Homeless youth awareness

November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month and district staff can learn more about the challenges faced by these students and what Dallas ISD can do to help them succeed thanks to a special training available through Cornerstone.

Homeless students often slip through the cracks and miss out on resources that could make a difference in their education. The district’s Homeless Education Program wants district staff to mark the month by learning how to help identify and assist our homeless students. Learning how homelessness is defined and how to identify students who might be experiencing it is the first step to connecting them and their families with the critical help they need.

While this training is not required, the recommendation is that staff—especially those who have regular contact with students and parents—take the training to be better prepared these students. The training can be found at https://dallasisd.csod.com/ui/lms-learning-details/app/course/e9a8cf44-bc50-4906-9320-47c397d486d3.

Thanks to the McKinney-Vento Act, the district receives resources allocated to aiding students and families experiencing homelessness. Funding through the McKinney-Vento Act and the use of district resources allow the Homeless Education Program to assist students experiencing homelessness.

Please contact the Homeless Education Program (HEP) at 972-749-5750 or email us at homelesseducation@dallasisd.org.

Fellowship teaches new approach to challenges

The Personalized Learning Department is launching the new iDesign Central Fellowship for central staff leaders who are interested in learning how to tackle district challenges using design thinking.

iDesign Central Fellowship is a five-month experience so Dallas ISD central staff leaders can build habits for design to lead teams and transform culture. This opportunity takes a design thinking approach to spreading creative confidence by equipping fellows with tools, processes, and resources to intentionally and creatively tackle district challenges using design thinking. To learn more, go to www.thepltoolbox.com/idesign.This fellowship is open to 20 central staff leaders.

The fellowship asks for the following commitments from participants:

  • Five full-day workshops between January and May 2022.
  • One day (chosen at your discretion) to shadow a user to better understand how he/she experiences the systems you lead.
  • Dedicated time between workshops to put what you learn into practice and work on your design challenge (about 4-6 hours).
  • Participation in two showcase events hosted on Tuesday, March 8, and Thursday, May 26.

Interested in being one of the 20 iDesign fellows? Fill out and submit the application at www.thepltoolbox.com/idesign by 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 28.


Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Sharing their stories

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States, except for skin cancers, according to the American Cancer Society. U.S. women have a 13% chance of developing breast cancer in their lifetime. Thanks to early detection and new treatments, many women who are diagnosed survive. Two Dallas ISD staff members share their stories of treatment and survival.

SeAndra Smith-Reese
Teacher Assistant
J.L. Long Middle School

I am a 3-year breast cancer survivor. I found out about having breast cancer during Christmas break in 2017. When the doctor called, I could not breath and was suddenly feeling like my soul was out of my body. It was the worst feeling I ever experienced! I told myself, “It’s Christmas!” which is my favorite holiday. My spirts was gone fast.

It was hard to share that news with my family because we are close. I began to have all negatives thoughts because when hearing the “C” word, it seems like it’s the end of the world. But I had to think differently about this because I have a family. I had other fighters who supported me from the beginning, which helped me.

Thinking positive is the best thing to do to get through this battle. I often see people using journey, but I knew what it meant until then. It’s the journey of the battle to fight the disease and not let the little “c” win.

Being Stage 1, I have been through all tests, surgeries and chemotherapy. I researched complicated medical terms, lost weight, had my hair fall out and lost few friends.

I am now in remission, and it will stay that way because I BELIEVE in continuing to fight this battle for a long time. I now give back by showing supports to those who are facing this battle and letting them know that they are not alone.

I am thankful for my caregivers who never left me and for early detection, that gave me the best results.


Christi Canady-Boyd
Speech and Language Pathology Department
Bryan Adams High School
North Dallas High School
Robert T. Hill Middle School
Skyline High School

The first week of the school year started out pretty normal. Staff changes and work changes created a massive amount of anxiety, but I had no worries because I usually push through it. By the second week, I had a routine physical with my doctor and mentioned a light pain coming from an area on my chest. She examined me and found a lump, but I wasn’t really concerned because that happens occasionally. Just to be on the safe side, she bypassed a regular mammogram and sent me immediately to get a diagnostic screening.  Of course, the screening revealed the lump, and I get scheduled the following week for a biopsy.  Three days later, I got the news: Stage 2 triple negative breast cancer, the most aggressive form.

I’m fine at first because I have always been the type person to stay positive, keeping my problems and feelings hidden. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I always have a smile on my face.  I didn’t worry too much about the diagnosis because technology is highly advanced, so I felt that I would somehow pull through this. Surprisingly, the most stressful and depressing thing was the constant office visits, screening tests, phone calls, and having to repeat the full story to people who needed to know.

Today, I am almost two months into the diagnosis, and the anxiety is pretty much stemming from the same place.  The process!  But have a wonderful and mighty circle of family and friends. They, along with my department and administrators, have provided a tremendous amount of aid during this process. My home campus principal at Skyline High School, Angela West, has repeatedly shown her concern and has assisted in every way possible. My assistant principal, Sonja Nix, and the SPED staff at Skyline High School have organized a team to walk in my honor for the Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk in late October. I am loved, and I need it! This is just the beginning of a long journey, which will pretty much last the entire school year.  But I must say that I am armored, and I am ready to “Fight Like a Girl!”


For more information about the district’s efforts and links to resources, visit www.dallasisd.org/breastcancerawareness.


Dallas ISD gets recognition for CTE program

Dallas ISD has been recognized for its efforts to prepare students for future employment through its career and technical education programs.

Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas recently presented Dallas ISD with the Employer and Community Impact Award during a special ceremony at Gilley’s Dallas. Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas supports Dallas ISD’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) students across the district.

“We appreciate our partnership with Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas to support students in Dallas ISD in their pursuit to engage in high tech, high wage, high skill employment,” said CTE Director Richard Grimsley. “We are thankful for this award that recognizes this great continued partnership.”

Workforce Solutions Greater Dallas is focused on providing competitive solutions for employers through quality people and for people through quality jobs.

Teachers win prestigious award

Four Dallas ISD teachers have been selected to receive the University of Chicago Outstanding Educator Award, which is given to educators who shape young minds in meaningful ways by thoughtfully approaching instruction, sharing an infectious love for learning, and caring for students inside and outside the classroom.

The Dallas ISD recipients are:

  • Cymone Lonon—School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center
  • Anaïs Childress—Hillcrest High School
  • Claudia Simpkins—Trinidad “Trini” Garza Early College High School
  • Nate Smith—Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts

This distinguished university award has existed for more than three decades, and each year, newly admitted University of Chicago students have the opportunity to reflect on their time in school and nominate an educator who played a significant role in their education, who made a positive impact in their lives, and whose influence has brought them to where they are today.

All award winners receive a commemorative award, a certificate, and a letter that includes details from the student who nominated them. The winners were celebrated during a recent virtual event.

Stay alert: Phishing crimes are on the rise

Cybercriminals want your information and can be creative in the ways they try to get you to provide it. Internet-enabled crimes are on the rise and getting harder to spot, so be vigilant and learn how to avoid them.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, the last calendar year saw both the highest number of complaints of internet-based crimes and the highest dollar losses reported since the center was established in May 2000. In a recent year, the center received 467,361 complaints and recorded more than $3.5 billion in losses to individual and business victims. Hackers use email, social media, texts, phone calls, and other forms of communication to steal valuable data.

Phishing attacks are among the most common security challenges that both individuals and organizations face when keeping personal information secure. Phishing is a crime where a cybercriminal sends out a fraudulent communication that appears to come from a legitimate source. The goal of these criminals is to steal sensitive data like log-in information, personal details used to answer security questions, or to get the recipient to click on a link that will install malware on the device.

Four most common types of phishing attacks:

  • Email phishing – a broad approach where the hacker sends the same email to thousands of users requesting to fill in personal details or click on a link that will compromise the device being used.
  • Spear phishing – a personalized approach in which the hacker knows which specific individual or organization they are after, a sophisticated approach that increases the likelihood of the target falling for the trap.
  • Smishing (SMS) – attempts to entice a user into revealing personal information via a link that leads to a phishing website.
  • Vishing (voice) – attempts to obtain personal information about credit cards, banks or even social security numbers with a phone call, usually from a fake number.

Avoid being the victim of a cybercrime by staying vigilant and keeping the following advice in mind:

  • Never give out personal information over the phone. Government agencies like the IRS and banks and credit cards never call asking for personal information. If you get a call, hang up and call the legitimate number for the agency or business.
  • Think before you click. Criminals have gotten more sophisticated about sending emails from addresses that are similar to the legitimate one. If the email asks for personal information or asks you to click on a link to log into your account, make sure you thoroughly check the address.

COVID testing paused  

The Texas Education Agency and The Texas Department of State Health Services are launching a new COVID-19 Testing project for the remainder of the 2021-2022 school year. Dallas ISD is working to transfer all testing materials and train test administrators in the coming weeks.

All testing for students and staff will be put on pause until further notice. All campuses, service centers, administration buildings, and the test site at 3609 Botham Jean Blvd (formerly Lamar ST.) will cease administering tests.

Please email EmployeeTesting@dallasisd.org with any questions.

Embrace denim and help others

Dallas ISD’s United Way employee giving campaign is under way, and as an extra giving perk, staff can wear jeans one day a week with a donation.

To accommodate diverse schedules, district employees can wear jeans one day per week during the campaign in exchange for a $5 donation per jeans day during the following weeks:

  • Oct. 18-22
  • Oct. 25-29
  • Nov. 1-5
  • Nov. 8-12
  • Nov. 15-19
  • Nov. 29-Dec. 3
  • Dec. 6-10
  • Dec. 13-17

You can make individual donations every week through Giving UNITED or a one-time, minimum donation of $40 through Oracle or Giving UNITED and wear jeans one day every week through Dec. 17.

Learn about leadership program

If you aspire to lead and envision yourself as an assistant principal, join an informational session Monday, Oct. 25, to learn how Dallas ISD can help.

For teachers and instructional coaches who have strong leadership potential but lack a master’s degree and principal certification to become assistant principals, Dallas ISD offers the Aspiring Leaders Program (ALP), a unique school leadership development program through Southern Methodist University.

The Aspiring Leaders Program  is a master’s degree program wherein candidates will earn their M.Ed in Urban Educational Leadership, and also become eligible to apply for principal certification.

This program is designed for educators who do not currently have their principal certification and Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership and have the passion and commitment to lead in an AP position for the 2023-2024 school year.

The Aspiring Leaders Program offers two cohorts:

  1. Urban Educational Leadership: Prepares future leaders to lead in a comprehensive context.

  2. Urban Educational Leadership with Bilingual/Dual Language Focus: Uniquely prepares bilingual educators to lead Dallas ISD bilingual and dual language programs.  Dallas ISD needs more bilingual leaders to serve our communities and this specially-created cohort offers an excellent opportunity for bilingual teachers to expand their impact!

Highlights of this program include:

  • Rigorous & competency-based.  The two-year program includes a 2nd year residency, including coaching support and culminates in an M.Ed. in Urban Educational Leadership from SMU.

  • Ascending Leaders.  In Dallas ISD, over 100 ALP alumni and participants serve in leadership roles, including 25 current principals and 52 assistant principals.

  • Bilingual/ Dual Language leadership cohort.  Ability to specialize and be uniquely prepared to lead Dallas ISD bilingual and dual language programs.

  • Tuition Reimbursement.  The district will potentially provide partial tuition reimbursement for participants in this program.

SMU and the LEAD team will be hosting two information sessions via Zoom on Monday, Oct. 25,  from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. If you are interested in growing as a leader and developing the skills necessary to lead schools, please RSVP using this link to learn more about the Aspiring Leaders Program

Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact LEAD@dallasisd.org or visit www.smu.edu/urbanleader

Champions needed

In preparation for the start of Dallas ISD’s annual employee giving campaign, in collaboration with the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and benefiting the Dallas Education Foundation, schools and departments are asked to each choose a champion to represent them.

DEF is the philanthropic arm of Dallas ISD, and in 2020 provided over $3 million in funding that supported grants for teachers, campus needs, programming, technology, and project Dream Big. This year, the district has committed to raising $150,000 between Oct. 18 and Dec. 17.

All departments and campuses must identify an individual who will serve as champion the core of the employee giving campaign. Selecting the right individual who embodies the district’s cultural tenets is key to each department/campus reaching its fundraising goal. This individual should be someone who understands the importance of collaboration, is goal-oriented, has a philanthropic spirit, and has a go-getter attitude! Champions will receive weekly calendar invitations to attend virtual check-ins with the campaign coordinator to cover questions, receive fundraising tips and best practices.

Complete the following champion identification form.


Campaign resources are located on the district webpage at www.dallasisd.org/unitedway.