As Dallas ISD is preparing for the new school year with in-person classes, health officials are encouraging all eligible people ages 12 and older to get vaccinated. If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, let Dallas ISD know by filling out this form https://records.dallasisd.org/Forms/COVIDVaccineInformation.
With cases of COVID-19 continuing to rise fueled by the Delta variant, health officials have said vaccinations combined with precautions like handwashing, masks and maintaining social distance can help prevent the spread. For information on the nearest vaccine location, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/.
Parents, students, staff and the community are already connecting with Dallas ISD in preparation for the start of the school year. And one of the preferred ways of connecting 24 hours a day, seven days a week is through Let’s Talk! via their computers, tablets, or smartphones.
Dallas ISD has received over 1,135 dialogues during the past week on such topics as student enrollment, technology (passwords), and transportation.
Through Let’s Talk!, Dallas ISD continues to make significant progress toward building a customer service culture that upholds the district’s vision, mission, and goals. Let’s Talk! streamlines communication between district staff and customers, who include employees. The district’s average Customer Experience Score (CX) is currently 8/10, with an average response time of five business days.
A new feature was recently added so customers submit dialogues via text to (972) 210-0660, making it easy for customers to share questions, thoughts, and concerns.
Between December 2020 and May 2021, 97% of campuses have been added to Let’s Talk! As of July, 59% of customers using the platform are parents/guardians, 27% are employees, 9% are students, and the remaining 7% are community members.
As central staff continues to return to work and prepares to welcome all students back to campus, safety protocols have been updated. Visit https://www.dallasisd.org/covidstaffinformation for the latest version of the Staff Safety Protocol Handbook in which you can find such information as:
Elevator processes will be marked with designated standing locations on each floor. Security may assist with operation of the elevators on the first floor at high capacity work sites, as needed. Employees must follow the same procedures on other floors. The maximum capacity allowed in the elevator is four persons. The time spent in an elevator is considered a brief interaction.
Multi-person restrooms will no longer be restricted to a single occupant. When opening or closing the restroom door, an employee may use a paper towel, tissue, disinfectant wipe, or disposable glove. Posters on how to wash hands properly will be posted in all restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned regularly throughout the day and at night.
Staff interested in getting a master’s degree in school counseling have an opportunity to apply through for a collaboration between Dallas ISD and Texas A&M University–Commerce.
Two years of classroom teaching experience
Minimum of 3.0 on last 60 hours of undergraduate degree
Application for cohort admission with Dallas ISD Counseling Services
Application to and acceptance by TAMU-Commerce
Program participants can get up to $1,000 for each semester, free admission to professional counseling conference, the opportunity to co-present at Texas Counseling Association and other professional counseling conferences, the with faculty from department opportunity to publish articles with faculty in counseling, and mentoring of African American males with the Texas Association of Black Personnel in Higher Education (TABPH).
The deadline to apply is Aug. 4 and classes start at the end of August. For more information, download the flyer.
Dallas ISD offers core benefits to employees—medical, vision and dental insurance—as part of its benefits plan. But it also offers a series of options beyond the core benefits for which employees can sign up during the benefits open enrollment window that closes on Aug. 20. These extras include:
Hospital indemnity coverage through MetLife that helps pay for hospital expenses, such as deductibles and coinsurance amounts. This plan pays benefits in addition to any other coverage you may have and will not be reduced by other benefits.
The long-term disability plan through The Standard pays a monthly benefit after a waiting period, if an employee is on an approved medical leave and in case of disability and inability to work due to injury, illness, or pregnancy. Even if you were denied coverage in the past, you may apply again. A 12-month preexisting condition limitation will apply to first-time enrollees.
To elect long-term disability coverage, select the percentage of your monthly base salary that you want to replace if you become disabled, as well as the waiting period before benefits begin. Base salary does not include overtime, stipends, travel, or other supplemental pay.
Critical illness coverage through MetLife supplements any other coverage you may have for medications, treatments, surgeries, and hospital stays related to a covered critical illness diagnosis.
The district provides $10,000 of basic life insurance coverage through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas to all full-and part-time employees at no cost to the employee. Life insurance benefits are paid to your beneficiary if you die while covered (subject to policy exclusions).
You may elect to purchase additional supplemental life and accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance coverage through BCBSTX. If you enroll in employee supplemental coverage, you can also purchase supplemental life and AD&D coverage for your spouse and/or child (up to 26 years old). You are automatically the beneficiary for any spouse or child life and AD&D insurance coverage.
Personal Legal Plan
The personal legal plan through MetLife offers full coverage for eligible legal services when you see a plan attorney. You can use the plan as often as you like, and there are no dollar limits when using an in-network attorney. The legal plan also provides unlimited advice and consultation services regarding identity theft education and prevention, issues with creditors, and more.
Home, auto and pet insurance
As a Dallas ISD employee you are eligible to participate in optional, money saving benefits for home, auto and pet insurance administered by Corestream. These benefits are designed to help protect the financial security of you and your family.
Human Capital Management requests employees review and update their personal contact information in Oracle to ensure they receive important communications from the district, such as benefit information and inclement weather alerts.
To receive notices from the district, employees must add a cell or home phone number in the Home type.
To review and update your information, log into Oracle using one of the following links:
Dallas ISD is taking a future-focused comprehensive approach to ensure students have the foundational reading and writing skills they will need to ensure lifelong success Through its Literacy is Transforming initiative.
The district is embracing four strategies as part of a comprehensive effort to get students reading and writing at grade level to address a 5.8 percentage-point drop from 2019 to 2021 in the number of students who passed the reading portion of the STAAR across all grade levels. Visit www.dallasisd.org/lit to learn more about the initiative.
“We must embrace innovation and research-based practices to do what we can to build our students’ literary skills,” Chief Academic Officer Shannon Trejo said. “And with the pandemic providing additional challenges to students for the past year, we are ready to accelerate student learning when everyone returns to campus for in-person learning in August.”
Dallas ISD is in the initial stages of investing heavily in school libraries over the coming months and years. As part of a partnership with Apple, this library redesign initiative, titled Project R.E.A.D., will see libraries evolve into exciting learning laboratories for students to engage in research, exploration, application, and design.
The district is optimizing the implementation of the Texas Reading Academies, a state legislative requirement, to drive long-term growth and target closing the achievement gap for its Black and Latino students. The Reading Academies equip teachers and administrators with the evidence-based methods that best support the science of teaching reading.
Summer school programming, Summer Breeze, was been redesigned with a strong focus on literacy instruction. Through Novel Engineering, students are reading a book where they will work with peers to create a solution for the problem the character is experiencing in the book.
Foundational and critical reading and writing skills will be built into the curriculum across all content areas, including math and science. This will teach students how to read, write, think and discuss in ways that are particular to those areas.
In addition to these targeted ways to boost student literacy skills, Dallas ISD is committed to investing up to $100 million over two years to mitigate learning loss in all subject areas.
HCM Performance Management is accepting applications for Cohort 6 of Manager 101, a leadership development program hosted in partnership with the Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas. Manager 101 is a learning opportunity for professional central staff employees interested in growing their leadership capacity.
Participants will engage in learning modules and projects aligned to the Dallas ISD culture/vision tenets and central staff evaluation domains: Shaping Culture, Developing Talent, Driving Impact, and Engaging Stakeholders.
This year, Dallas ISD offers staff who have chosen a high deductible plan the opportunity to enroll in a Health Savings Account, or HSA. Like the Flexible Spending Account, it will allow you to set aside funds for eligible health care expenses like doctor visits, prescriptions, and dental and vision care. Eligible expenses are determined by the IRS and can be viewed in detail Publication 502.
To participate in this new savings plan, you have to enroll in the TRS ActiveCare HD plan to qualify. You find out more about the medical plans available to staff by visiting www.dallasisd.org/benefits.
Like with an FSA and other health-related savings accounts, there are limits to how much you can contribute each year. Individuals age 55 or older and not yet enrolled in Medicare can make an additional “catch up” contribution of up to $1,000 per person each year.
Coverage Maxium Amount
Unlike other health savings accounts, funds in the HSA that you don’t use by the end of the year can roll over to the following enrollment year.
You can have both and HSA and an FSA. But you should note that if you do have both, you can use the HSA only for your medical expenses and your FSA only for vision and dental expenses.
Another exciting feature of an HSA is that you can invest your funds. You will have the option to choose from an extensive list of mutual funds to increase the value of funds that you can hold in your account.*
Ready to get enrolled? It all starts in the Benefits page at www.dallasisd.org/benefits, your one-stop-shop for all benefits information and links.
If you have questions or need help, assistance is close by. Just call (972) 925-4000 weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Spanish- and English-speaking representatives will be available to guide you through the choices and the enrollment process.
*Note: Investment products are not FDIC insured, and are not bank issued or guaranteed. They are subject to risk, including fluctuations in value and the possible loss of the principal amount invested.
At the end of the 2020-2021 school year in June, Boude Storey Middle School Principal Jacqueline Rivers was teary as she thought about why her heart remains in education after 28 years of working in Dallas ISD.
“I’ve always worked in schools that had high needs,” Rivers said. “I’ve had students who are homeless, who are in foster care, who are coming from no resources. And to see them beat the odds and overcome challenges and go on to live productive lives, there is no other feeling like it in the world.”
Rivers has one word to describe last school year: scary. Scary that her students, who face enough challenges in a regular year, were falling even further behind academically because of the pandemic. Scary that it seemed like a nearly impossible task to help the students catch up once in-person instruction resumed.
So when she heard about the opportunity for Boude Storey Middle School to adopt a School Day Redesign calendar–which extends the school year to start at the beginning of August and end in late June for all students–Rivers jumped at the opportunity. She got family and staff buy-in by explaining how far students were falling behind, and how providing more time to learn could make a lifelong difference.
“We will have time for small group instruction. We will have time to get to know the students and help them thrive,” Rivers said. “And we will have the support of the district as we pursue this innovative strategy.”
There are three different Dallas ISD 2021-2022 school year calendars, with three different start dates in August. Providing schools with the flexibility to adopt the calendar that best fits their needs is part of a larger strategy to help ensure the pandemic doesn’t have a long-lasting negative impact on student learning. The district is investing up to $100 million over the next two years in this comprehensive effort.
“With leaders like Principal Rivers taking the bold step to rethink how her school works and how to give more time to students, Dallas ISD will continue to improve outcomes and equity,” Deputy Chief of Academics Derek Little said. “We are so thankful for the 46 schools that are extending their school year to improve services and opportunities for students.”
Dallas ISD is home for Rivers, who attended Charles Rice Learning Center, John B. Hood Middle School and the School of Health Professions. She planned on becoming a doctor but, during a break before graduate school, she taught at Madison High School, igniting her passion for education and her 28-year career in the district.
Rivers knows there is plenty of work ahead for her team to prepare the current Boude Storey students for success after the additional challenges caused by the pandemic. But she also knows that, thanks to the extended school year calendar and her outstanding teachers and campus staff, they are up for the challenge.
“We want to make a difference,” Rivers said of the school year that begins in a few days “We want to see every student here go on to lead productive, fulfilling lives. And we are willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen.”