Mental Health Matters: Help is available

Family issues, work commitments, health problems, conflicts with friends and neighbors can all be challenging on the best of days, but for many, the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress. Researchers have begun to study the impact that the isolation and additional struggles have had on people’s mental and emotional health and are finding that it may be worth than they expected.

What’s their recommendation? Be kind to yourself and seek help.

The district’s Employee Assistance program, administered by LifeWorks is here to help. The EAP is a confidential service that offers help with personal and work-related issues.

Professionally trained advisors are available to help with family problems, marital concerns, financial and legal matters, stress, depression, and other issues affecting life at work or at home. The service where advisers are available 24/7 the 365 days of the year is free and confidential.

The EAP encourages employees and those close to them to seek help early, before a minor problem becomes more serious and is designed to address short-term issues and to identify resources and referrals for emergency and long-term issues. When in doubt, contact the EAP for help or support. Download the brochure to see how the EAP works.

To access the Employee Assistance Program managed through LifeWorks, call (972) 925-4000 (Option 3) or visit and log in with your district credentials when prompted.


A healthy plan

The road to improving your health with good nutrition starts with a good look at your relationship with food. If you answer yes to one or more of the questions below, you might want to talk to an expert like a nutritionist or a dietician to see what you can do to improve your eating habits.

  1. Do you eat a lot of processed and fast foods?
  2. Do you have high blood pressure, diabetes, or high cholesterol?
  3. Is diabetes, cancer, heart disease or osteoporosis prevalent in your family?
  4. Is your diet varied and includes fruits and vegetables?
  5. Are you overweight?
  6. Do you eat late at night?
  7. Do you regularly eat more than an average of 1,200 calories per day?
  8. Do you feel like you lack energy?

While it can be challenging to change your eating habits, it helps to focus on small changes or adjustments. Making changes to your diet may benefit you if you have conditions that can improve with a different diet, such as diabetes, lactose intolerance, obesity, celiac disease, high blood pressure, or cholesterol.

Find strengths and weaknesses in your current diet plan. Do you eat four to five cups of fruits and vegetables daily? If you don’t, that is a good place to start in changing your eating habits.

  1. Make your first meal a serving or two of fruit.
  2. Get extra energy during your day from fruit or veggie snacks, such as an apple or carrot sticks.
  3. Try to have more vegetables on your plate than you do anything else and start your meal by eating the vegetables first.
  4. Use fruits and veggies as ingredients when you cook., for example, add spinach to your scrambles eggs or diced bell peppers to your chicken.
  5. Try a new fruit, veggie, or recipe each week to keep it interesting.

Do you eat enough high fiber foods? Here are some good choices to try:

  1. Good grains to eat are (bulgar) cracked wheat, Oats, millet, farro, teff, sorghum, buckwheat, barley, and spelt.
  2. Food that have a lot of fiber and other nutritional benefits include chickpeas, quinoa, beans, almonds, pecans, walnuts, chia seeds, berries, and sweet potatoes.

Cut down on unhealthy fat. If you currently eat a lot of unhealthy fat, try to cut back. Fat is an important part of a nutritious diet, but try to consume good fats, like vegetable-based fats rather than saturated or animal-based fats.

  1. If eating meat, remove the skin before cooking and bake, grill, or broil instead of frying.
  2. Use avocado instead of mayonnaise in your sandwich.
  3. Instead of chips or other greasy snacks, eat a handful of almonds or pecans, but don’t overdo it because nuts, while a healthier option, still pack a lot of calories.
  4. Substitute salad dressings with oil and vinegar and control how much you use.

Keeping track of what you eat and drink whether on an app or a journal can be helpful and revealing. Try to include the portion sizes and the calories to get a good idea of what you are eating and how much every day. A food diary can not only be revealing but also provide a good way to hold yourself accountable in your journey to better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.



New health and fitness home

The Dallas ISD STEM Health and Physical Education Department has officially launched the “Dallas ISD On the MOVE!” Physical Activity and Fitness Calendar Website.

The website was created to help promote the physical activity and fitness levels of all Dallas ISD students whether they are participating in face-to-face or remote learning. The initiative utilizes a monthly calendar that will provide opportunities for parent and family engagement in activities promoting the importance of physical fitness and support overall health and wellness. The calendar will also support the use of activity breaks in the classroom setting.

“We are excited to get it out into the hands of our school community,” said Barbara Johnson, Health and Physical Education director.

The “Dallas ISD On the Move!” Physical Activity and Fitness Calendar website can be found at


Celebrate innovation

Dallas ISD will celebrate and showcase the hard work of teachers and assistant principals who have been reimagining how the next generation of teaching and learning could look like in the district during a special event March 30. The Innovation Showcase is a virtual celebration designed to recognize Dallas ISD’s Innovation in Teaching and School Retool Fellows for the 2020-2021 school year. This event will elevate the voices of our fellows through three panels and a release of a virtual exhibition for attendees to explore their design projects over the year. Those who want to attend must register via Zoom to receive a unique link to join the celebration.

In addition to the recognitions and the exhibit unveiling, the event includes several panels about leveraging innovation in the classroom, how to drive change and navigating ambiguity. Teachers and assistant principals who are interested in being part of future cohorts are encouraged to attend to learn more about the fellowships and how to apply.

To attend and learn more, go to

Innovation in Teaching Fellowship

A teaching fellowship rooted in design thinking to equip educators to grow in their understanding of and pilot Next Generation models of learning (blended learning, project-based learning, and design thinking) in their classrooms. Learn more and apply at

School Retool Fellowship

School Retool is a professional learning fellowship that helps school leaders redesign school culture to support deeper learning practices using small, scrappy experiments called “hacks.” This is executed in partnership with the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University and IDEO. Learn more at

Questions? Reach out to the team at


Vaccination round up

Because the safety and well-being of staff is a top priority for Dallas ISD, the district has been working with Dallas County, Parkland Memorial Hospital, UT Southwestern Medical Center, and other community organizations to secure vaccines for all employees.

The vaccine is an important part of establishing a safe environment for all staff and students, and we would like to know how many employees have been vaccinated or are scheduled to receive the vaccine. An accurate count of staff vaccinations will also help Dallas ISD continue to work with health service organizations in the community to secure additional vaccines for all staff.

If you have received a COVID-19 vaccine or you are scheduled to receive it, please compete the form below. If you have filled out the form in the past, please, take a moment to do so again.

Please direct questions about this notice via email to

COVID-19 vaccine information form

Still need a vaccine?

As the vaccination efforts open up to additional segments of the population, the district is working with Dallas County to ensure that Dallas ISD staff have priority in getting the vaccine. If you have not yet received your vaccine, please, fill out the district’s form that will be shared with the county to ensure priority in scheduling.

Vaccines are also available from other providers. For links to other vaccine providers, click here for a previous story.



Extension for the future

Future leaders have an additional opportunity to get information about and more time to apply for the Future Leaders Academy the district offers in partnership with UNT-Dallas.

Candidates accepted into the program will have the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from UNT-Dallas and will form a cohort of future leaders for Dallas ISD schools.

Highlights of this program include:

    • Course content developed in partnership with Dallas ISD
    • 18-month program resulting in an M.Ed in Educational Leadership with principal certification
    • Virtual classes, and also face-to-face classes at a central Dallas ISD location

This program is designed for educators who do not currently have their principal certification and master’s degree in Educational Leadership. The district will potentially reimburse up to 50% of the university tuition costs.

UNT-Dallas will be hosting an information session via Zoom on at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 1. If you are interested in learning more, please RSVP at the following link:

Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact



Find your home at an HPC

Destinee Bell grew up living next to J.N. Ervin Elementary School and, even though she attended other Dallas ISD schools, she has come home to her neighborhood school as a kindergarten teacher.

“The kids really do it for me, and I like working in the community,” she said. “They are like sponges, so eager to learn.”

Ervin Elementary School is a high priority campus, one of 80 in the district that are looking for passionate teachers who want to work with students who need additional support to be successful.

“It makes me happy to be here because the students are comfortable talking to me,” said Bell, who graduated from Emmett J. Conrad High School. “They are excited to come to class every day.”

Outstanding teachers like Bell, who are passionate about their profession and whose heart lies with helping students succeed no matter what can take advantage of the district’s open transfer period to work at one of these schools. Teachers, instructional coaches, counselors and media specialists who are eligible and interested in working at a high priority campus can participate in a virtual job fair via Brazen from 9 a.m. to noon on. Saturday, March 27. To sign up and up for the job fair, visit

Working at a high priority campus has benefits beyond making a difference. Eligible teachers serving at high priority campuses in the 2021-2022 school year will:

  • Earn additional DTR points on the TEI Scorecard, replacing the existing Tier I process.
  • Earn additional stipends.

For Bell, teaching comes from the heart, and if one is passionate about teaching, a high priority campus is the perfect school to teach in, she said. High priority campuses challenge teachers and that allows them to push themselves and grow professionally.

“It’s an opportunity to give back to the community,” she said. “It’s hard work, but it’s very rewarding to see how motivated the kids are, to see how they grow.”



Dallas ISD is home

Home is where you grow, learn and discover and where you are always welcome, and for generations of students, staff and alumni, Dallas ISD is that place—it is home!

Every day, our diverse population of students has infinite opportunities to excel—from innovative academic programs to outstanding athletic opportunities and so much more. Dedicated staff, many of whom grew up in the district or simply now call it home,  have returned to give back and help shape young minds.  Not to mention a long line of alumni who are now major contributors to the success of our city.

“I’m proud to call Dallas ISD home,” Superintendent of Schools Michael Hinojosa said. “I came here as a young immigrant, grew my career and reaped the benefits of all the district and this dynamic city had to offer. I put down roots here, raised a family and built a career, “ he said. “Dallas ISD invested in me, and in return, I’m committed to make sure we offer that same life-changing opportunity to every student we serve.”

Dallas ISD Is Home to:

  • Innovation in neighborhood schools, with programs such as leadership academies, novel engineering, STEM & STEAM, personalized learning, International Baccalaureate and much more.
  • One of the largest Dual Language programs in the country, serving 158 schools.
  • Career Institutes, which prepare high school students to graduate with the skills and certifications they need for a high-wage, in-demand job in a technical pathway.
  • 100 + choice schools/specialty programs, such as the first-of-its-kind public hybrid model school, an IB school on a college campus in partnership with an HBCU in southern Dallas, and other options such as Montessori, magnet, fine arts academies, STEM/STEAM, single gender, project-based learning, entrepreneurship, P-TECH and Early College.
  • Over 650 co-curricular fine arts programs located in schools throughout the district, spanning multiple artistic genres across a wide range of disciplines, including: Band, Choir, Dance, Orchestra, Theater, and Visual Arts. These engaging programs ignite a passion for learning while showcasing the brilliant creative talents of our student artists.
  • Interscholastic athletic programs with more than 13,000 student athletes who participate in sports such as football, cross-country, swimming, wrestling, soccer, basketball, track & field and much more.
  • Quality early childhood education, including free, tuition-based and scholarship-assisted Pre-K opportunities.
  • Extracurricular activities such as chess, esports, academic decathlon, debate, cheerleading, UIL competitions, newspaper and yearbook, and others.
  • Special Education accommodations in general education settings and in specialized classroom services, with support in areas such as dropout prevention, family engagement, positive behavior supports and transition.
  • Diversity– students who come from 150 countries and speak more than 70 languages.
  • More than 22,000 employees and over 153,000 students.

There is no place like home, and there is no place like Dallas ISD!

Dallas ISD – This Is Home!This Is Home is a campaign to celebrate our stories and diversity. The multi-platform campaign will feature stories of the people and programs that make Dallas ISD. 

We want to hear from you. Tell us your Dallas ISD This Is Home story by sharing it on social media using the hashtag #DallasISDIsHome or by sending an email to:


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 Spring break from Monday, March 15, through Friday, March 19, but the benefits call center will be open regular hours during that time to provide assistance.

For non-emergency health concerns such as cold and flu, TRS 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.

Special education services support success

Through the Theory of Action Standards of Service, the Special Education Department supports, students from birth through age 21. The students who receive services have a disability and are eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Special Education Department supports students on campuses, in homes, in hospitals, and in residential care facilities, ensuring the compliant and effective delivery of these services with professional development, instructional and related services, instructional programs, coaching support, and family and community engagement, which includes our Special Education Parent Advisory Council.  Many of these supports and services are provided through the following:

Let’s Talk Platform – The Let’s Talk Platform is a customer service platform that helps district leaders manage stakeholder questions and concerns. Through data and analytics, staff can track, review and maintain requests to ensure that the best customer service is provided.
Michelle Brown- Executive Director (

Transition Services – Transition Services provides age-appropriate learning activities/experiences designed to develop students with disabilities’ potential for intellectual, emotional, vocational, and social growth, preparing them for life after high school.
Joslyn Harmon- Supervisor
Sharon Hunt- Director (

Campus Support – Special Education Campus Support Service Teams provide quality, efficient academic, and IEP implementation support to campuses serving students with disabilities. Target areas for services and supports include general education, resource, inclusion, and specialized program classrooms. The service teams’ quality support to campuses provides students access to their least restrictive environment using assistive technology, curriculum access, and alignment.

Campus Support Supervisors by Network;
Stephanie Fuller- Supervisor – Central Network
Karisha Bangs- Supervisor – Northeast Network
Stephanie Collins- Robinson – Supervisor – Southwest Network
Ricardo Corrales- Supervisor – Northwest Network
Ricardo LaFrance- Supervisor – Southeast Network
Wernsetta Session- Supervisor – M.A.T.S. (Magnet, ACE, Transformation & Innovation, and Single Gender Schools)
Jennifer Landry- Director ( 

Speech Services – Speech Services provide districtwide face-to-face and interactive teletherapy services for students in a variety of settings.
Brenda Snow- Supervisor
Kristin Davis- Director (

Section 504 and Dyslexia Services- Section 504 and Dyslexia Services ensures that students with known or suspected disabilities have access to free and appropriate programs and services needed to meet their disability-related needs. Dyslexia Evaluation supports Section 504 by assisting with evaluating and identifying students for dyslexia and/or dysgraphia. Additionally, the department fulfills any Child Find Dyslexia evaluation requests. Dyslexia Services begins once a student has been identified to receive General Education programming through Section 504 or Special Education.
Erin Gracey – Section 504 Manager
Maria Marroquin – Supervisor
Melita Carlton – Supervisor
Lauren Zimmerman – Supervisor
Veronica Allen, Director,

If you have any questions or need support, contact Michelle Brown, Executive Director Special Education, Section 504 / Dyslexia  or 972-581-4343.