HPCs are a true calling

Samuel Hawkins found his true calling eight years ago when he quit his job as a successful car salesman to teach math to children in struggling schools. A year ago, he brought his passion to an eighth-grade math classroom at Sarah Zumwalt Middle School, one of Dallas ISD’s high priority campuses.

Math was always his favorite subject, and when he started tutoring students—including some in Dallas ISD schools—through his church, he saw how they struggled and how that affected their self-confidence. That’s when he decided he wanted to spend all his time helping these students succeed, not just in math but in all aspects.

“I k new I wanted to work with kids who, according to statistic, couldn’t get the math,” he said. “I wanted to make them feel better about themselves, show them that they can. I liked taking on the ones who kept hearing no and teaching them so they can hear yes.”

Hawkins quit his job at the Arlington dealership, started working as a substitute, passed a content exam and breezed through an alternative certification program to become a math teacher. After working at several area districts and making a difference at each of the schools where he taught, he knew he wanted to Dallas ISD and a neighborhood where his family is from.

He has always chosen to work in Title I campuses—schools with high percentages of students from low-income backgrounds—because he knows that is where he can make the greatest impact.

“The kids need to know that somebody [in school] cares for them,” he said. “You establish that relationship where they know you have their back and want the best of them, and they go from feeling cut off from the world to being engaged. Money can’t equal that experience when you see the change first-hand, face to face.

“It wasn’t the money that made me choose [a high priority campus,] because I made more money selling cars,” he added. “It was about making impact. I always want to be in an area where I can impact our future, and this is the best way you can do it.”

Teachers, instructional coaches, and counselors who want to bring their passion for making a difference in young minds and lives can take advantage of the district’s open transfer period for high priority campuses that continues through April 23. For eligibility requirements, go here.

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.




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