October staff development opportunities for central staff

Central staff can now register for staff development sessions offered in October. All sessions will take place at the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building.

Mindset in the Workplace

Audience:  Central staff

The differences between a growth and fixed mindset will be explored.  Participants will consider their own mindset and discover how fostering a growth mindset voice supports personal development.

The 5 Languages of Workplace Appreciation  

Audience: Managers, supervisors

When managers and supervisors understand someone’s primary and secondary language, as well as specific ways to speak to them, they can effectively communicate authentic appreciation, thus raising the level of buy-in and performance across the entire team and organization.  Session participants will learn how to express genuine appreciation to co-workers and staff even on a tight budget.  employees

Ignite and Unleash Potential Through Talent Conversations 

Audience:  Supervisors, managers, directors

One of the fundamental roles of a leader is to recognize and unleash the talents and strengths of others.  Talent conversations play a vital role in engaging employees and influencing their performance and development if done effectively and often enough.  This session will provide tools to prepare for and facilitate effective talent conversations.


From Wing Stop to Dallas ISD maintenance supervisor

David Ybarra was working at Wing Stop before joining Dallas ISD’s Operation Services as a groundskeeper.

“I wanted something more than a job,” Ybarra said. “I wanted a good, stable and dependable career with benefits that I could grow in.”

At age 19, Ybarra had to quickly learn the new career path and craft he signed up for. And while Ybarra admits that there were times he doubted himself over his work challenges and responsibilities, they only helped him thrive.

“It took the right leaders in the Operations Division to help me grow,” Ybarra said. “They shared their knowledge and experiences with me so I could find the solutions to challenges.”

Fast forward 10 years, and Ybarra, who has a child enrolled in Dallas ISD, is now the Interim Supervisor at the Northwest Grounds Division.

“It’s a great journey being a part of the district,” Ybarra said. “Now as a supervisor, I get to help and advise new incoming leaders who will one day grow into a bigger role like I did.”

Ybarra credits his peers and supervisors for helping him achieve the role he has today. But he added that it would not be possible without internal ambition and perseverance.

“Dallas ISD is like a big door, and once you open it, there are so many other doors of opportunities in which you can grow into,” Ybarra said. “But you just have to have the patience and strive to learn above all.”

September paycheck includes salary increases and adjustments

All qualifying employees who are not part of a district excellence initiative will see board-approved salary increases reflected in their September paychecks. Some employees also could see additional increases in their base pay to better align district salaries with market rates as recommended in the recent Texas Association of School Boards study.

Those whose salaries are determined through one of the excellence initiatives— most teachers, assistant principals, principals and executive directors of schools—will see salary increases, if eligible, reflected in their October paychecks.

Most pay ranges were increased to improve alignment with the current job market.

As part of TASB’s recommendation to align Dallas ISD to industry standards, the board-approved increase will now be an equal rate increase based on 2 percent of the pay range midpoint of an employee’s pay grade, which was determined by TASB. This is unlike in previous years when the board-approved increase was applied as a percentage of the employee’s actual hourly/annual rate.

Employees are able to log into Oracle and go to Employee Self Service to view their notice of assignment. These notices will include the employee job, salary, and pay grade information. For information on pay groups and pay grades, employees can consult the district’s 2019-2020 Compensation Resource Book.

Other changes in compensation

The main purpose of the TASB study was to analyze compensation throughout the district to ensure alignment with the current job market. Recommendations from the study included changes in pay range structures, consolidation of pay groups, and alignment of job titles. Some of these changes could have resulted in base salary changes though no salaries decreased due to the TASB-based adjustments.

Changes in pay range structures

  • Instructional support pay grades were aligned with the teacher hiring scale
  • More pay levels were added to some pay plans, such as those for paraprofessionals, instructional support, police and security and food services

Consolidation of pay groups

  • All administrative assistants moved to the office support pay group
  • All therapists, nurses and athletic coaches were moved to the instructional support pay group
  • Media assistants, community liaisons and deaf education were moved to the paraprofessional pay group

Alignment of job titles

  • Administrative and executive assistants were aligned by reporting structures
  • Central staff pay grades now distinguish between exempt and non-exempt jobs
  • Central job titles changed for consistency

Professional development opportunities available for central staff

Central staff employees can take advantage of several learning opportunities during September.  All sessions will be held at the Linus D. Wright Administration Building, 9400 N. central Expressway. The available opportunities are:

Results Focused Leadership Series—This is a three-part series that focuses on the nuts and bolts of management and tools to get results whether you are a new leader or an experienced one. Interested staff can attend all three modules or just one.  Audience:  New Managers, Managers, Supervisors.

  • Module 1:  Goals and Check-ins  Discover how check-in meetings make it easier to manage day-to-day work of the staff and ensure it is connected to big picture goals that impact results.
  • Module 2:  Developing People and Feedback  Participants will discuss development techniques and a way to structure feedback so employees will understand what you are commenting on and why.
  • Module 3:  Exercising Authority Something that sounds simple can be the source of anxiety.  This session will identify passive and aggressive behaviors and explain what it means to exercise authority without being too passive or overly aggressive.

The 5 Languages of Workplace Appreciation (Click here) When managers and supervisors understand someone’s primary and secondary language, as well as specific ways to speak to them, they can effectively communicate authentic appreciation, thus raising the level of buy-in and performance across the entire team and organization. Session participants will learn how to express genuine appreciation to co-workers and staff even on a tight budget.  Audience: Managers, Supervisors, Central Staff employees

Multiple Generations at Work (Click here) This session will identify the multiple generations in the workplace and formulate a better understanding of their needs and motivations. Language skills to effectively communicate and collaborate will be discussed.  Audience:  Central Staff employees


New structures and staff in new positions greet the new school year

The Teaching and Learning division shifted its organizational structure to create a more systematic approach to meeting student, parents and staff needs.

  • Shannon Trejo was named deputy chief of Academics.
  • Assistant Superintendent for Special Populations Elizabeth Casas will lead programs for special populations, which include dual language and special education services and dyslexia/504, with Michelle Brown serving as executive director, advanced academics, social emotional learning and special education auxiliary services, led by Executive Director Juany Valdespino-Gaytan
  • Language, Literacy and Social Studies responsibilities shifted resulting in a move from an assistant superintendent to an executive director level (currently vacant). This position will oversee reading language arts (3-12), social studies (3-12), world languages (K-12), and multi-tiered systems of support
  • An assistant superintendent overseeing STEM, computer science, CTE and career institutes was established. Oswaldo Alvarenga will serve in that capacity.

Other staff changes/promotions

  • Silvia Salinas was named executive director of the Athletics Department.
  • John Lawton is the new chief of police for Dallas ISD
  • Marlon Shears was selected as the new deputy chief technology officer

Dallas ISD tackles new level of achievement: middle school

After successfully growing high-quality pre-K for early learners and opening new collegiate academies for high school students, Dallas ISD is turning its attention to “the last frontier”: middle school.

The new initiative should bring strategies proven to lift school performance—strategic staffing, instructional excellence, social and emotional support, extended learning and supportive partnerships—to 24 Dallas ISD middle schools.

“We are not providing what we need to be providing to our middle school students,” Elizalde said in March during a Board of trustees briefing. “We are going to work with these schools and provide additional resources and support to ensure our students are being best prepared for success.”

As principal of D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School, Jonica Crowder-Lockwood has seen how pivotal the middle school years are for students. Hulcy STEAM Middle School reopened to great success in 2015 and has since become a “Gold Ribbon” school, according to a Children at Risk report.

“Middle school is a stage of discovery. Students are figuring out what they like to do and who they are,” Crowder-Lockwood said. “It’s great that Dallas ISD is focusing on these years so we can guide our kids into success in high school and beyond.”


New schools and programs provide families more options

Dallas ISD opened two new magnet schools this fall—Trinity Heights Talented and Gifted (formerly Roger Q. Mills Elementary School) and Mark Twain School for the Talented and Gifted.

North Lake Collegiate Academy opened its doors to its first group of students who can earn a high school diploma and associate degree–at no cost to them–while still in high school. About 8,500 students are now enrolled in collegiate academies in Dallas ISD.

Seven additional schools are offering the two-way dual language programs this school year, providing more opportunities for students to learn to read, write and speak in two languages. Dallas ISD now has 68 schools that offer the program. In this program, English speakers can learn Spanish and Spanish speakers can learn English. Students grow to become biliterate and bilingual while gaining high academic achievement and cross-cultural competence.

Over the course of a day in a two-way dual language program, students who speak and students who are learning to speak English are taught together certain subjects, such as science, in Spanish and other subjects, such as math, in English. The program aims to have a fairly even split between students who speak English and those who are learning to speak English.

“These students can think like a scientist in Spanish, then turn around and solve a complicated math problem in English: it just blows you out of the water to watch,” said Cloris Rangel, the Dallas ISD director of Dual Language Programs.  “Being bilingual and biliterate gives these students a huge leg up not just in school, but in their lives well beyond graduation.”

The additional campuses that offer a two-way dual language program this year are:

  • Montessori Academy at Onesimo Hernandez
  • John W. Carpenter Elementary
  • Trinity Heights School for the Talented and Gifted
  • Mark Twain School for the Talented and Gifted
  • Frederick Douglass Elementary
  • Sam Houston Elementary
  • Bethune Elementary

H.S. Thompson Elementary will also offer the program when the school reopens next semester.

Other schools that offer dynamic opportunities for students are the eight new innovation schools designed as new academic models inside an existing neighborhood campus that keeps its traditional boundaries, bringing more education choices into families’ backyards.

An innovation school offers a new academic model inside an existing neighborhood campus that keeps its traditional boundaries. As part of the Office of Transformation and Innovation (OTI) proposal process, leadership at each of the eight schools spent months designing new academic models.

“These eight new innovation schools focus on our neighborhood campuses, bringing more educational choices into our families’ backyards,” said Angie Gaylord, Dallas ISD deputy chief of Transformation and Innovation.

The eight new innovation schools will have one of two academic models: Personalized Learning, which focuses on a student’s interests, talents and goals; and STEAM, which focuses on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

The eight innovation schools this year are:

  • Ignacio Zaragoza Elementary School (Personalized Learning)
  • Arturo Salazar Elementary School (Personalized Learning)
  • Leila P. Cowart Elementary School (Personalized Learning)
  • Birdie Alexander Elementary School (Pilot Personalized Learning)
  • H.B. Gonzalez Elementary School (Personalized Learning)
  • Jack Lowe Elementary School (Personalized Learning)
  • Kleberg Elementary School (Pilot STEAM)
  • Ronald E. McNair Elementary School (STEAM)