Keep an eye on converters

Catalytic converters—devices on vehicles that look like a small muffler in the exhaust system—have become a hot item among thieves. The Dallas ISD Police Department wants employees to be aware of the rise in thefts of this device and take precautions.

“We want everyone to be conscious of their surroundings, and if they see something that looks suspicious—like cars driving unusually slowly through the parking lot—to call us so we can come check it out,” said Dallas ISD Police Chief John Lawton.

Staff can call 911 or the Dallas ISD Police number at (214) 932-5627 to report suspicious activity. Providing make, model and color of the suspicious vehicle and a description of the clothing, height, and complexion of people at the time of the call will help the officers handle the situation.

The catalytic converter processes environmentally hazardous exhaust emitted by an engine and converts them into less harmful gasses. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, it has become popular among thieves because s popular among thieves because they contain platinum, palladium, or rhodium. In recent years, the values of these precious metals have increased significantly and, typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.

Thief are taking advantage of reduced traffic in parking lots because of the pandemic and tend to target vehicles that are higher up off the ground because they can quickly get under the vehicle and take off the converter, Lawton said. While Dallas ISD police has been monitoring lots and looking into additional safety measures, people being vigilant can discourage thieves.

According to the NICB, catalytic converter thefts have seen a significant increase across the country since March of 2020, the start of the global pandemic, and especially in some states like Texas.

The cost of replacing a catalytic converter can range from $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the vehicle.

Insurance experts and Dallas ISD police recommend:

  • Installing a catalytic converter anti-theft device, which may be available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
  • Parking fleet vehicles in an enclosed and secured area that is well lit, locked, and alarmed.
  • Parking personal vehicles in a garage or a well-lit driveway.
  • Contacting the police and insurer if the converter is stolen.

In some cases, this theft is covered by the optional comprehensive portion of an insurance policy.





Earth Day: Taking green steps

Dallas ISD is working on being green, and Maintenance and Facility Services is leading the way. From its energy and sustainability goals to its work with schools and departments to make recycling easier, this Dallas ISD department is working to reduce the district’s footprint.

During the past few months, sustainability manager Bryant Shaw has been visiting schools to help principals and teachers set up recycling programs for staff and students because there is a sense of urgency at the campuses to be more environmentally friendly, Shaw said.

Students and teachers during recycling visit at Woodrow Wilson

Recycling visit at Woodrow Wilson High School Students: L-R Viviana Mendez Torres, Genesis Muñoz, Alina Muñoz Teachers: Anthony Pace and Uriel Diaz (Back)Sustainability Manager Bryant Shaw

Some of the schools he has visited already had a recycling program in place but needed technical expertise to make sure it met recycling standards.

“Most just saw the need and started asking what they could do to alleviate the volume of waste generated on their campus,” Shaw said.

Recycling is among the sustainability goals that Maintenance and Facility Services has established and recently presented to the Board of Trustees. These goals include:

  • 100% of Dallas ISD schools actively conducting campus recycling programs
  • 50% of non-organic waste diverted from landfills by 2025
  • 75% of non-organic waste diverted from landfills by 2030

The goals were developed with the guidance of the district’s Environment and Sustainability Committee, which includes community members appointed by trustees who have been working together since February 2020 to make the district a little greener.

Campus personnel interested in beginning their recycling program can email us at or visit the department’s recycling page for resources. More information about the district’s sustainability work can be found at Energy and Sustainability.



Raising our Voices for diversity

With more than 70 languages spoken in homes and dozens of nationalities and ethnicities represented among its students and staff, Dallas ISD is a diverse district that celebrates its richness.

The Voices page is one of the ways Dallas ISD is working to raise the bar of intercultural understanding and equity in our school community by highlighting the stories of students and staff. Two of the stories featured on the page are those of Translation Services interpreter Innocent Ndayishimiye, a refugees who found a home in Dallas ISD helping students who have been through similar struggles.

Dallas ISD also wants to foster the free exchange of positive ideas and invites you to share your perspectives at

Contracts are coming

Human Capital Management is preparing to disseminate contracts for the 2021-2022 school year. Contracts will be available for all contract eligible employees via Oracle Employee Self Service by April 30, 2021. Please expect an email from containing instructions on how to complete the acceptance process once contracts are available. Employees should provide their electronic signature within two weeks of the delivery date of the contract.

According to Texas Education Code (TEC), contract-eligible educators are provided a penalty-free resignation deadline which is 45 days before the first day of instruction of the coming school year. The resignation deadline for this year is July 2, 2021. Not signing the contract does not mean an employee has resigned from the district; employees will still need to submit an S54.

A list of contract-eligible positions and additional information may be found on the contracts home page at

If you have any questions about your contract you can reach out to Human Capital Management at, and a team member will assist you.


High Priority Campuses: A good fit for teachers who want to make a difference

When Christina Rocha talks about her work with colleagues and students at T.J. Rusk Middle School, you can hear the excitement in her voice. The 13-year veteran teacher moved to Rusk four years ago and says she feels totally at home at the high priority campus where everyone works together on behalf of students. Grateful for the quality training offered in Dallas ISD, Rocha—who teaches reading in sixth-eighth grades—credits the leadership support and schoolwide devotion to best practices for creating an environment that works for teachers and students.

Across town at James Madison High School, Principal Marian Willard is looking for teachers who bring that kind of passion to their work and who are willing to fully embrace the needs of students on her high priority campus.

“I’m looking for teachers who want to come in, roll up their sleeves and work with struggling students,” she said. “When teachers are willing to focus on the needs of students, learn new strategies and are open to investing the time required to help students, I’m confident they can make a difference here.”

Teachers, instructional coaches, and counselors who want to bring their passion for making a difference in young minds and lives have until April 23 to take advantage of the district’s open transfer period for high priority campuses. 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.


Funds for teachers

Teachers may apply for the Junior League of Dallas Grants for Innovative Teaching through April 23. Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT) supports education in the Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) with grants for unique programs outside school budgets. All Dallas ISD educators are eligible to apply for up to $2,500 for innovative teaching projects for all grade levels and subjects.

The deadline is April 23, 2021 at 11:50 p.m.  For more information and to access the grant application visit:  Prerecorded webinar information for any first time applicants is forthcoming on the GFIT webpage:


Beware of fraud!

Dallas ISD has recently become aware of employees who have received unexpected checks for large amounts and instructions for the use of the funds. These checks have been identified as fraudulent.

The checks, which include the district’s logo, have been made out to individuals and include instructions to deposit the check and use the money to purchase gift cards. These types of checks are known as a “Mystery Shopper” scam that have become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Because the district has protections in place against fake checks, these checks would bounce if anyone tried to deposit them or cash them.

If an employee receives a check from Dallas ISD for any amount that was not expected, the recommendation is to contact Treasury Services at If the check is fraudulent, it should be shredded and your district password should be changed.

For additional information about fake check scams, visit

Check them out

Getting your eyes checked regularly is always a good idea, but annual checkups are not necessary for everyone. Simple home-based evaluations can help you determine if a visit to the ophthalmologist is in order. You will need a few things to get started:

  • Something to cover the eye, like a paper cup or facial tissue
  • Scissors
  • Tape or tack to hang a test chart on the wall
  • A pencil or pen to record the results
  • A yardstick, tape measure, or ruler
  • A flashlight
  • A well-lit room at least 10 feet long for the testing area
  • A testing chart

How to do the test*

  • Tape or pin the chart on the bare wall, level with the eyes of the person you will test as he or she sits in the chair. Make sure the chart is level with his or her eyes.
  • Sit or have your child sit in the chair 10 feet from where the chart is taped to the wall, holding the cover over one eye without applying any pressure. A second person may be needed to hold the cover in place and watch for peeking if it’s a child. If you wear glasses, wear them during the test.
  • Shine the flashlight on each line of the chart, while the person you are testing reads the letters out loud. Continue to the bottom row or until the letters are too difficult for the person to see.
  • Write down the number of the smallest line seen correctly (the line with more than half of the letters correctly identified).
  • Now repeat the test with the other eye covered and record the results

Score the test

A child should be able to see the 20/40 line by age 3 or 4 and the 20/30 line by age 5. An older child or an adult should be reading the 20/20 line If you test your child several times on different days and your child cannot see the expected line of print or cannot see the same line with each eye, it might be time for an appointment with an ophthalmologist.

Record the results of your home screening by filling in the number of the smallest line the person could read for each line as shown below.

  right eye left eye
Home Visual Acuity Screening 20/___ 20/___

Remember, home vision tests are no substitutes for an exam by an eye care provider. Having an Ophthalmologist perform a comprehensive eye exam is may detect underlying health issues elsewhere in your body in addition to determining need for corrective lenses.

*All home eye testing procedures are from (American Academy of Ophthalmology)




Tell us what you think

Dallas ISD is asking parents to let us know their opinions about their children’s schools and other topics that will help us improve schools and the district overall. You can share your opinions by responding to the 2021 Parent Survey.

To share your opinion:

  1. Click on this link
  2. Choose your language
  3. Enter your child’s student ID number
  4. If you have more than one child in the same school, enter the student ID number of the oldest child (fill out only one survey per school)
  5. Choose the school
  6. Answer and submit the survey
  7. If you have children at more than one school, please follow the steps for each of the schools

If you have any questions about how your feedback will be used, you may call 972-925-3505.  If you experience technical difficulties with the survey, send an email to the survey team at

CUTX offers scholarship to educators

Dallas ISD educators can now apply for the $20,000 William H. Cotton Scholarship, established by Credit Union of Texas to honor the legacy of Cotton’s 46 years of dedication and service to Dallas ISD and the Credit Union of Texas.

The scholarship is awarded to one district educator or administrator seeking to pursue continuing post-baccalaureate education, including certifications, to further their career in the field of education for the benefit of the Dallas ISD community and its students. Cotton was a long-time principal and administrator who was also the first African-American president of the Dallas School Administrators Association. He retired in 2000 as an associate superintendent.

The completed scholarship application should be emailed or postmarked no later than June1.

Who is eligible?

  1. Applicant must be a CUTX member with a checking account prior to submitting an application.
  2. Checking account, and all other accounts at CUTX, must be in good standing.
  3. Must be a full-time or part-time Dallas ISD faculty or administrator.
  4. Must be intended to further your career in education and serve the Dallas ISD community during the course of the scholarship term.
  5. Must be a U.S. citizen or permanent legal resident.
  6. All required attachments must be submitted with your application (see below).
  7. CUTX employees and family members of CUTX employees are NOT eligible for this scholarship.

What you should attach.

  1. The completed application
  2. A professional resume.
  3. Proof of current Dallas ISD employment (contract or pay stub).
  4. Two current letters of recommendation. One letter must be from a professional/scholastic reference and one from a personal reference. Each letter should be dated and include the name, address, and phone number of the referrer. The letter must state how long and in what capacity the referrer knows the applicant.
  5. A typed essay. All applications must include a typed essay between 500-600 words about the top three challenges Dallas ISD faces in the next five years. You should also describe your goals and vision to overcome each of these challenges.


The rules

Incomplete applications or those missing any required attachments will not be considered.

Applications postmarked after the deadline will not be considered.

Scholarship funds will be paid directly to the educational institution. Continued disbursement of scholarship funds requires a grade of C or better in a graded course and passing in a pass/fail course.

The scholarship value will be awarded in increments of $5,000 per semester over a period of four semesters.

Email the completed scholarship and attachments to Email is preferred, but you can mail to William H. Cotton Scholarship Committee, Credit Union of Texas, P.O. Box 7000, Allen, Texas 75013-1305