Get positive with Core 4

Core 4 tip: Interacting Positively with Customers

Given a choice, most people would prefer to be around positive people who approach life and others in a friendly way. No one wants to work side by side with someone who is always negative, consistently bringing down the room, and clearly uninterested in being helpful. Don’t be that person.

Strive to establish rapport with colleagues and other customers and continue building a collaborative relationship by interacting with them in a positive manner. When you are positive and upbeat, people will respond similarly. Here are a few tips to consider.

Be helpful. Show your customers, including your colleagues, you are here to help them. Go the extra mile. Even if the question or request is not in your area, offering to find the best person to help, and following up to see if the customer’s needs were met is a key step in providing excellent customer service. Set a personal goal to help someone every day. You will feel better when you meet that goal, and it’s a great habit to start working on, today.

Be committed. People who are committed to their work and customers look for ways to make things better by anticipating the customers’ needs. It’s easier to do this by placing yourself in the customer’s shoes and considering what you would want if you were the customer. No matter your role, give your customers 110%.

Be a problem solver. Be part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Look for answers instead of focusing on what’s wrong. People who focus on problems complain; people who focus on solutions find ways to make a difference.

Be credible. Customers appreciate nice employees, but they value knowledgeable employees. Learn as much as you can about your department.  If you need additional training, speak to your manager. Taking the time to find out what each area in your department does, is a great way to start.

Get ready for summer 2020

Similar to this past summer, central staff employees will work a four-day workweek, and the district will close on Fridays during a portion of the summer. Central office hours during the summer will be 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Monthly Employees

  • Employees paid monthly will work the four-day work week June 1 through July 31.
  • Monthly employees will resume their regular work hours on Aug. 3.

Biweekly Employees

  • Employees paid biweekly will work a four-day workweek June 5 through Aug. 6.
  • Biweekly employees will NOT work on June 5 if they participate in the four-day workweek.
  • Biweekly employees who participate in the four-day workweek will resume their regular hours on Aug. 7.

Supervisors may allow employees to work a schedule other than the four-day workweek as long as the change does not negatively affect the functions of the department. Employees are responsible for consulting with their supervisor to determine the start, end, and lunch times of their daily work schedule during the summer.

The district will be closed for summer break June 29 through July 3. Employees will not be permitted to work for pay while the district is closed unless the employee has received prior written approval from their department chief. All central staff employees will return to work on July 6.

The Mavericks appreciate educators

Come join the Dallas Mavericks for Teacher Appreciation Night on Wednesday, Jan. 8. All educators, friends, and family can enjoy a special discount on tickets for the game by going to to purchase the tickets. In addition all attendees can shoot a free throw on the Mavs’ court after the game.

For more information, contact Breanna Kellogg at (214) 658-7643  or

Future principals—your time is now

The district’s Leader Excellence, Advancement and Development program wants teachers and instructional coaches to know that the district has three university principal prep program partnerships, of which two are currently accepting applications. The district offers partial tuition reimbursement for participants who are selected into one of these programs. One of the goals of the LEAD program is to grow high-potential teachers and instructional coaches as rising leaders for the district, ensuring that year after year, each school has an effective leader.

Winter break is the perfect time to apply for the two master’s degree principal prep programs whose deadlines are approaching.

University of Texas at Austin—Texas Principal Leadership Academy

Application deadline: Wednesday, Jan. 15

Program Highlights:

  • Fast-tracked 12-month program resulting in an M.Ed in Educational Leadership and Policy with principal certification
  • 12-month residency with hands-on training as a leadership intern under the guidance of a mentor principal
  • Classes take place in Austin, online and in the Dallas area

For more information and to apply, visit

Southern Methodist University—Aspiring Leaders Program

Application deadline: Monday, Feb. 17

Program Highlights:

  • Two-year program resulting in an M.Ed in Urban Educational Leadership with principal certification
  • Second year residency under the guidance of a mentor principal and on-the-job support and coaching from Teaching Trust staff

For more information and to apply, visit

University of North Texas at Dallas—Future Leaders Academy

The application window is not yet available.

Program Highlights:

  • 18-month program resulting in an M.Ed in Educational Leadership with principal certification
  • Classes held at a central Dallas ISD location
  • Internship course taught by Dallas ISD leaders

For more information, email

You are not alone

While the district may be closed, if you need assistance with your benefits, a number of resources are available.

District schools and administrative offices will be closed for winter break from Monday, Dec. 23, through Friday, Jan. 3, but the benefits call center will be open regular hours during that time to provide assistance, with the following exceptions:

  • Dec. 24 – available from 7:30 a.m. to noon
  • Dec. 25 – closed
  • Dec. 26 – closed
  • Dec. 31 – available from 7:30 a.m. to noon
  • Jan. 1 – closed

For those non-emergency health concerns such as cold and flu, TRS Aetna ActiveCare participants can utilize Teladoc at a reduced cost.  Call 1-855-Teladoc (835-2362) or visit their main page.

If you have questions regarding your FSA, you can contact Connect Your Care at 877-528-9876 or visit  Connect Your Care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You may reach the benefits call center at 972-925-4000 or email  For questions regarding leaves of absence, email  During the periods in which the district is closed, the email boxes will be monitored periodically to ensure any critical issues are resolved in a timely manner.

It’s better to give

The last thing the Class of 2020 of Thomas Jefferson High School expected was to go back to middle school before graduating this spring—something they had to do when a tornado severely damaged their campus. They also did not expect to each get a $100 gift from JCPenney to make their stay at the temporary campus at Thomas Edison Learning Center a little less difficult.

JCPenney this week surprised and delighted the Thomas Jefferson Class of 2020 by donating $50,000 so that each senior could get a $100 gift card to spend at will. The rest of the 500 gift cards will be distributed to students who might need the extra help. Several seniors said they would be giving their gift cards to their parents so the whole family could share in their good fortune.

“We think it’s really important to give back to communities where our associates and our customers live and work and shop, and Thomas Jefferson was right in our backyard,” said Aubrey DeZego, Sr. Manager, Philanthropy and Community Relations at JCPenney.

While the community has been very generous with Thomas Jefferson, the JCPenney donation was the first one to go directly to students for their use, said Principal Sandi Massey, who got emotional as she spoke to students about the importance of striving to succeed in the face of the current circumstances.


Checking it twice

The Oracle multifactor authentication protocols are now in effect and employees are being prompted to provide a secondary security code to access the system. This secondary identification code is not unlike those used by banks and other sites to increase cybersecurity.

Oracle is used not only by district departments and schools to prepare payroll, purchase goods and services from approved vendors, and conduct other district business. It is also used by employees to access iExpense for mileage and travel expense submission, to check PTO balances, download statements of earnings and perform other activities.

Multifactor authentication is a two-step verification process that usually uses a username and password and an additional way to identify the user, such as a code sent via text message or email or provided through an app. Only one is necessary for verification, but IT recommends employees set up more than one.

Instructions and manuals to help employees with the process of accessing Oracle are available here. If you need help with setting up the multifactor authentication, you can download this helpful quick guide that is available in English and Spanish.

Money talks

Employees can get their financial questions answered through individual appointments with TCG Advisors next week.

TCG Advisors, the district’s third-party investment plan administrator, will offer individual appointments onsite for financial planning.  A representative will be available to assist you with general information on planning for the future. Some of the topics that can be covered during these sessions include understanding, starting, or reviewing 403(b) and 457(b) retirement accounts; understanding the retirement income gap; the effect of TRS on Social Security benefits; and rolling over a retirement account from a previous employer.

Sessions will be available Monday, Dec. 16, and Tuesday, Dec. 17, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit Cornerstone Learning System to schedule a 30-minute appointment with a financial advisor.

Deck the halls with lots of discounts

Michael’s offers educators an additional 15% discount on their entire purchase, including sale items. Whether by showing a district-issued ID at the store or registering online for the discount, it’s extra help all year long. Educators can sync their teacher status to a Michael’s Rewards account and the discount will be automatically applied to in store and online purchases. Discounts are limited to one per day to stock on hand. Some exclusions apply.

To get the discount online and in store, just sign into the account or provide your Michael’s Rewards phone number at checkout, and your discount will be applied to all eligible items. If you do not have a Michael’s Rewards account, you can still show your valid educator ID to receive the discount in store at the time of purchase.

Dallas ISD employees have access to Teladoc

It’s late at night and you feel like you are coming down with the flu. You need a doctor. Fortunately, if you are a Dallas ISD TRS Aetna ActiveCare participant, you have access to board-certified doctors 24/7, 365 days a year.

Using a phone, tablet or computer, you can access one of the more than 3,000 licensed healthcare professionals nationwide. Teladoc allows TRS Aetna ActiveCare participants to contact these physicians for non-emergency health concerns such as cold and flu at a reduced cost:

  • ActiveCare 1-HD, plan: $30 copay and you do not have to meet your deductible first
  • ActiveCare Select (ACO) plan: $0 copay
  • ActiveCare 2 (PPO) plan: $0 copay

A dependent age 18 or older who is not covered under your plan can use Teladoc for medical concerns at only $45 per visit.

Teladoc can treat:

  • Cold and flu symptoms
  • Allergies
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Respiratory infections and sinus problems
  • Skin problems

Mental health visits through Teladoc are now available to covered members. Note that mental health visits are offered at a different rate than general medicine visits depending on the provider seen. For more information on how to access Teladoc and set up an account, call Teladoc at 1-855-Teladoc (835-2362) or click here.