Dallas ISD celebrates breakfast with out of this world treat

On March 6, as part of the celebrations for National School Breakfast Week, Dallas ISD students and staff will be able to order the Galaxy Parfait during lunch in cafeterias across the district.

Galaxy Parfait—which combines traditional breakfast items into a tasty treat that resembles a banana split—is the brainchild of Betsy Wooldridge, a nutritionist and trained chef who is a menu-planning supervisor in Food and Child Nutrition Services.

“It’s beautiful and tasty,” she said. “Having bananas in the lunchroom is hard because they brown quickly, that is why this is a special treat.”

In addition to bananas, the parfait combines low-fat vanilla yogurt, fresh strawberries, and a new cocoa-covered granola to show that breakfast is good at any time of the day by.

According to the School Nutrition Association, studies have shown that school children who eat breakfast are more likely to:

  • Reach higher levels of achievement in reading and math
  • Score higher on standardized tests
  • Have better concentration and memory
  • Be more alert and maintain a healthy weight

Currently, Dallas ISD offers breakfast to students in three ways: a lunchroom line, a kiosk strategically placed so students can grab breakfast and go to class, or breakfast that is distributed I the classroom. Food and Child Nutrition Services works with principals to determine what is the best option for their campus.

“Students are just like adults,” Wooldridge said. “They get cranky and can’t focus when they don’t eat. Some students don’t get a meal at home in the morning and others haven’t eaten since the previous afternoon. Breakfast is important so they can start their day with concentration and energy.”

While National School Breakfast Week focuses on the importance of breakfast for school children, Wooldridge believes that everyone benefits from having a nutritious breakfast.

“Basically, when we don’t eat for a long time, our body starts to slow down and takes energy from fat and protein sources,” she said. “Breakfast gets the body going and gives it the energy it needs to concentrate.”

Wooldridge doesn’t have a big breakfast herself but makes sure that it’s balanced—start with a fruit or vegetable and then add a protein or a whole grain.

“You don’t need to make a fruit salad to include fruit in your breakfast,” she said. “You can have an apple or a banana. If I have a bar, I check the amount of sugar and sodium. If you are going to have a muffin, also have carrots and a glass of milk.”


Students raise thousands to help community

Katrina Phillips has been the sponsor for Skyline High School’s Common Cents campaign for the last six years, but this year was a special one for her and the school. The Skyline students who participated in the program raised a record almost $15,000 for several area nonprofits.

“It is inspiring to watch the kids because they take the lead on it,” said Phillips, Student Senate sponsor and government teacher. “Over the time the raise the money, their lives change, your life changes. It’s a competitive process, but it’s also about charity and giving to others.”

While the schools that participate in Common Cents raise money in different ways, Skyline taps into its homecoming court to raise the money among family and friends. Each student who wants to run for a homecoming court position must raise at least $100, but some go well beyond that minimum—senior Princess Fulcher raised more than $6,500.

“These are amazing kids,” Phillips said. “More than one of these students takes at least three Advanced Placement classes, participate in athletics, are in clusters and academies, and several have jobs where they work more than 20 hours a week.”

This year, the 37 schools that participated in Common Cents—a program that has been in the district for more than 20 years—raised almost $51,000 for 44 nonprofits in the community, which ranged from animal rescue organizations and physical and mental health advocacy agencies to those that offer legal immigration assistance and help for victims of domestic violence. The handed the checks to the nonprofits at a special ceremony Feb. 25.

Another group of students who stood out this year were the Common Cents participants at Thomas Jefferson High School. Despite the challenges they have faced this year after their school was damaged in October by a tornado and they were displaced to West Dallas, the students raised $450 for outlastyouth.org, a nonprofit that helps LGBTQ homeless youth.

“After the experiences with the tornado, how it affected us and how many people came to help us, the least we could do was stay focused on our goal and give back and impact the world,” said senior Marysol Ortega.

College fair offers staff opportunity to explore a degree

To grow its own leadership capacity, Dallas ISD is offering a “Grow Your Own” College Fair for central and campus staff who would like to start or complete a college degree either to become a teacher or advance their career in the district.

The fair is designed for those interested in learning how to complete degree requirements to finish a bachelor’s degree, how to gain a master’s degree in education or business, how to become a certified, credentialed teacher in the State of Texas, how each different program offers a unique pathway depending on qualifications, and how to access financial aid.

From 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. representatives from Dallas County Community College District, Ana G. Mendez University, the University of North Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University, and TeachDFW will be on-site to talk about those subjects and answer individual questions.

TeachDFW will give away two $250 scholarships to staff who register for and attend the event. You can register here.

These higher education institutions also will offer presentations and host breakout sessions where others will share their experiences obtaining a degree.

The college fair will take place in the lobby of the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building, 9400 N. Central Expressway.

For questions, email joslopez@dallasisd.org.


Family literacy event includes free books

Families can register now for the Saturday, March 7, Read for Me literacy event.

In addition to enjoying an international festival celebrating diverse cultures through activities, tasty snacks, and performances, families will get free books from the more than 10,000 that will be given away at this interactive, multi-cultural literacy experience. Read for Me is designed to instill a love for books and reading in students, parents, and community members.

Read for Me will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at W.H. Adamson High School, located at 309 E. 9th St. In addition to the book giveaways and activities, families will enjoy free breakfast and lunch. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed in traditional cultural attire. Register for free today.

Teacher learning opportunities this Saturday

In preparation for STAAR/EOC testing season, Dallas ISD’s Social Studies Department is offering a social studies “STAAR STRETCH” Conference to support teachers as they get ready for the state assessments.

Concurrent sessions for eight-grade and U.S. history teachers offered from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Hector P. Garcia Middle School. The sessions will be facilitated by LRE (Law Related Education) and s3strategies. For additional information, contact Shalon Bond at (972) 925-8007 or shagibbs@dallasisd.org.

To register in Cornerstone for these sessions, go to Spring Conference – Grade 8 and Spring Conference – U.S. History.


The State Fair of Texas in partnership with Big Thought is offering a free workshop for teachers who want to learn a new curriculum honoring the legacy of Dallas civil rights leader Juanita Craft.

Teachers who attend the workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Feb. 22, at the South Dallas Cultural Center will receive access to the curriculum and additional resources for teaching about the civil rights movement in Dallas. They will also learn about renovations at the Juanita Craft House and plans for its future as an educational resource. For information and to reserve a seat, email community@bigtex.com.

Financial literacy—the theme of the day at Donors Choose

Thanks to the Charles Schwab Foundation, teachers on Donors Choose can take advantage of a 2X match on all donations to financial literacy projects. That means a $20 donation will become a $40 donation.

DonorsChoose.org is approved and recommended for use by staff, and all district donations processes and policies apply, including those for technology and fixed assets.

How teachers can qualify for the match offer:

  • Create a project requesting financial literacy resources for students.
  • Keep total project goal under $600, including taxes, shipping, fees, and the suggested donation to support DonorsChoose.
  • Select Financial Literacy as their subject area, which can be found under the “Math & Science” category.
  • Teachers may post multiple projects for this Match Offer; however, they can only receive up to $3,000 in matched donations across projects.


What are you doing about your heart?

Dallas ISD staff are working to stay heart healthy, and they shared some of what they are doing through last week’s poll in The Beat.

“Stairmaster! And lots of pacing around my classroom.”

Eating right and joining a gym were also popular responses. Others included meditation, prayer and keeping a positive attitude to keep their hearts healthy.

Others have made big life changes.

“I’m trying my best to have a better heart’” one staff member shared. “I have completely changed my lifestyle by forming better and healthier eating habits; being more active!”

Another quit smoking and now tires to “get in 5-10 miles of brisk walking weekly. I eat lots of vegetables, fruit and small amounts of meat (try to avoid dairy and sugar. Try.”

Keeping track of blood pressure levels is also a healthy heart habit.

According to studies from the National Institutes of Health, about one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, but many don’t realize it. Great news: high blood pressure is preventable and treatable. Early diagnosis and simple, healthy lifestyle changes can make a difference.

Blood pressure is affected by time of day, exercise, the foods you eat, stress, and other factors, so it can vary. But most current guidelines, according to the NIH, recommend aiming for a systolic pressure below 140.

If you are wondering about your blood pressure, the Benefits and Health Services departments have teamed up to offer blood pressure screenings from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 27, in the lobby of the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building.

Open transfer period begins March 6

Dallas ISD teachers, instructional coaches, counselors and media specialists who meet certain guidelines can accept a position at another campus for the following school year during the open transfer period.

Starting March 6, Human Capital Management will begin accepting principal recommendations. Eligible employees must apply online using their EAD login at www.dallasisd.org/careers using the internal openings link. Employees who do not apply will not be eligible to participate. The deadline for principals to submit a recommendation for the open transfer period is 11 :59 p.m. April 10.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for an open transfer, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Hold a valid Texas Teacher Certificate in the requested subject-area vacancy and meet TEA/SBEC Certification Standards for the position
  • Must not be on a growth plan or have an unsatisfactory rating on the most current evaluation
  • Must not be entering their fourth year of an Alternative Certification Program
  • Must not be identified for non-renewal at the end of the current school year due to performance and/or misconduct
  • For instructional coaches only—must receive approval from recommending campus executive director

Human Capital Management will send email notifications of approval/denial throughout the open transfer period. These notifications will be sent to the employee along with the current and receiving principal. Transfers are not final until an approval email notification has been sent from Human Capital Management. All notifications will be completed by April 24.

Starting April 11, transfers will need to follow the administrative transfer guidelines. If you have any questions about the open transfer process, please contact HCM at (972) 925-4200 or humancapitalmanagement@dallasisd.org.

Give volunteers a hand

Volunteers and partners enrich the educational experience of students in schools throughout the district. April—National Volunteer Appreciation Month—is a great time to celebrate and thank them.

The district will recognize the many partners and volunteers who provide support and services to our schools, teachers and students District Volunteer and Partners Awards Program at the end of April.

Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Volunteer of the Year for Student Support
  • Volunteer of the Year for Classroom Support
  • Volunteer of the Year for School Support
  • Outstanding Business Partner
  • Outstanding Non-Profit Partner
  • Outstanding Faith Based Partner
  • Outstanding P-TECH Industry Partner (Collegiate Academies Only)

But we need your input. The deadline to submit all nominations is Monday, March 2.

Nominations forms are available in a fillable pdf and Microsoft Word format which can be accessed at Volunteer and Partner Nominations Forms.  Go to the file named VPS Nomination Forms and click on the triangle.  Attached is a listing of criteria for each award to assist in completing the nomination.

Additional information if available from Partnership and Volunteer Services at (972) 925-5440, volunteer@dallasisd.org or partners@dallasisd.org.

Three schools are Blue Ribbon nominees

Three Dallas ISD schools are among only 26 in Texas nominated for the 2020 National Blue Ribbon School award: Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy, Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Early College High School, and Edward Titche Elementary School.

The U.S. Department of Education awards the Blue Ribbon recognition to schools where students perform at very high levels or where exemplary progress is being made toward closing achievement gaps.

Edward Titche Elementary School
Titche Elementary Principal Damien Stovall said he is still in disbelief about the Blue Ribbon nomination. After constantly being rated as one of the state’s lowest-performing campuses and facing closure in 2017, Titche Elementary underwent a tremendous transformation.

“To go on this incredible journey with our amazing students, staff and parents is not something I can put into words,” Stovall said. “We are changing the mindset not just of this school, but of the entire community.”


Dr. Wright L. Lassiter Early College High School
Lassiter ECHS earned its second Blue Ribbon nomination in six years. Principal Michael St. Ama said the Blue Ribbon nomination is a testament to the school’s culture and community support.

“This group of students is so motivated to work hard and be successful, I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “We push our teaching and our focus to ensure our students achieve on the highest level.”


Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy
Longfellow Principal Lorena Hernandez said the school, which last earned a Blue Ribbon award in 2014, promotes student leadership at every opportunity.

“We are building leaders, not just students who excel at academics,” Hernandez said. “And this Blue Ribbon recognition lets our students, teachers, and families know that our commitment to excellence has paid off.”

Nominated schools must now complete a rigorous application process through the U.S. Department of Education. Announcements of the national award winners will be made in September 2020. Schools that receive the award will be recognized at the Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.