Pony up with free SMU football tickets

As a thank you for all teachers did in 2020 and continue to do to help Dallas children learn and grow, Southern Methodist University wants to invite Dallas ISD teachers to it’s home opening football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, when the SMU Mustangs take on Abilene Christian. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

In addition to the free ticket to the SMU football game, Whataburger is sponsoring the event and offering teachers a Whataburger gift bag as well as the opportunity to enter to win gift cards for school supplies at their tent on the boulevard.

For any additional questions, please contact Candice Vaughn directly by calling (214) 768-7728 or emailing cmvaughn@smu.edu.

Get your shot

Thousands of people who were waiting for full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration have started scheduling their first dose. Have you scheduled yours?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is also available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Other vaccines—Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—are still available under emergency authorization.

The district continues to work with community health partners to offer vaccination clinics that are convenient for staff and eligible students. Information will be shared as the clinics are scheduled.

Meanwhile, vaccines are widely available throughout Dallas County in health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and through private medical professionals. For more information about where to find the vaccine, visit https://www.dallasisd.org/covidvaccine or visit Dallas County’s vaccine information page at https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination.php.

Employees who are fully vaccinated are eligible to receive a one-time $500 payment from the district. To learn more about how you can see this money in your paycheck, visit www.dallasisd.org/vaccineincentive.

Don’t forget the credit for your children

Eligible families across the country are already receiving payments, either by direct deposit or check, for each child they have as part of the Child Tax Credit recently instituted by the federal government. Each payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.

The IRS will continue to issue advance CTC payments on Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. If you haven’t filed a tax return or registered with the IRS, now is the time to take action. If you’re not sure you qualify, the IRS has a three-step process that can help. Each step has a free online tool available only on IRS.gov. For more information on who qualifies for the credit and how to get it if you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, visit www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

Want to get notices? Update your information

Are you getting important notifications from the district? From time to time, if there is an emergency or important information to be shared with staff, Dallas ISD will use the district’s automated callout system to communicate with staff. But if you want to be notified, your contact information must be up to date and in the right spot.

If you haven’t provided your personal contact number for after-hours calls in Oracle or have changed it recently, Human Capital Management requests employees review and update their personal contact information. Updated information will ensure you receive important communications from the district, such as inclement weather alerts.

To receive notices from the district, employees must add a contact phone number—which for most is a cell phone—in the Home type. To review and update your information, log into Oracle using one of the following links:

Within the district network or VPN:          https://orion.dallasisd.org/iorion

Outside the district network:                    https://orion.dallasisd.org/dorion

Go to Human Resources/Payroll Employee Self-Service, then select Employee Self-Service, Human Capital Management Information, and, finally, Personal Information.

Download the instructions to update your mailing/home address or contact phone number (in the Home type). For login or technical assistance with Oracle, please contact the IT Service Desk at (972) 925-5630.


Internet for students

Students who are without home internet have the opportunity to apply for a high-speed free home internet connection for the 2021-2022 school year.

The application deadline is Aug. 31, and families can visit https://tinyurl.com/dallasisdinternet to apply.

The home internet connection is being offered through AT&T or Spectrum via WiFi router that can be used by more than one person and will have no data caps or speed throttling in unlimited usage. A home wired internet connection provides more reliable internet service than mobile hotspots.

Call the Dallas ISD Connectivity Hotline at 972-925-6000 for help or questions.

Be the first line of defense

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, it’s important to consistently practice district safety protocols, especially self-screening and properly wearing a mask.

Dallas ISD continues to temporarily require that all staff, students and visitors wear a mask while in district facilities. Masks should comply with district policy regarding logos and messages as well as cover mouth and nose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you choose masks that:

  • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric (or disposable masks)
  • Fit snuggly on face with no gaps
  • Use a nose wire to prevent air leak from top
  • If choosing a gaiter, make sure it double layers or can be folded to be double layered


  • Don’t wear a face shield in place of a mask
  • Don’t use masks with exhalation valves, which allow the virus particles to escape

Before you put on a mask and head to work, self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms. Check for the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chills/repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever ≥100.4 or feeling feverish
  • Known close contact with a person who has COVID‐19

Employees running a fever of 100.4°F or higher, or feeling ill, should stay at home and will not be permitted to report to work. Make sure to contact your health provider, if needed, and notify your supervisor regarding your absence.

For more information on staff safety protocols, visit www.dallasisd.org/covidstaffinformation.

South Dallas native is home giving back and helping students succeed

When South Dallas native and executive director for Student Services Jamiele Choice calls himself a product of Dallas ISD, he means he was all but reared by district educators. Choice is now working to pay forward to a new generation the safe haven, inspiration and resources teachers and administrators provided to him.

“I grew up in a home filled with a lot of trauma,” Choice said. “My mom was addicted to drugs, and I lived with my grandparents. School was a safe place for me. Back then, educators were more than just teachers. They cared about the whole child. I can remember having a circle of support around me at H.S. Thompson (Elementary School), from the principal to the community liaison to the teachers. They truly took a vested interest in me, so much so that today, I feel I am here to pay it forward for what so many educators did for me coming up as a kid in South Dallas.”

One teacher in particular stands out in Choice’s memory and in his life today. His fifth-grade teacher at Thompson Elementary, Linda Collins-Graham, was especially kind, dispensing equal measures of care and discipline, keeping tabs on him and transporting him to and from school and, on occasion, to the Salvation Army, where he stayed for a time to avoid a threatening home situation. She says although Choice had a lot going on in his life back then, she always knew he was special.

“He’s just like my son,” said the retired teacher who called Choice boss for a while when she was a substitute teacher at New Tech High School at B.F. Darrell, where he was principal until recently.

Choice also hold fond memories of the school and the safe haven it provided him.

“Most students loved and looked forward to summer break,” Choice said. “I hated summer break because it took me away from the structure and the loving environment of school.

“I’ll never forget those summers [in South Dallas], walking up Bethurum to Thompson, looking to see if the teachers’ cars were in the parking lot. I didn’t know when teachers reported to work. I just knew when I saw an influx of cars, I was going to go up to the school to ask if they needed some kind of help,” he added.

After Thompson, Choice attended middle school at W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, graduated from the Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of North Texas. He served as New tech principal from 2014 until recently when he was promoted to head Student Services.

Choice calls Dallas ISD home because “without those educators in sunny South Dallas, I don’t know where I would be today. I’ve never been more sure about my purpose in life since I began doing this work,” he said.

“I speak openly and honestly about my background. As a kid, I was ashamed of having a mother on drugs and not knowing who my father was. I lived in Section 8 housing and my late mom spent time in jail, but I didn’t let that deny what God had for me.

“As an adult, I’ve learned to embrace my past. I use my life as an example of coming from nothing. I’ve lived in the Salvation Army. I’ve been to juvenile. I tell the students ‘I am you. Don’t look at this suit and tie and think it’s been all good.’ As a child, I never imagined my life being what it is now. I tell them ‘Don’t become a victim of your circumstances. You can become a victor.’ I’ve been able to overcome through hard work, tenacity, not making excuses and getting an education.”

Student Services provides training and mental health services to create safety awareness throughout Dallas ISD. The department also conducts ongoing threat assessment training and support for school personnel, students, and parents throughout the district. Its staff works in collaboration with schools and Mental Health Services to ensure schools provide safe and productive learning environments for all students, teachers, administrators, parents, and staff.


Be a winner with staff development

Central staff supervisors, September is National Learning and Development Month, so the HCM Central Staff Leadership Development team invites you to grow your leadership skills with us throughout the month. Sign up in Cornerstone for any of our upcoming live, facilitated online learning sessions on Wednesday mornings from 10 to 11:30am. Sign up for

Providing Actionable Feedback – Sept. 1

Exercising Authority – Sept. 8 or 15

Keys to Influencing Others – Sept. 22 or 29

Take advantage of the last few hours!

If you still haven’t made decisions about your benefits for the 2021-2022 year and have questions, Benefits Department is offering one more webinar today at 4:30 p.m. for you to get an overview of the benefits offerings and ask questions.

Register to participate in in today’s webinar here.

Ready to get enrolled? Go to 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. For additional information you can also look at the Benefits Overview Guide.

Temporary mask requirements continue

Dallas ISD will continue to temporarily require that students, staff and visitors wear masks while on district property as a reasonable and necessary safety protocol to protect against the spread of COVID-19 and the new Delta variant. Staff are asked to abide by the safety protocols implemented by the district for the safety of all, including wearing face masks properly at all times while indoors on district property except when actively eating or drinking.

With data clearly showing a surge in cases, including among children who are not eligible to receive the vaccine, Dallas ISD will continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of all staff and students. In addition to offering a financial incentive to staff who are fully vaccinated, the district will continue to provide personal protective equipment at all schools and facilities, maintain a regular sanitizing schedule, and temporarily require masks.

Employees who do not comply with the directive to wear masks while on district property will face progressive disciplinary action.

Our commitment to protect the health and safety of our students and staff is steadfast. We must provide a safe and quality in-person learning environment for our students to help them recover from any learning loss during the past year, and we need everyone’s assistance. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation with all district protocols and thank you for your commitment to the safety of our students and each other.

To watch the news conference with Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, click here


Dallas ISD continuará temporalmente requiriendo que los estudiantes, empleados y visitantes utilicen mascarillas mientras estén en las instalaciones del distrito como parte de un protocolo razonable y necesario de seguridad contra la propagación del COVID-19 y la nueva variante delta. Se pide a los empleados que sigan los protocolos de seguridad que el distrito ha implementado para la seguridad de todos, incluyendo el utilizar mascarillas de manera apropiada todo el tiempo que estén dentro de las instalaciones del distrito y no estén activamente comiendo o bebiendo. 

Debido a la información disponible que muestra un incremento en el número de casos, incluyendo entre los niños que aún no pueden recibir la vacuna, Dallas ISD continuará haciendo de la seguridad y bienestar de los estudiantes y personal su más alta prioridad. Además de ofrecer un incentivo monetario al personal que haya recibido todas las dosis indicadas de las vacunas, el distrito continuará proporcionando equipo de protección personal a todas las escuelas y edificios del distrito, y desinfectando regularmente además de temporalmente requerir mascarillas.

Los empleados que no cumplan con la directiva de utilizar mascarillas mientras estén en instalaciones del distrito serán disciplinados de manera progresiva.

Nos mantenemos firmes en nuestro  compromiso con proteger la salud y seguridad de nuestros estudiantes y empleados. Debemos proporcionar un ambiente de aprendizaje seguro y presencial para nuestros estudiantes para ayudarlos a recuperar cualquier pérdida de aprendizaje que hayan experimentado el año anterior, y necesitamos de la ayuda de todos. Apreciamos su comprensión y cooperación con los protocolos del distrito y les agradecemos su compromiso con la seguridad de los estudiantes y de los empleados.

Para ver la conferencia con los medios que realizó el Superintendente Michael Hinojosa, pulse en el enlace