Getting the word out 

Every year during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, Dallas ISD highlights the importance of screening mammograms and other prevention measures as part of its overall wellness initiatives. This year, in honor of the national theme “Together we Rise” we are asking breast cancer survivors and those who have shared the journey with them to share their stories by emailing

Dallas ISD in partnership with UT Southwestern is also offering the opportunity for staff to get screening mammograms in the health center’s mobile units on Saturday, Oct. 15, at Skyline High School. Screenings will take place from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and require appointments. Annual screenings are recommended for women beginning at age 40.

What you need to know:

  • UT Southwestern Medical Center accepts most major insurance plans. Please check with your health insurance provider to see if UT Southwestern is in network.
  • The UTSW Mobile Mammography Unit is designed for routine screenings. If you have any breast problems, please consult your physician.
  • Patients must wear a mask.
  • Each patient will wait in the Mobile Mammography Unit’s dressing room until called by the technologist.
  • All patient care areas will be sanitized between patients.
  • It’s recommended to wait 4-6 weeks after your COVID-19 vaccination for your mammogram screening.
  • Please call 214-645-2560 or 866-277-0710 to schedule your appointment.

Oct. 15 HS 10.15.22.pdf

Central staff hires

Dallas ISD is hiring for key central staff positions that support schools and student success. If you want to make the transition to central staff or are looking to further your career, take a look at the positions highlighted here. 

REO Project manager

The Racial Equity Office is looking for a data-savvy individual to prepare presentations for the Board of trustees, district and community stakeholders. Do you hold project management experience with a focus on strategic planning? Do you have the ability to analyze risks and track project performance? If so, apply to be a  Project Manager III, Racial Equity Office

Specialist II, Custodial Staffing

Do you have experience working in a fast paced environment, supporting multiple projects at a time? Are you looking to transition to Human Capital Management to support HR activities? The Specialist II, Custodial Staffing role may be the transition you’re looking for. This is an entry level position, where you will serve as the point person that processes employees through the hiring process.  

Manager I, Alternative Certification

Do you have a passion for leading district programs that further the overall success of our students? Do you hold experience developing and implementing training for your direct reports? Are you able to support overarching goals and a global vision while maintaining focus on crucial details in daily functions? The Alternative Certification department is seeking an enthusiastic individual for their Manager I, Alternative Certification vacancy. Apply now!

ESSER update: Campus funding helps accelerate learning

During the 2021-2022 school year, Dallas ISD allocated $10 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for tiered campus support to mitigate learning loss due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funds were provided for schools to “implement their own unique acceleration and intervention plans” and to “strengthen campus-specific initiatives,” said Derinda Hunter, the director in School Leadership who led the initiative. The funding proved to be successful, and the budget was increased for the 2022-2023 school year. According to Hunter, 239 schools received a total of approximately $12.6 million by the end of August to support their learning recovery and acceleration efforts. 

To determine the amount of funding each campus obtained, schools were tiered based on need for additional support according to numerous predictors, including equity related factors, student achievement and campus climate data. Tier three schools—which had the greatest need for additional support—received $80,000 each, while tier two schools received $55,000 each and tier one schools received $35,000 each. Some of the most common purchases included instructional supplies and resources, software and technology accessories. Funding was also used to acquire new furniture to facilitate small-group learning and increase engagement. 

About 65 percent of tier three schools—the campuses receiving the most funding—and 60 percent of tier two schools used 70 percent or more of their funds last year, leading to exciting results.

“The big success that we have seen was those campuses that spent 70 percent or more of their funding last year moved one or two letter grades,” Hunter said. “Our schools are clearly dedicated to seeing how they can help our students during this time.”

Given the positive impact that the ESSER grant program has had on student outcomes, funding for tiered campus support will continue for the 2023-2024 school year. To learn more about how Dallas ISD is using ESSER funds to support learning recovery and acceleration, visit

Celebrating National Custodian Day

Dallas ISD’s Custodial Services teams are committed to creating a clean, healthy environment for students across the district, and we are thanking them by highlighting their efforts in honor of National Custodian Day on Oct. 2. 

Maria Ceja—the lead custodian at Greiner Middle School and one of the district’s more than 900 custodians—has called Dallas ISD home for the past 26 years. She arrived with 20 years of experience working with adults, but when she came to Yvonne A, Ewell Townview Center, she quickly realized she had a passion for supporting students. That passion only grew when she moved to  Margaret B. Henderson Elementary School and then to W.W. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, where she has spent the past decade. 

“I absolutely love the students,” she said. “Many of the students at Henderson Elementary come to Greiner, so I know everybody. They look at me like I am their aunt or their grandma, because I know them and I know all their families.”

Ceja is intentional about supporting each and every student, especially those who may be struggling to stay in school. 

“I always stop to talk to them,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I need to see you in class, and I need to see you at graduation.’ When you make it there, bring me a graduation invitation. And they do. A lot of them come back and invite me to their high school and college graduation ceremonies.”

 Serving as a custodian in Dallas ISD requires being fast, focused, flexible and friendly, and Ceja imparts those lessons to her team every day. Their schedules are often busy, as each custodian oversees 20-25 classrooms and has limited time to spend in each one, but Ceja said it is all worth it to create the kind of environment for students that she would want for her own family members. 

Aaron Stephens, assistant director of Custodial Services, could not agree more. 

“Custodial Services’ ultimate goal is to provide the safest environment for our students and to eliminate any distractions that could impede learning,” he said. “It’s very hard work, but we have an amazing staff whose teamwork is driving us forward. Thanks to them, we have been able to make a huge impact at all Dallas ISD schools.” 

Help us show appreciation for custodians across the district by: 

  • Telling them “thank you,” whether it is in person, through a handwritten note or on social media. 
  • Helping them out in small ways by keeping your workspace clean and throwing out any trash you see around your department or campus. 
  • Hosting an appreciation event to thank them for their service and get to know them better. 
  • Nominating them so they can be recognized by @TeamDallasISD for their hard work or a recent accomplishment. 
  • Collecting and delivering thank-you notes from staff or students to brighten their day. 

“The most important part is the students,” Ceja said. “I really take pride in what I do to help them learn, and I feel like I am doing what I am supposed to be doing.” 

Dallas ISD is home in many languages

Interpreters around the world are celebrated annually on International Translation Day on Sept. 30 to pay tribute to the work they do in facilitating dialogue and creating understanding and cooperation. Dallas ISD is home to a small but mighty team of 25 dedicated Translation Services professionals, and they are going to great lengths to transform student lives across the district. 

“It’s very rewarding,” said Adriana Cabeza, a supervisor with Translation Services. “Many times it doesn’t feel like work—it just feels like we get to help. When we arrive at different schools, it’s so welcoming because everyone is happy to see you. The staff is happy and the parents are excited that we are there, because they know we are going to help bridge that language gap.” 

Dallas ISD’s Translation Services team has expertise in American Sign Language, Arabic, Burmese, Chin, French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Portuguese, Spanish and Swahili. They provide the following services to staff and district students/families: 

  • Interpreter hotline—Interpreters operate a telephone-based tool available Monday through Friday to bridge the language gap between school staff and limited English-proficient parents. 
  • Document translation—Interpreters translate brochures, curricula, handbooks, letters, manuals, emergency messages and more to increase parent involvement and understanding. 
  • Interpretation—Interpreters attend regular sessions including ARD meetings, community events, parent/teacher conferences and workshops to provide efficient translations for families. 
  • Academic tutoring—Interpreters work with some groups of students who are new to the country to orient them to school practices and expectations and assist them with language learning. They usually meet with the same students twice a week for a few years until the students are ready to be independent. 

Interpreters covered an average of 4,000 meetings last school year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, this number was even higher because the whole district depended on online meetings to communicate with parents, said Ivette Weis, translations director. The work is nonstop, since after regular hours, the interpreters continue to provide services at evening school and community meetings.

Their schedules may be busy, but the team meets students and parents where they are to make  Dallas ISD feel like home in any language. Whether they are helping Special Services connect a student to resources, working with a campus nurse to communicate that a student is feeling sick and needs to be picked up or alerting a parent to an attendance issue, they are making a difference. 

“It’s so important to get information to parents,” said Alejandra Granell, translations specialist. “I remember going to schools early on in the nine years since we’ve started, and we’d have zero parents there. Now, I go to schools, and I have parents that I started with in elementary school that recognize me when they reach high school because they’ve come to the meetings, and then they spread the word that interpreters are available.” 

“You feel so good after a meeting is done and you were able to help,” Cabeza agreed. “It’s very fulfilling.” 

Dallas ISD appreciates all the Translation Services team members who are working tirelessly to make memorable moments and provide equal access to all students and families. The district is home thanks to efforts like these! 

Pictured above: Translation Supervisor Alejandra Rios

It’s the season

The weather is starting to change and cooler days setting in signal the start of flu season, and Dallas ISD is offering staff the opportunity to prepare for it with a series of flu vaccination clinics. Getting a flu shot is an important step we can all take to protect ourselves and our families. Dallas ISD will provide access to convenient walk-up clinics in various locations in the district through Dec. 10. 

Anyone can get the flu, and serious problems related to it can develop at any age, but some people are at a higher risk of developing complications, such as people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), those with compromised immune systems, pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years of age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people in these high-risk groups and those who live with them get the flu vaccine as soon as possible in the fall. 

Flu shots are free to Dallas ISD staff who are insured through TRS-Active Care plans. To register for the clinic nearest to you, visit

Hispanic Heritage Profile: Elba Munoz celebrates Mexican artisans

On Tyler Street in Dallas’ Bishop Arts neighborhood sits a little store chock full of cultural nostalgia for Mexico. From leather goods to pottery, houseware, clothing, and jewelry, Heritage Collective DFW aims to elevate Mexican artisans. The store is owned and operated by the family of Elba Munoz, who – in her day job – is a longtime administrative assistant in Dallas ISD.

Although Munoz was born in California, her Mexican roots run strong and deep. And the store is a reflection of the love she holds for her parents’ birthplace.

“Both my parents were born in the beautiful colonial state of Guanajuato,” she says. Her father was hired at age 17 in the immigration program called braceros, which brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the states to work. “My dad was a humble and hardworking man,” Munoz said. “He was proud to say that he worked to bring food to the American table.”

Elba was born in Salinas and she and her sister spent their early years in the nearby town of Watsonville, a major population center for migrant workers, before moving back to their parents’ hometown in Guanajuato.

“In our U.S. school, we were caught between two cultures and two languages,” Elba said. “When we tried to speak Spanish, our native language, the teachers made us wash our mouths out with soap. My father decided that was not something he wanted us exposed to. So he decided to take us back to Mexico, and my mother stayed with us there while he came back and forth to the states to work in the fields.”

After attending private school in Mexico, Elba grew up and married Alberto Munoz, from her family’s hometown of Leon. They moved back to California, staying there a few years until the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 convinced them to seek more stable ground.

Lifelong career in Dallas ISD     

“When we arrived in Dallas in July of 1991, my oldest daughter, Montserrat or “Monsie,” was turning four years old, and it was time for her to go to pre-K,” Elba said. On registration day at Travis Elementary (now Travis Academy/Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted), Monsie’s teacher asked if Elba could stay and help her communicate with the other parents, most of whom were Spanish speakers. “She asked me to volunteer, and of course, I said yes. That was my first experience with Dallas ISD.”

It was the beginning of a lifelong career for Elba in the Dallas school district – first working in Parent Involvement, then in a campus office as Computerized Records Controller, and later as office manager and administrative assistant in several departments. Currently, she is an administrative assistant in Communication Services, marking 29 years this month as a proud employee of Dallas ISD.

Dallas and the district have become home. But the family treasures their legacy in Mexico, and the store in Bishop Arts is a way to honor their homeland. With both her husband’s family and her own involved in the leather industry in Guanajuato state, Elba and daughters Monsie, Melissa and Kathy, created an online store in late 2019.

A family affair 

“We started going to Mexico to bring back artisan-made, handmade products to sell. Everything you find in our little store is made in Mexico,” Elba said. “From chocolates to shoes, to buckles, chairs, clothing, bags, jewelry, pottery and home decorations, it is all made in Mexico.“

“These are all things inspired by the people we love and cherish in Mexico,” said daughter Melissa, who takes turns with her parents and siblings to operate the store as a family affair. “The store is a generational legacy. It’s been such a blessing.”

From the online business, still active at, the family opened a small shop across the street from the current location, later expanding to their present home where every item evokes a taste of Mexico. Home goods and artisanry made in Leon and in San Miguel de Allende, also in Guanajuato state, can be found in every corner.

It’s a little bit of Mexico right here in Dallas. As one customer said recently, “I just walked into your store and I felt like I was back home again.”

For Hispanic Heritage month, the store is holding the following events:

  • On Sept. 17 and Oct. 1, “Celebrating Us” Popup markets will celebrate local Latinx/Hispanic vendors.
  • On Friday, Sept. 23, a Mexican artisan will be teaching a jewelry-making class at the store, with materials that she will supply.
  • On Oct. 7, the store will host Loteria Night, similar to bingo night, complete with tacos, drinks, and games.

“We want to bring recognition to other businesses who haven’t yet opened their own stores,” Melissa said. “We are all about helping each other and the community.”

You are invited to learn about procurement

Procurement Services is inviting all Dallas ISD staff to participate in their monthly lunch and learn events. These trainings are especially relevant to office managers, coordinators, administrative assistants and specialists. 

With your participation, you will learn new procurement information, including:

  • End-user resource guide
  • Procurement dashboard
  • Procurement website
  • Bid process
  • Supplier information
  • How to complete an SOW
  • What is an RFP, RFQ and RFI?
  • How to look up awarded vendors
  • What is an awarded vendor versus an approved vendor?

Each training will occur the first full week of each month on Wednesdays from 1-1:30 p.m. For a full list of training dates and the Zoom information, visit

TEI scorecards are back

Almost 40% of teachers move up more than one effectiveness level

After a pause in Teacher Excellence Initiative scorecards because of the pandemic, 9,225 Dallas ISD teachers recently received their 2022-2023 scorecards.

Dallas ISD adjusted scorecard rules to make up for the interruption, including the ability to move up more than one effectiveness level. This rule change meant that 3,608 moved up more than one effectiveness level this year. Overall, more than 65% earned a Proficient I or higher effectiveness level. Because teacher salaries are determined by effectiveness levels, this jump meant significant increases for teachers.

Other changes implemented in this year’s scorecards included:

  • Modified distribution for Student Experience Survey Points
  • Additional HPC points though DTR process
  • Modified Cut Points for Comprehensive and Choice Campuses
  • Additional emphasis placed on calibration and rater accuracy

This year, the district registered the greatest number of Master teachers—23. These teachers met system rules for DTR status and service in High Priority Campuses that led to their advancing to the Master Effectiveness Level and a base salary of $100,000. 

Also this year, almost 900 teachers earned distinguished (DTR) status for the first time. Of these newly distinguished teachers, more than 40% work at high priority campuses and are now eligible for $4,000-$18,000 in performance-based stipends in addition to base salary under TEI. Working at high priority schools earns teachers additional points in the distinguished teacher review process. 

As part of the annual scorecard process, Teachers should see TEI salary increases in their October paychecks.  

Resources and additional information about the scorecards and TEI are available at

Meet some of the district’s new Master teachers.

Lucia Hernandez
Umphrey Lee Elementary School
Third Grade Bilingual

Years as a teacher: 24
Years in Dallas ISD: 18 

What led you to become a teacher?

Since I was a child, I felt a passion for helping my classmates understand the lessons they would have problems with. The more I helped my peers, the more I grew to love teaching and helping people progress their knowledge.

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

The reason I love teaching is because of the joy and amazement that lights up in my students as they learn and gain knowledge.

Do you have any favorite student success stories? 

There was a kid who was moved from classroom to classroom because of his behavior.  He could not read nor write. He was moved to my classroom, and in a matter of days, he started behaving well and started to learn. Every Friday and the beginning of vacations, he would cry because he said he would miss me. He got extremely attached to me in a beautiful way. His family and I worked very well to make sure he was getting the education and attention he needed. This happened six years ago, and as a matter of fact, this past meet-the-teacher night, he and his family made a surprise visit to my classroom. We were able to reconnect and had a wonderful time.

As a Master teacher, what advice would you give other teachers to get to this level?

Keep working hard for your students and teach with your soul. The rest will follow.


Biola Rotibi
Wilmer Hutchins Elementary School

Years as a teacher: 20 

What led you to become a teacher?

When I graduated from college, my aunt, who was a retired principal, asked me to move to a  small town in North Carolina to teach music. I decided not to move to North Carolina and told my aunt that I was a music director at church. She told me that I was a music teacher who was serving at my local church. I finally decided to start teaching for a school.  She was right!

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

As a teacher, you can try something different every year. You can motivate and inspire students daily. In this profession, you don’t grow old because students always have something to teach you as well. Teaching graces us with the vision, faith and perseverance to see what can be and what ought to be.

Do you have any favorite student success stories? 

I was formally the music teacher at Edward Titche Elementary School. Titche was one of the lowest performing schools in the state. At this school through the ACE program, I saw a third-grade autistic student win the spelling bee, a special education student exceed his growth target for STAAR to the mastery level, and a student who did not like to read learn and memorize everyone’s lines and perform the Lion King musical at the junior and senior high school level. This student would even whisper lines to students when they forgot them. Edward Titche Elementary is now a Blue Ribbon School!

As a Master teacher, what advice would you give other teachers to get to this level?

Find ways to grow as a teacher. Make sure you try something new. Have fun doing what you love.


Cheryll Harris
Emmett J Conrad High School
Culinary Arts

Years as a Teacher: 13
Years in Dallas ISD: 13 

What led you to become a teacher?

I decided to become a teacher because I was deeply inspired by my oldest sister who taught elementary school. She passed away in 2009. One of my dreams was to become a chef like my mother, who passed away in 1996. I did become a chef, and I decided, “What if I could share my knowledge and love for cooking with students?” I’ve always loved being around young people in general—I have six siblings. This is why I became a culinary arts high school teacher!

What is your favorite thing about being a teacher?

My favorite things about being a teacher are that I get to teach the subject I love, see my students achieve success in every area of their learning, and see the joy on their faces when they learn something new.

Do you have any favorite student success stories? 

Conrad High School is the number one culinary school in our district, and for four years straight  (2016-2019) my culinary seniors won first place in Dallas ISD, and in 2016 and 2017, they went to Washington, D.C., to compete for district champs. We did not place, but they did an outstanding job. Come and see all of our trophies!

As a Master teacher, what advice would you give other teachers to get to this level?

Advice I would give other teachers to achieve this level is always have a plan each year, review goals of your curriculum/assignments. Make sure to balance your monitoring and direct teaching methods because we are larger than-life-figures to our students. Be caring and empathetic, but practice sound classroom management skills each day, which will create an environment that advances student learning. Believe all students can learn! Have at least two teachers who you can probe for knowledge/insight and believe that your campus mission and vision will lead the way for every student to succeed. Because this profession can change lives and inspire student achievement. In addition, create a plan for parents. I suggest calling monthly or calling them up whenever necessary. Parents like a teacher who can offer them a gleam of hope when it comes to their child’s weaknesses and accomplishments. Use your professional development/professional learning community. This is where my group of educators meets regularly to share ideas and best practices, to learn from each other, and to work collaboratively to improve our teaching and learning skills. Last but not the least, always love your students infinitely!

New enrollment window for disability coverage

Dallas ISD will have a new provider for long-term disability benefits starting Oct. 1 and will introduce a short-term disability option. If you signed up for long-term disability during this fall’s enrollment window, you must enroll again between Sept. 24 and Oct. 2 to keep this benefit.

You can enroll for the new short-term disability benefit during that window of time.

This is an ACTIVE enrollment for long-term disability, which means that this benefit will not automatically roll over when the district switches providers starting Oct. 1.

Short-term Disability

All active, full-time, and part-time employees who are active contributing members of the Teacher Retirement System or who are employees for 20 or more hours per week may elect to enroll for voluntary short-term disability. Short-term disability will cover non-occupational injuries and illnesses. The benefits will begin after you have used all your state, local, and vacation time and satisfied the elimination period you choose during enrollment.

When enrolling in this benefit, you can select two options.

  •         14-day elimination period from the first day of disability and get 50% of your weekly earnings up to a maximum of $1,500.00 per week.
  •         30-day elimination period from the first day of disability and get 50% of your weekly earnings up to a maximum of $1,500.00 per week.

Long-term Disability

All active, full-time, and part-time employees who are active contributing members of the Teacher Retirement System or who are employees for 20 or more hours per week may elect to enroll for voluntary long-term disability.

When enrolling in this benefit, there is only one option: 90-day elimination period from the first day of disability. You can get 50% of your weekly earnings up to $8,000 per month.

Enrolling in short-term and long-term disability

Dallas ISD Benefits will open the employee portal to select short-term and long-term disability only from Sept. 24-Oct. 2. Remember that if you had previously enrolled in long-term disability, you must reenroll during this window with the new provider.

You can also call the Benefits Contact Center at (972) 925-4000, Option 2, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday. Weekend hours will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. only during this enrollment window.

For detailed information about these disability options, click the links below

Short-Term Disability

Long-Term Disability 

For more information, please visit and click on the Icon. You can call the Internal Benefits Department at 972-925-4300 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday or email