Day of fun and trolls prepares students for competition

More than 1,700 students from 125 schools embraced their inner trolls to tap into their creative thinking and problem-solving skills for the Student Activities Destination Imagination Winter Blitz Workshop earlier this month.

Students and their sponsors—with the help of the Student Activities staff “trolls”—came together for a day of fun and experimentation in preparation for the regional, state and global competitions. The 215 Dallas ISD teams used everyday materials with imagination, creativity and bold choices to conquer challenges.

The workshop teaches team members to work cooperatively in practice for the competitions, said Angie Nuno, coordinator in Student Activities.

Destination Imagination incorporates creative thinking, hands-on problem solving, the arts, engineering and teamwork in a nurturing environment.

“The Winter Blitz Workshop is always an exciting and fun event for Student Activities,” Nuno said. “It provides an opportunity for students to explore their creativity with instant challenges that force them to solve problems using their imagination.”

More than 300 teams from Dallas ISD schools are expected to compete at the Dallas Regional Destination Imagination Tournament to be held Feb. 29 at Emmett J. Conrad High School.

“With one of the largest DI programs in Texas, Dallas ISD always has more than 25 teams qualify for the state competition,” said Sharla Hudspeth, director of Student Activities. “The DI program has grown tremendously over the years because it motivates our students to seek solutions to life challenges, working together as a team.”

Watch a video of the Winter Blitz Workshop.

Scholarship for educators

Due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Credit Union of Texas has extended the deadline to apply for the William H. Cotton Scholarship until July 15.

Dallas ISD educators and administrators can now apply for the William H. Cotton Scholarship, which funds the pursuit of a continuing post-baccalaureate education, including certifications, to further a career in the field of education for the benefit of the Dallas ISD community and its students.

The $20,000 scholarship was established by the Credit Union of Texas to honor the legacy of William H. Cotton for his 46 years of dedication and service to Dallas ISD and the Credit Union of Texas.

The application might does not reflect the new dates. For information about the scholarship and the application, download the flyer.

Money for classroom innovation

The window to apply for Grants for Innovative Teaching is now open.

The purpose of the Junior League’s Grants for Innovative Teaching is to encourage and support excellence in teaching through innovative projects. Grants of up to $2,500 for the 2019-2020 school year funded classroom projects that ranged from an “escape room experience” and aquarium kits to 3D printing pens and ukuleles.

Over the years, Dallas ISD teachers have received thousands of dollars from the Junior League of Dallas to fund their unique and innovative classroom projects. The grants are used for special projects that otherwise would not be included in school budgets.

The Junior League would like to have grant applications from each Dallas ISD campus for the 2020-2021 school year. Applications will be received through Sunday, March 22.

Grant application details:

  • All Dallas ISD educators are eligible to apply
  • Projects span all grade levels—kindergarten through 12th grade—and all subject areas
  • Educators may request funding of up to $2,500 for innovative teaching projects
  • Application can be completed and submitted electronically
  • Funded projects MUST be completed within the allowable time frame of Sept. 1, 2020 – April 1, 2021.

Additional information and the application are located at

Get your fit on

Fitness classes at the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building are off to a great start. But there is always room for more participants at the Tuesday and Wednesday free group fitness and meditation classes.

The fitness classes are hosted by certified personal trainers who cater to all fitness levels from beginner to advanced and will meet participants where they are in their fitness journey. The experienced personal trainers will keep the classes varying from week to week, and no one workout will be quite the same.

Midweek is a great time to revive your energy and learn ways to stretch and relax even at your desk. The meditation and stretch classes are the perfect way to learn new strategies to release tension and to take care of your well-being.


Cardio Strength and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Linus D. Wright Building; room locations vary depending on availability

Bring comfortable clothes, shoes, water, a towel, and a mat and get fit!



Stretch and Meditation Time
Noon-1 p.m.
Linus D. Wright Building; room locations vary depending on availability

If you have any questions, please call the Benefits Department at (972) 925-4300.

Annual report hearing

The Dallas ISD Board of Trustee held a public hearing on Jan. 23 to discuss the district’s annual report, which includes the Texas Academic Performance Report (TAPR), campus performance objectives, district accreditation status, and any distinction designations awarded. Other areas covered at the public hearing included the district’s current special education compliance status, information on violent or criminal incidents and prevention policies, and information on the performance of the previous year’s graduates in their first year of college as reported by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

The Texas Academic Performance Report can be found at

Help make college a reality

Each year, Dallas ISD supports the United Negro College Fund—the nation’s largest minority education organization—by launching a workplace campaign to raise funds for deserving students to attend college. The funds raised from this campaign will be given as scholarships to eligible seniors of all races in the district who plan to attend a historically black college or university or any other four-year accredited U.S. college or university in the fall of 2020.

The UNCF/Dallas ISD Kick-Off Rally will take place at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at the Center for Community Cooperation—Oak Corner Building, 2900 Live Oak St. During the rally, each campus/department coordinator will receive a UNCF packet with detailed instructions, meet with local UNCF representatives, enjoy refreshments, and have a chance to win great prizes. Each campus/department should select a  representative to attend the kickoff. All representative should register for the event on Cornerstone (search for 2020 UNCF Workplace Campaign).

The fundraising period will begin Friday, Jan. 31, and close Tuesday, March 31. Employees may give a one time donation or choose a monthly payroll deduction in Oracle under Employee Self Service. For questions, please contact Keitha Shelby at, call (972) 925-6779, or visit the UNCF webpage at


Core 4 Tip: What you don’t say is what they hear

How you say something can often be more important than the words you choose. What you do when you convey a message is also important. You can choose the right words and use an appropriate tone but send an entirely different message than you intended through nonverbal communication.

Actions speak louder than words. You may have a great attitude and personality, but actions will leave a lasting impression on customers.  Always be aware of your body language to make sure you are sending the right nonverbal message.

Smile often. A smile is one of the most powerful messages you can send.  It translates in any language, across any culture and age group. When you smile more, your smile will become a natural part of your demeanor. Get in the habit of smiling often.

Make eye contact. This is one of the most important factors of communication, yet it can be a tough habit to get into. If you are uncomfortable making eye contact when you speak, first try getting into the habit of making eye contact when you listen. Build your confidence doing that and move on to making a conscious effort to look at the other person in the eye when you speak.

Keep your energy level steady. If you are that person who needs a second cup of coffee before you can be cordial to anyone, you are not alone. However, there’s a huge benefit in pushing past the energy lull, especially when you need to assist customers. Try it, and you’ll find that being pleasant is contagious.

Don’t miss out on your choice

Join Dallas ISD from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy for our last-chance application event. Learn about the choice school options offered, such as Montessori, International Baccalaureate, talented and gifted, single gender, two-way dual language, STEM/STEAM, visual and performing arts, P-Tech/Early College, career institutes, collegiate academies and much more.

In addition to having strong academic options, students who attend choice schools can participate in after-school/extracurricular activities and receive free transportation if they live two or more miles from their choice school. See you Saturday. January 25!


Get cash for unused local days

Thinking of retiring this year? Dallas ISD will pay you cash for your unused local days. The more days you have remaining when you retire, the higher your award.

Employees who notify Human Capital Management by entering their intent to retire date in Oracle Self-Service by March 1 can receive a flat daily rate of pay for any unused local days accrued by July 31.  The exact rate to be paid will be determined upon calculation of all the participants’ remaining local days (calculated by July 31) for the year. There is no cap to the number of local days paid. There is no time in service requirement.

Remember, retiring employees must enter their retirement date in Oracle Self-Service by March 1 to be eligible to receive the award.  Those who do not enter their separation date in Oracle Self-Service by the March 1, 2020 deadline will not be eligible for the award.

For additional questions, you may contact the HCM Benefits Department at (972) 925-4300.

W2s available next week

All employees who have set up their preferences to receive their W2 form online will have access to it starting Jan. 20, 2020.

The form can be accessed:

  1. Inside the Network at Oracle Self-Service, choosing Payroll Information and Employee W2, or
  2. Dallas ISD Main Page, choosing Staff and Oracle Login. Once logged in, go to Employee Self-Service, choose Payroll Information and Employee W2, or
  3. Outside the network, going to the Dallas Portal, go to Apps Logon Links into Oracle, go to Employee Self-Service, Payroll Information and Employee W2.

If you have any problems, please send an email to with your ID number, name and the issue or question you might have and you will be assisted promptly.

For employees that are not set up to view the form online, the forms are being mailed to the employee’s address in Oracle and should be received by Jan. 31, 2020.