Stretch and strengthen with 15-minute workout

Stretching is an important part of any exercise routine, but for the more sedentary, it is also effective in increasing range of motion, enhancing flexibility, and improving circulation.

Dimitrius Glenn, NCSF-CPT certified personal/athletic trainer, has designed a 15-minute stretch that will help you stay nimble while sheltering at home.

The routine combines yoga and Pilates to provide to provide great exercises that not only strengthen the body but also help work out the kinks of sitting for long hours working from home. The exercises are designed help build greater flexibility, isolate muscles and teach participants to be mindful of breathing. Glenn recommends doing the circuit twice for a more beneficial impact.

Sumo Squat Slow Pulse

This exercise strengthens the muscles of the inner thigh, the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves while having your hands resting on your hips.

How to: Step your feet out wider than hip-width apart and keep your with feet externally rotated (out) and hands on your hips. Bend the knees until the hips are at or just above the knees. Keep your chest out by squeezing your shoulder blades together, keeping your head and neck neutral. Squat down as close to 90 degrees as possible, hold for 10 full breaths, and pulse up an inch and down an inch slowly 20 times.

Keep knees behind toes on the squat
Shoulders down away from ears
Tailbone points down toward the floor
Keep abs contracted


Single Leg Romanian Deadlift

This exercise works the muscles on the back of your legs and hips—the posterior chain. These muscles, specifically the hamstrings and gluteal muscles, are powerful hip extensors and are deeply involved in all walking, running and jumping activities.

How to: Stand balancing on your right leg and allow your left hand to hang in front of your thigh. Stick your butt out and allow your right knee to bend slightly. Keeping your back flat, continue to bend at the waist until your hand is at about mid-shin height (how far your hand reaches ultimately depends on your hamstring’s flexibility). Drive through your heel and push your hips forward to stand up to the starting position. Slow movements; five repetitions per leg.

Focus your eyes on a fixed object about 10 feet in front of you.
Set your neck by giving yourself a double chin.
Flex (squeeze) your glutes when standing to improve balance.
Try not to touch your elevated foot to the ground throughout the entire set.
Take a deep breath in before each rep and tighten your core.
Avoid rounding your back as you lower yourself, especially as your hand gets close to the ground.
Lower your hand down in a straight vertical line.


Downward Dog to High Plank

This exercise opens the back of the legs, especially the hamstrings, lower leg, calves, Achilles and your feet. It elongates the spine allowing lower back tightness release and upper back strengthening, brings awareness to your breathing, strengthens and opens the chest and strengthens the arms.

How to: Begin in a kneeling position on your mat with hands directly under the shoulders, fingers spread wide. Tuck your toes under and engage your abdominals as you push your body up off the mat, so only your hands and feet are on the mat. Press through your hands moving your chest gently toward your thighs, straightening your legs with a soft bend in the knees, pushing glutes toward the ceiling and heels gently toward the floor.

Relax your head and neck and breathe fully. Slowly bring your body back to the high plank position where you started, hands under shoulders body in a straight-line pushup position. Perform eight controlled repetitions.

Keep shoulder over your wrist, hips over your knees
Push hips toward ceiling, gaze eyes toward chest
Straighten arms and bring heels to the ground
Focus on breathing


Four-Point Bird Dog

This exercise strengthens the muscles around the spine like the latissimus dorsi and erector spinae, impacts large muscle groups like the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, the quadratus lumborum or deep abdominal muscles, the rectus abdominis or abdominal muscles, pectoralis major or large chest muscles, and shoulder girdle muscles. It improves posture control and reduces lower back pain.

How to: Get in a tabletop position, keeping your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees no wider than your hips. Make sure that your spine is as straight as possible. Exhale and reach your right arm straight out in front of you, at the same time kick your left leg straight back. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders steady without arching or rounding your back or tilting or rotating your hips. Return your arm and leg to a starting position. Switch sides, reaching your left arm out in front and kicking your right leg back. Return to tabletop to complete one rep. Keep your movements smooth, intentional and steady. Breathe with the movement of your arms and legs: Inhale in tabletop position, exhale as you extend your limbs, and inhale as you return to tabletop. Prioritize balance over speed.

Imagine balancing a glass of water on your back throughout the exercise to make sure your body remains stable and grounded.

Child pose

This exercise is a beginner yoga pose that stretches the muscles of the lower back and the inner thighs. For those with tight back and hip muscles, this will, of course, feel like work. But get beyond the tension and child pose is deeply relaxing.

How to: While on your hand and knees on your matt, move the hips towards the heels and push the hands forward a bit to reach an effective stretch. Let the upper body sink down to the floor, forehead resting on the floor and the chest resting on the thighs. Hold this position for about 15–20 seconds and repeat it several times until you’re relaxed.




Mandatory cybersecurity training

The State of Texas enacted regulations on Sept. 1, 2019, that require all Dallas ISD trustees, school and central staff, and contractors complete an approved cybersecurity training before June 7, 2020. The training modules will appear as required training in Cornerstone. The link to access the training is

The one-hour training is made up of seven independent modules and is self-paced and can be taken in separate sessions. Each module lasts between five and seven minutes and requires short self-assessments. The training is designed to help develop habits that keep information secure and teach users the best practices for identifying and addressing security threats.

Download instructions to access the training. If you encounter an error or have a question, please contact the IT Service Desk at 972-925-5630.



Getting to know Daryl Daniels

Daryl Daniels
Director | Environmental Health and Safety Services
Operations Division
Years in the position: 4
Years in Dallas ISD: 32

What do you do in your position?
In Environmental Health and Safety Services, I coordinate efforts to make sure that our teachers, administrators and coworkers, as well as our students and parents, have a safe environment to learn and work. The department has been working to ensure that all district facilities have been disinfected and are free of COVID-19.

We have been preparing for something similar to this because some years ago, we went through the Ebola outbreak, and Dallas was the first U.S. city where cases were reported. During that time, we had to think fast and come up with a plan to make schools safe from that virus. At that time, all we had was custodians and our team, and while we weren’t trained to deal with situations of that magnitude, we had personal protection equipment and were able to respond by going in and using disinfectant to clean the affected schools. We realized that if the situation were bigger, we wouldn’t be enough, so we started getting ready.

When COVID-19 hit, the department staff was ready to deploy outside vendor teams to disinfect all schools and other district facilities to make them safe for students and staff


What do you enjoy most/what is your favorite thing about what you do in your position?
My favorite part of the job is to know that what we do makes a difference at the campus level. It’s when you get that feeling that what you have done at a facility has really made a difference to a person, a teacher, and students.


What was your favorite subject in high school?
Math. I just liked the way numbers worked. They are absolute, and it’s absolutely true that 2 + 2 = 4; there is no other way around it. Having a sense of math helps you in all facets of your life because you use geometry, algebra, arithmetic every day in every aspect of your life.


What was your favorite cafeteria food growing up?
Pizza. I looked forward to pizza day in school. It was those rectangular pieces of pizza that we would get, and it was the same every time from kindergarten up until junior high


Who in education do you most admire or consider a role model?
I have to say, and he is no longer with us, my high school principal, Frederick Todd. He was principal at South Oak Cliff High School and was a great role model for students. He was a strong leader who was well respected by the teachers and the students and went out of his way to make sure the students had an opportunity at a solid education.


What is your idea of happiness?
My idea of happiness is playing music. I like to play music. I play keyboard and guitar, so any time I am around music, able to play or able to create music, I am at my happiest. I played at one time with a band, but now, I do music production. I have a home studio and record different artists and make records. I love that. That’s my hobby. I don’t know what I would do without having music in my life.


What is your favorite music? Song? Artist?
It would have to be rhythm and blues music, and my favorite artist is going to be Lionel Richie.


Are you Team Apple or Team Android?
Team Apple.


Are you a dog, cat, fish or no pets person? Why?
I’m a dog person. I don’t have one now but have had several dogs, and they are definitely man’s best friend. Once you get to know each other then there’s a special bond there.



National Library Week: The library goes virtual

Until mid March, the library at Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy was a hub for students looking for a quiet place to read, take a break or just think. When COVID-19 forced everyone to stay home, librarian Rose Badia decided that neither a global pandemic nor a statewide school closure was going to keep her from providing her students a version of that space.

“It’s important to keep that going,” said Badia, who has been a librarian at Dallas ISD since 2007, first at Skyline High School and now at Franklin Middle School. This year, she was one of five national finalists for the 2020 School Librarian of the Year, given by the School Library Journal in recognition of outstanding work in using 21st-century tools to engage children and teens in fostering multiple literacies.

Badia recalled the last days at the school this spring were spent issuing laptops to each Franklin Academy student in preparation for the possibility that Dallas ISD would be closed indefinitely to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community. She started planning right then and there.

“I talk to kids a lot. I make a connection with them,” she said. “I knew I needed to start planning to keep that going, to do the same with them that I do when they come to the library.”

Her routine on a normal week in the physical library involves hosting classes, teaching research techniques, and reserving Fridays to check out books. She figured remoteness was no excuse to keep the doors to the library shut.

On Badia’s first remote library visits, which she offers three days a week, she set up a cooking segment from her kitchen—jaunty beret and all—to take students through a cookie recipe and then discuss a book about cookies.

“I wanted something cool they could do at home with their families,” she said. “I found a book about cookies and a recipe for peanut butter cookies. I had about 27 students and teachers join in.”

Later in the week, she got emails from parents telling her that their children had made the cookies at home.

“That’s what I was looking for,” she said. “The library needs to be part of every family.”

Most recently, she taught participants how to tie-dye a T-shirt.

She dedicates Wednesdays to tech literacy to share online resources with students and their parents. On Fridays, the group reads stories, sometimes in Spanish. On Tuesdays, she works with the counselor The Family place—who used to visit the school—to share tips for life like time management and the best ways to effectively learn from home

“I want my library to be active and be part of the community, as all libraries should be,” she said.




Find free books at your fingertips

Students and staff can celebrate National Library Week by checking out an ebook from the Dallas ISD electronic library.

Although students might not have access to physical books, they can still check out reading material on a smart phone, tablet or computer. A wide selection of ebooks is accessible through Dallas ISD’s electronic library and the local public library simply by downloading the Sora app, available for iOS and Android devices.

Dallas ISD staff also have access to the district’s library with their employee ID by downloading the app. Users can access to the public library, whether in Dallas or other cities, through the app with a current library card, which can be obtained electronically in most cities. Dallas ISD staff who don’t live in Dallas can get a temporary Dallas Public Library card online with their district ID.


  • Download de Sora app
  • If school is not listed, click on the link at the bottom and type it in or type in Dallas ISD (staff can type in Dallas ISD and not a specific school)
  • Choose the selection that comes up
  • Enter your information
    • Students—student ID number as the username; the password is the last four digits.
    • Staff—the employee ID number (with a leading 10 or 100 to make seven digits if necessary) for the username; the password is the last four digits.
  • Repeat the process to find your public library and sign in with your library card information


Take advantage of additional benefits

In an effort to enhance services Dallas ISD provides employees, the Benefits Department in HCM has identified additional resources that can be helpful while staying safe at home.

Through the TRS-ActiveCare plan and CVS Caremark, the district’s carriers will provide the following additional health benefits to enrolled participants:

  • Waived costs for all diagnostic testing of COVID-19 for patients who meet CDC guidelines
  • Waived cost for all telemedicine visits
  • Free home delivery of all prescription medications.
  • Healing better care package. If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 (and admitted to the hospital), Aetna will send you a care package containing items to help you recover at home. The packages include resources, personal care items, and household supplies to protect your loved ones from potential exposure in your home.
  • Refills for maintenance medications before a 30-day prescription is up (eligible 90-day refills strongly encouraged).
  • CVS Health has activated a process to allow for 10-14 day overrides when appropriate, for members in areas where a Declaration of Emergency has been issued.
  • Access to the following programs:
  • Crisis Response Lines for participants who may be experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19, call (833) 327-2386.
  • Expanded 24/7 access to the Aetna Nurse Medical Line by calling (800) 556-1555.
  • Resources for Living toolkit with materials specifically developed for members experiencing anxiety related to COVID-19. For more information, contact the Aetna Resources for Living at (833) 327-2386.

More resources and tools that members can use can be found through this link.


What you said: Working from home

Working from home has been the new normal for district staff for a few weeks, and many of you answered The Beat poll to share your thoughts and  tips to make it a successful experience.

“It’s been a major adjustment but we will make it work as best possible in order to support our students and communities!”

Separating work time from home time can be difficult when work takes place in the home, but establishing a routine was key to many. Make sure getting up and walking regularly is part of that routine.

“This week has been the best yet. I’m in a routine that is similar to my old routine, and I get up and move when my Fitbit tells me to do so.”

“Get up at the same time. Eat healthful/tasty meals. Take a brief walk every hour—Fitbit reminds me to get 250 steps every hour. Be careful: Read emails twice before sending, watch tone.”

“I created a schedule for myself to balance out all my weekly task. I include work, grad school, household responsibilities, and personal time. This helps me to stay focus and mentally healthy.”

“As you create your daily work schedule, schedule breaks and stick to that schedule. It brings balance to your workday and reduces your stress level.”

“I made a decision to maintain a school-going routine: eat well, shower, dress professionally, wear makeup and perfume, jewelry. It helps all of my senses and helps me stay focused and motivated.”

A routine is not the only way to effectively work from home. Establishing a work space that is comfortable and helps transition from work to life also provides a mental break and can help with stress.

“If possible, create a workspace at home that includes sufficient space, comfortable seating, sufficient lighting and a window. Step outside periodically to take in the sunshine.”

“Keep a dedicated work space that has a supportive chair. All work lives here.”

Having to stay inside all the time to help stop the spread of COVID-19—especially while having to homeschool children—can be stressful, so several staff members recommended spending time with a hobby or exploring new interests. Above all, a positive attitude is key.

“It has been better than I thought. No commute leaves more time for exercise and cooking meals. I am thankful we have this opportunity to work from home and stay safe when so many don’t.”

“I have to find a time to turn everything off and move away from work. Pick up a hobby.”

“Positive thinking is very important and getting eight hours of sleep, exercising for at least 250 minutes a week, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, and drinking lots of water.”

“Make a schedule of activities apart from work. Take a walk. Create your own exercise routine. If you have a hobby, this is the time to take some time for it.”

Definitely, the best remedy for keeping cabin fever, anxiety and stress at bay is to stay in touch with others through the many technology options!

“This is me now: upbeat with a smile. Four weeks ago, I was feeling down and depressed, definitely cabin fever, but thanks to resources and communication with my family, students and coworkers, I am upbeat!”




Principals introduce changes in South Dallas schools

An expanded all-day early learning center and a new state-of-the-art STEAM academy are just the latest building blocks in an effort to grow Dallas ISD’s South Dallas initiative, providing more and better services.

In addition to continuing to serve kindergarten through fifth-grade students, J.J. Rhoads Learning Center is expanding to become an all-day early learning center and will begin serving 3- and 4-year-old in prekindergarten in 2020-21. With extended hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate working parents, Rhoads will offer music and art as part of its after-school programming. Renovations are planned for the building, but Rhoads will remain open and will continue to serve its students.

In the 2021-22 school year, the neighborhood is gaining a new state-of-the-art STEAM academy to serve 675 students when the rebuilt H.S. Thompson Elementary reopens. The new school will be large enough to accommodate all the students now at Rhoads and will focus on preparing students for success in the 21st  century.

Once the higher grades move to Thompson, Rhoads will have room to offer wraparound services as well as community partnerships and resources. Meetings will be held to gather community input.

Rhoads will have two principals on site in the coming school year, the current Rhoads principal, Chaundra Macklin, and the newly named H.S. Thompson principal, Crystal Owens.

Coping with cabin fever while sheltering in place

Sheltering in place can be challenging, but coping with it isn’t impossible. As many of us enter our fifth week of staying safe at home, we might be feeling that restless, irritable, trapped, disconnected feeling that’s known as cabin fever.

If you’re somewhere on the spectrum of “did my spouse always breathe this loudly?” and “I’m about to shave my whole head if I can’t get a haircut,” you might need some cabin fever relief. Because self-isolation and social distancing is still the best way to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, it’s more critical than ever to not let cabin fever jeopardize our health and that of our communities.

With those parameters in mind, here are some tips for surviving sheltering in place without succumbing to cabin fever.

Connect with nature

  • Open all of your windows
  • Invest in some houseplants
  • Immerse yourself in a nature documentary
  • Get some ambient noise going

Get your body moving

  • Download a fitness app
  • Take an online dance class
  • Do low-impact cardio exercise
  • Yoga, and more

Carve out some quiet time

  • Use noise canceling headphones or earplugs
  • Do nothing for 4 minutes

Re-decorate and/or rearrange your space

  • Prioritize spaciousness
  • Experiment with lighting
  • Declutter
  • Create a vision board

If all else fails, remember that cabin fever isn’t forever. And more importantly, it means that you’re taking necessary precautions to protect yourself and your community.

Brought to you by Core 4…. Because you matter!

Dallas ISD urges families and staff to participate in the 2020 Census count

North Texans households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census online or by phone should be receiving a paper form that was sent our starting April 8. The paper questionnaire includes a prepaid postage envelope to return it by mail.

All individuals living in the United States are required by law to fill out a census form online, by phone or on paper, and all answers are confidential. The census questionnaire asks each household to answer a few basic questions about everyone living in the home, including young children.

Because census data helps provide vital community services to residents of Dallas County and beyond, Dallas ISD urges families to respond to the census questionnaire. Here are a few reasons why everyone’s participation is essential:

  • The census is important because the data is used to allocate more than $675 billion in federal funds to states and communities each year for the next 10 years.
  • The funding includes money for school programs and services such as special education, free and reduced-price lunches, class size reduction, technology purchases, teacher training, and afterschool activities.
  • The funds are also used for services that prepare students to learn, such as child health programs and assistance with housing, heating, and food costs.

In past years, census takers visited homes that failed to respond to the questionnaire. Because of the coronavirus, it’s uncertain whether census takers will visit homes this year. The current shelter in place order makes it more essential than ever that everyone responds to the census questionnaire online, via the mail or telephone. To learn more, visit the Census Bureau FAQs page at