It was incredible to see our families so honored in our school naming process from beginning to end.
And it’s just the beginning. I know that our families will be invested in ensuring our campus lives up to the legacy of Dr. Dennis Dunkins!
We are RDDE (ready!).
Dr. Christina Hanson is a Southeast Fort Worth native who knows what it’s like to be a student, mother, teacher, and principal in our community. Dr. Hanson not only brings years of experience in Fort Worth ISD as a skilled school leader, curriculum coach, and teacher, but also carries a warmth and genuinity that makes school feel like the second home it’s meant to be. Dr. Hanson has enjoyed serving schools in the community where she grew up and is elated to continue impacting the educational experience for students, families, and the community.
Published on May 20, 2022