Staff pets put a spring in our steps

Our pets never fail to bring us joy, especially when they are celebrating spring with us! Get to know some of our cutest Dallas ISD co-workers below, and consider setting up your own adorable springtime photo shoot.

Leroy is “playful, loving and an all-around gentleman.”

-Athena Gonzalez, IT Client Support at Hillcrest High School, Franklin Middle School and Preston Hollow Elementary School

“Pip is a rescue Yorkie. He is 17 years young and loves to snuggle. He is always eager to hear about my day at school.”

-Lisa Carren Graubard, George H. W. Bush Elementary School

Cody is as “sweet and friendly” as can be.
-Josie Cortez, Human Capital Management

Eliza is “a loving little girl who wants to share her love!”

-Gracie Vazquez, Professional Standards Office

Oreo is a “fluffy pup who enjoys weekend car rides.”
-Charles Hernandez, Molina High School

Milo is a “big ole baby who loves to be chased but gets tired of running. He also enjoys sunbathing!”

-Kendra Hancock, Human Capital Management

“Chico is a loving 13-year-old Chihuahua who loves to pose, give snuggles and eat as many treats as he can! He loves to play dress up and has a closet full of clothes! Chico has even earned a honorary doctorate degree by being right by my side during graduate school!”
-Elena Hill, Early Learning

“My two boys are brothers (same litter). They both love to play outside and go to the dog park. Darcy (black, smooth coat) is the attention seeker who just wants to please you. He loves to play fetch with his ball or sticks. Bennet (long-haired Brindle) is my complete social butterfly, he loves all dogs and people (except his brother—sometimes). I call him the Mayor of the Dog Park, because he has to greet every dog and person when he gets there.”
-Annemarie Fehrenbacher, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School

“Paco is the cutest old boy! He is 12 years old. He loves to snuggle, eat snacks and break up fights at the dog park.”
-Gina Munoz, Career Institute North

Jagger is “laid back, chilled with an old soul,” and we love him!
-Alexandria Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt High School of Innovation

“Leroy is a very sweet and loving dog, who also has a silly side! He keeps me laughing!”

-Spring Rayford, Young Women’s STEAM Academy

Dogzilla is “a tornado that destroys all in its path.”

-Steven Berry, W. H. Adamson High School


Mister Leon Wright is “spoiled, protective and loving.”

-LaTrice Wright, Ronald Erwin McNair Elementary School

“Kea (Kay-uh) is a complete ham who loves to pose for photos! He is full of personality and enjoys walks and belly rubs.”
-Jonelle Viernes, School Leadership

Elly is “energetic, loving and playful.”

-Mario Miranda, Early Learning

“Sandy is sweet, loving, affectionate, territorial, protective and greedy.”
-Anya Anderson, Arthur Kramer Elementary School


Parker is “an adorable 11-year-old pooch that loves the outdoors, treats and visiting family and friends.”

-Desi Mier, Translation Department

“Zeb just turned 5 years old and is celebrating six months seizure free! We recently Foster Failed to make him a permanent part of our family and his happy-go-lucky personality keeps us smiling!”

-Deanna Restrepo, David G. Burnet Elementary School Dyslexia Department

“My dog is loyal and highly protective of my wife and I. As a long-haired dachshund, he is very vocal and takes every opportunity to bark. An inquisitive hunter, he loves exploring parks and hiking with my wife and I and taking in all of the great smells.”
-Jerrod Tynes, José “Joe” May Elementary School

SMU offers new full-tuition scholarship to Dallas ISD teachers

Dallas ISD teachers can now apply for the SMU Simmons Scholars program, which was established in the Simmons School of Education to provide full tuition for a master’s degree program. 

The scholarship will provide eight educators with full tuition for a two-year, 36-hour master’s degree program with a dual focus on STEM and special education. The combination of these key instructional areas will address the needs of diverse students and provide strong content-focused instruction that encourages students to be critical thinkers and lifelong learners.

Ideal candidates include: 

  • Special education teachers who are looking to gain an enhanced understanding of STEM-focused instruction
  • STEM teachers who are seeking to better support the needs of their diverse students 
  • Teacher leaders who are working to spread high-quality special education techniques and STEM instruction throughout Dallas ISD

“This dual-focused Master of Education program is a signature program at SMU,” said Dr. Amy Gillespie Rouse, an associate professor in the Simmons School of Education. “We have talented faculty with expertise in SPED and STEM who are committed to working together to facilitate teacher learning in ways that allow teachers to not only integrate what they learn in SPED and STEM classes but also to apply what they learn directly to their own teaching.” 

Interested Dallas ISD teachers are invited to participate in an information session on May 31 or June 2 at 5:30 p.m. to learn more about the Simmons Scholars program and other scholarship opportunities. The registration information can be found here

All Dallas ISD kindergarten through twelfth grade teachers are invited to apply. The program is an incredible opportunity not only to further develop a teacher’s skills but also to strengthen equity across the district. 

“Ultimately, whether you’re a science teacher who wants to better serve your SPED students or a special education professional who wants to have more content knowledge, it’s about increasing the capacity and efficiency with which we are serving a currently underserved population,” said Michael Ruiz, Dallas ISD’s executive director for STEM. 

Applicants must complete this form—which includes an essay and a video component—by Thursday, June 9, at 5:00 p.m.. If you have any additional questions, please contact Special Services Coordinator Courtney Cummings at

Struggling with low self-esteem? Learn to challenge your negative thoughts

All human beings have areas where they feel especially insecure about their capabilities or the way they present themselves. Perhaps a presentation at work made them doubt the sound of their voice, or a crisis at home left them feeling like a failure. Whatever the specific stressor may be, these internal struggles can leave people experiencing low self-esteem. 

Low self-esteem has far-reaching effects on every aspect of life, including work, relationships and mental health. According to Mayo Clinic, adjusting your internal dialogue about these incidents can help you build yourself up again. It starts with identifying the events or conditions that draw out your low self-esteem. Some common triggers include major life changes, conflicts with loved ones or important work assignments. 

Once you recognize your triggers, focus on what you tell yourself when you are struggling. Are your thoughts and beliefs positive or negative? Are they based on facts or false beliefs and fear? Lastly, would you talk to a friend the way you are talking to yourself? Keeping these answers in mind, you can begin to challenge the inaccurate, negative thoughts that are adding to your low self-esteem. 

How to challenge negative thoughts: 

  • If you find yourself stuck in all-or-nothing thinking, you may tell yourself things like, “I will never be good enough to do this.” Turn those beliefs around by practicing hopeful statements like, “It may be hard, but I will learn from this experience.” 
  • If you jump to conclusions too quickly, take a step back by reframing your anxious thoughts. For example, “They responded to my email with a one-word answer, so they must be angry with me,” can become, “They are probably busy right now. What can I do to ease my stress?” 
  • If you have a hard time seeing beyond the negatives of a situation, you may tell yourself, “I made one mistake, and now my entire team will know I am a fraud.” Counteract these thoughts by focusing on the positive. Make a list of everything you have learned and all the ways you have grown, and remind yourself that no one expects you to be perfect. 
  • If you often deflect praise or discredit your own successes, give encouraging yourself a try. Instead of saying, “I only did well because I had extra time,” experiment with, “I did well because I set myself up for success and worked hard to meet my deadline. Even though I was not perfect, I met my goals.” 

Negative beliefs that lead to low self-esteem are common, but that does not mean they have to rule your mind. Remember to be patient with yourself as you practice challenging your long-term thought patterns. Big changes do not happen overnight. If you find yourself needing additional support, Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks can help. The secure, confidential service offers a variety of mental health resources as well as on-call counselors, all free of charge. 

A summer of learning and celebration

Dallas ISD is offering teachers summer learning opportunities that will celebrate the successes of this year and provide ways for teachers to work together to shape future learning experiences.

Training sessions will be available in person at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center and some will be available virtually. Sessions are open for registration. And teachers can sign up to attend a several sessions or just one.

Courses include dozens to help teachers hone their skills in the classroom, such as Advanced Placement strategies to help students succeed, exploration of authentic Spanish-language literature and resources to help emergent bilingual students, brain-based strategies to ensure learning takes root, Dallas Arboretum courses, strategies to boost learning with technology and many more.

Other session will offer teachers an opportunity to reflect on themselves. Reading Language Arts will host acclaimed author Kelly Yang, who will share her writing process and tips for helping cultivate a passion for writing in students and strategies to apply to their own writing.

Another session will create a culture of celebration and critical reflection to help participants reflect on and celebrate their professional progress with a digital portfolio.

And a self-care lounge session will help participants understand the importance of self-care, explore potential causes of stress and take an assessment that will help them develop coping strategies.

Teachers can sign up for these and dozens of other in-person sessions taking place June 6-9 and July 11 and 12, and virtual (live, synchronous) sessions taking place June 13-16 and July 13 and 14. The Summer Learning Catalog can be found here.


Read the summer away

Reading can help students avoid the dreaded summer slump, and in Dallas reading can also get them prizes and free books thanks to the annual Read for Me.

Families are invited to join Dallas ISD’s Language, Literacy, and Social Studies Department for the annual Read for Me event in collaboration with Mayor Eric Johnson’s SMART Summer Reading Kickoff Celebration on Saturday, June 4, 2022. Kickoff parties will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 25 Dallas Public Library branches. 

District staff will be present to help promote the summer reading initiative, help families sign up for library cards, participate in kickoff activities, and hand out thousands of free books to Dallas ISD students in prekindergarten through fifth grade. 

Find the party nearest you!

Activities include:

  • Lifesize Candy Land – Central Library
  • Community Carnival – Vickery Park Branch
  • All About Dinosaurs – Hampton-Illinois Branch
  • Kites! – Fretz Park Branch
  • Live animals – Prairie Creek Branch
  • Science Party – Kleberg-Rylie Branch
  • All About Flight – Bachman Lake Branch
  • Game On – Highland Hills Branch
  • Crafts & Games – Lochwood Branch

Visit for more info on the summer reading imitative at the Dallas Public Library.


Proper disposal of assets

Receiving and disposal of CPUs, laptops, monitors, small printers, furniture and other capital or controllable assets must follow district policy.

Departments and schools acquiring or receiving donations of capital or controllable assets must indicate the “SHIP TO ADDRESS” as Dallas ISD Central Receiving, 2517 S. Ervay, Dallas Texas 75215. This facilitates the proper tagging of equipment before distribution to the designated location.  

The exception is equipment requiring installation or testing by the vendor. In that case, it is the responsibility of the department or school to inform Capital Asset Management immediately upon receipt of the equipment for proper tagging.

Best practices for the use of appropriate object codes when acquiring capital assets in Oracle can be found at

When storing obsolete or broken equipment awaiting removal, departments and schools should avoid using closets, rooms, portables buildings or open areas to avoid safety issues, potential theft, and fire hazards .

Disposing of obsolete or non-working controllable assets (CPUs, laptops, monitors, small printers, notebooks, etc.) that need to be transferred between schools and departments or designated as salvage and surplus requires an Equipment Transfer and Disposal form that can be found in the Employee Self Service, DISD Fixed Asset Self Service in Oracle. Instructions regarding the ERR FORM can be found at For questions about the Asset Management System, contact Lyn Wilkerson at (972) 581-4109.

For additional information about the transfer and disposal of capital equipment, please visit the Capital Assets Management page.

For ERR FORM questions, contact David Kessebeh at (972) 925-3842.

For Special Revenue and CATE (capital equipment), contact Phiebie Hutchins at (972)-925-3857.

For donations of capital equipment, contact Josephine Flores at (972) 925-3853.

All transfers and disposal of office or classroom furniture (chairs, tables, file cabinets, wall units, drawers, credenzas, etc.) should be accompanied by P1B forms, which can be found at

Recognizing our cafeteria heroes

During the pandemic, cafeteria staff from throughout the district stepped up to distribute meals to students and even helped to distribute devices and supplies. This school year, as the district returned to in-person learning, they were there to serve thousands of students. They are School Lunch Heroes!

Earlier this month, staff and students at 113 schools voted to recognize them as such. The schools with the top votes were:

  • First Place: Harry Withers Elementary School
  • Second Place: John Runyon Elementary School 
  • Third Place: Hector P. Garcia Middle School 

Each of the winners received a banner and certificates. If you know of anyone who would want to be a School Lunch Hero in one of Dallas ISD’s cafeterias, tell them about a series of hiring events taking place in June. Information is available through the Food and Child Nutrition Services Hiring Events flyer.

Resources for dealing  with a crisis

In light of recent tragedies involving students and staff, Mental Health Services has shared resources to help facilitate conversations with students or other children during times of crisis. The tools are designed to provide guidance to help you know what to say and do before, during, and when tragic events occur.

Crisis Support Tools:

If you are concerned about the mental health and safety of a student, Mental Health Services clinicians are on-hand to assist. Reach out to the school counselor, using the Say Something anonymous reporting hotline or log on to our website at: to get help.

For questions, contact Dr. Tracey Brown, executive director of Mental Health Services, at or Jennifer Reed, director of Clinical Services, at


Highlighting our counselors

Dallas ISD counselors play an important role in the well-being and success of students, and this year, several were recognized for their outstanding work. Counseling Services held the Counselor of the Year Celebration on May 19 at South Oak Cliff High School.

Elementary Counselor of the Year 

  • Winner – Karen Zachary, Umphrey Lee Elementary School
  • Finalist – Rhiannon Vejar, Preston Hollow Elementary School
  • Finalist – Adrian Villegas, George W. Truett Elementary School

Secondary Counselor of the Year

  • Winner – Sonya Gilb, Emmett J. Conrad High School
  • Finalist – Yolanda Carter, Alex W. Spence Middle School
  • Finalist – Erika Cervantes, Thomas Jefferson High School

Choice/Magnet Counselor of the Year

  • Winner – Amanda McDonald, Alex Sanger Preparatory School
  • Finalist – Sheri Hall, School of Science and Engineering

Counselors’ Choice 

  • Winner- Tamanikia Hollins, Lagow Elementary
  • Winner-  Francine Luckey Ann Richards/ Latasha Winners, Dealey Montessori 
  • Winner- Gala Davis, South Oak Cliff High School

Trailblazer Awards

Elementary Campus of the Year

  • Winner – Frank Guzick Elementary School
  • Finalist – School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove

Middle School Campus of the Year

  • Winner – Sarah S. Zumwalt Middle School
  • Finalist – School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove

High School Campus of the Year

  • Winner – IDEA
  • Finalist – Thomas Jefferson High School

Elementary School Rookie of the Year 

  • Winner – Kevin Culley, H.S. Thompson Elementary School
  • Finalist – Michelle Atkins, Walnut Hill Elementary School

Middle School Rookie of the Year 

  • Winner – Keiron Jingles, Greiner Middle School

High School Rookie of the Year 

  • Winner – Rosa Puente, Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy
  • Finalist – Marsana Jackson, Woodrow Wilson High School


Dress for summer

Starting on May 31 and through Sept. 2, the district will have its summer dress code so employees can be comfortable as they perform their normal work duties while still portraying a professional image to students, parents, and community members.

Standards for daily attire remain at the discretion of the supervisor; however, casual does not mean unkempt. The casual dress code does not allow for inappropriate apparel. [See DH(LOCAL) and DH (REGULATION)]

  • Casual includes clothing that is comfortable and neatly put together while communicating professionalism.
  • Casual may differ based on the various business needs of the department. Consult with your department supervisor to determine appropriate attire for your job.
  • Certain events on the district’s calendar may require employees in a specific department or location to wear business attire instead of the casual look.
  • Take your workday schedule into account when considering your attire for the day. If you have a meeting scheduled with the public or vendors, you may need to wear business    attire.
  • Supervisors will have the discretion to make exceptions to appropriateness of attire as it relates to culture, religious beliefs, vocational courses, physical education,  maintenance, medical necessities, events, and spirit days.
  • Employees required to wear district-issued uniforms are expected to wear the assigned uniform.


Acceptable Attire

  •   Clothing should be clean, pressed and wrinkle-free, without holes or frayed areas.
  •   All attire should fit appropriately (not excessively tight or loose).
  •   Footwear—Loafers, boots, flats, sandals, and leather deck shoes are acceptable.
  •   Slacks—Nice pants or cotton slacks.
  •   Shirts—Blouses, casual shirts, and golf shirts are acceptable.
  •   Dresses or skirts–Casual dresses and skirts appropriate for an office environment are acceptable.


Unacceptable Attire

  •   Form-fitting, snug, sagging, or transparent clothing.
  •   Excessively worn, faded, or tight clothing.
  •   Clothing with holes or frayed areas.
  •   Revealing or provocative attire.
  •   Necklines that expose cleavage.
  •   Dresses and skirts shorter than three inches above the bend of the knee.
  •   Jeans, sweatpants, shorts, bib overalls, leggings, spandex, and Lycra.
  •   Tank tops, T-shirts, and shirts with messages/graphics.
  •   Athletic wear and beach wear.
  •   Footwear—Slippers, flip-flops, athletic, house, and sneaker-style shoes.
  •   Hats are not to be worn inside, unless used as protective wear appropriate for one’s job function.