Security software updates for district issued Mac computers

Dallas ISD’s Information Security Department has begun a software security deployment. The purpose is to update staff issued Mac computers with the Digital Guardian security software. 

Your Mac will reboot two times to finalize the installation. Additionally, there will be a pop-up notification asking for your credentials to allow DgSessionSvc to make changes to your Certificate Trust Settings. Please enter your login credentials at this screen when prompted. 

Here’s an example of the notification: 

[[[Please use the password you use to log into the Mac]]]

WARNING:If you click cancel, you will lose internet connectivity on your Mac!

 The Information Security Department thanks team members for their continued commitment to the safety and security of Dallas ISD’s network and information systems. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you may have regarding this update to the IT Help Desk at 972-925-5630.

Women’s History Month profile: Cecilia Oakeley

When Cecilia Oakeley, deputy chief of Evaluation and Assessment, received her doctorate in educational research in the 1980s, there were few women practicing in the field and even fewer who were also ethnic minorities. When she was promoted to head the department in 2005 not many women were in charge, especially in districts as large as Dallas ISD.

“When I was getting my Ph.D., there were very few women, so I felt like I was breaking ground, and even more so when I started getting leadership roles,” Oakeley said. “I am glad to see that we now make more of an emphasis on girls getting into math and science, and that there are many more women in the field of educational research now. It’s gratifying to have seen the future being forged when I first started.”

Women’s History Month is celebrated annually in March to recognize and celebrate the countless roles women play in history and society, including those of trailblazers like Oakleley. 

Since she joined Dallas ISD 40 years ago, Oakeley has witnessed history being made and many of the district’s accomplishments under 15 superintendents. 

Oakeley’s team manages local and state assessments for the district, evaluates district programs, tracks campus data, tracks student growth measures in several areas, manages changes in accountability, reports data to agencies, ensures compliance, provides key information for school board presentations and much more. She and her team led the design of the district’s Teacher Excellence Initiative, the first of its kind in Texas when it was first approved by the Board of Trustees. Since then, the district has adopted performance evaluations based on that model for principals, assistant principals and some district departments. 

Some of her more personal standout memories in Dallas ISD include meeting her husband, a retired analyst from the district’s Information Technology department, and seeing her two children graduate from Dallas ISD’s School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center. 

In addition to her work in the district, Oakeley has been a leader by serving as a policy council member for the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) and as a council advisory member for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as the Nation’s Report Card.

What accomplishments are you proudest of? 

“One accomplishment during my time was incorporating our own value-added model into the achievement component of the Principal and Teacher Excellence Initiatives (PEI/TEI). Both were highly regarded accomplishments that ultimately affect our students.

“Another proud moment was the evolution of my team forecasting online testing—before the pandemic struck. Because of this initiative, we were able to transition smoothly during the pandemic by anticipating the constant challenges. My team has expertise that allows flexibility and growth.”

What advice or words of encouragement would you give your younger self or someone following in your footsteps? 

“Be curious, keep learning and be passionate in your area of expertise because the educational system is constantly evolving. Understanding leadership methods will be an advantage as every day brings new opportunities and challenges, and leadership qualities allow for smoother transitions. Be flexible as leadership and district policies change and learn to pivot and embrace each day with excitement. Finally, make sure you are taking care of your physical and mental health so you can continue doing this for 40 years.”

What helps you persevere during hard moments? 

“Being connected with my team and colleagues by working toward a common goal enables me to persevere during challenging times.”

What drew you to the field of education?  

“I love my job! I enjoy the work I do, my colleagues, constantly learning and ensuring Dallas ISD achieves high goals.”

What is a favorite memory at Dallas ISD?

“Being part of the court-ordered desegregation where I participated in providing district reports to the court and finally going to court to show that the district was no longer segregated. I was in the courtroom of Judge Barefoot Sanders! Just being part of that whole court case was very exciting and impactful, and it really helped the district to no longer be under a court order.”

In your 40 years in the district, what change has impacted you the most?

“Women in leadership positions were once limited when I began working with Dallas ISD. I am proud of all the district women and diverse leaders who reflect the communities we serve.”

Free document translation is available districtwide

Dallas ISD offers free translation services of documents to all schools and departments through the Translation Services Department.

“This service is offered districtwide and can improve communication with families, students and community members, by providing translation in the language our stakeholders feel more comfortable in,” said Alejandra Rios, supervisor for Translation Services.  

Among the services that are offered are the translation of documents, such as flyers, manuals, handbooks, curriculum, notes, letters, memos, PowerPoint presentations, etc. 

“The schools are always striving for more parent participation,” Rios said. “In order for parents to participate in their children’s education, they have to understand the language. By providing translation of written documents, we are closing the gap by providing a service in their own language.”  

Translation Services serves all schools and district facilities.

Services are provided on a first come, first served basis. Document translation is offered in Spanish, Arabic, Burmese, Chin, Kirundi, Swahili, and French. 

To request translation of documents, fill out the request form by clicking here.  

Dallas ISD’s Alternative Certification Program provides pathway to the classroom

First year teacher Gabriela Palacios said teaching has always been a “lifelong dream and passion,” but she was not able to pursue it until she joined Dallas ISD’s Alternative Certification Program in February 2022. By August, she was teaching 10th-grade English at Rosie M. Collins Sorrells School of Education and Social Services at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center as an ACP intern. 

“It’s everything I could have hoped for being here in the classroom,” Palacios said. “It’s definitely been a great learning experience, and my students are just wonderful. They keep me laughing.” 

That is not to say the journey has been easy. Palacios described the pacing of the program as “sprinting a marathon,” as she cared for her four children while meeting requirements including 30 hours of observation, 150 hours of professional development and passing content and pedagogy exams before being able to apply for a campus position. 

Yet Palacios said she could not be happier with where she ended up and the support she has received from the Dallas ISD ACP team. Not only is tuition free for certifications in critical need areas, but the program’s coordinators are eager to help guide participants through the requirements and each new teacher is assigned a field facilitator, who observes them and provides resources and feedback once they are in the classroom to help them toward their ultimate goal of gaining certification. 

“I would definitely recommend the Dallas ISD AC Program to anybody who wants to become a teacher and who wants to make a difference in schools,” Palacios said. “In the end, any goal that is worth achieving is going to require effort and skill, so you really have to be dedicated to putting in that time.”

She learned so much during her time in the program and put those lessons into practice so well that she received an opportunity to present strategies on how to bring writing into the classroom at a webinar through edWeb, an online platform for educators, in November. 

“It’s funny because in the summer we had to go to 150 hours of professional development, and I must have done 50 hours alone from edWebs,” Palacios said. “So I had been watching edWebs quite a lot, and then all of a sudden I was one of the people presenting, which was a pretty surreal experience, especially as a first year teacher.”

From empowering her students to become better writers to seeing them have early breakthroughs, Palacios said she is “grateful” for her time in the ACP.

“Dallas ISD is incentivizing teachers to come by offering this program to teachers for free,” she said. “Rather than taking that for granted, I think it’s important to appreciate that this is a huge opportunity. If you have wanted to get into education, but for whatever reason haven’t done it, now would be a good time to join. Be ready for it because it’s a whirlwind experience, but it’s absolutely worth it.”

Learn more about the Alternative Certification Program by visiting and encourage anyone you know who might be interested in making a difference in students’ lives to apply today.

Get help when you need it most

Health and well-being can be complicated and sometimes difficult to maintain, especially when it comes to mental health concerns and personal crises. If you are struggling or know someone who is, remember that you are not alone. Help is available in the district and in the community. 

District resources

Dallas ISD team members can take advantage of the Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks. This confidential, secure platform has free specialist counselors on call 24/7, as well as personalized wellbeing tips, podcasts, videos, exercises, assessments and more. 

Contact LifeWorks by calling 972-925-4000 or visiting and clicking on Benefits Resources to access online EAP information. LifeWorks also has an app that offers specialized self-help resources developed by experts. Once downloaded, the app can be accessed through the EAD login credentials. 

For any team members who are looking to support students in need, take advantage of the many available resources, from the Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program to school-based clinicians and psychiatrists.

  • Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program: The program increases awareness, expands prevention, facilitates intervention and promotes recovery for substance use/abuse in teens and youths in Dallas ISD. Visit their website to find teacher resources, counselor resources, parent resources, treatment locators and more.
  • Youth and Family Centers: These address the mental, behavioral and physical health issues that a student may experience to improve learning. Their teams of licensed clinicians and psychiatrists offer a range of services to promote wellness, including evaluation and assessment, individual and family counseling, psychiatric consultation, medication management and more.
  • Physical Health Services: Through a partnership with the Parkland Health Hospital System, the district is able to offer physical health care services to students, including immunizations, sick and preventive care, health education and more.
  • Support Services for LGBTQ Youth: Students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and other identities often experience harassment, indifference, bullying and exclusion. The Support Services team is dedicated to providing students and teachers with resources to ensure that all students have a safe school experience.

Contact Dallas ISD’s Counseling Services at 972-925-8989 or, or Dallas ISD’s Mental Health Services at 972-502-4190, to learn more. Visit to reach out to a specific school’s counselor. 

Community resources

Anyone who is experiencing a crisis can get immediate support by contacting the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in English or Spanish at 988. Additionally, people can access the National Alliance on Mental Illness HelpLine from Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., by calling 1-800-950-6264, texting “HelpLine” to 62640 or emailing

The North Texas Behavioral Health Authority helps individuals in need of immediate mental health support and is available 24/7. Learn more about the resources the organization provides at or get help at 1-800-260-8000. 

Find more crisis hotlines and resources below: 

Celebrating years of service

Thousands of team members have called Dallas ISD home for years, even decades, and the district will recognize their commitment to the Dallas ISD community with a new Service Recognition Award program.

Human Capital Management is leading the effort to honor over 13,800 employees who have worked for the district for at least five years with a service pin this spring. In addition, a special award will be presented to those who have dedicated at least 35 years to the district at the Lifetime Achievement Reception on May 9, 2023.

Eligible team members will receive a service pin at anniversary milestones in five-year increments, and 2023 honorees will receive the service pin corresponding to their most recent five-year milestone. For example, team members who have worked in Dallas ISD for 19 years will receive a 15-year pin this spring. A table with milestones corresponding to the awards is available on the program’s website. 

Team members may verify their years of district service using instructions provided on the Service Recognition Awards website through March 31 at

Campuses and central administration departments will receive a package with a roster of eligible employees, a toolkit with instructions, and service pins by early April. Award distribution should occur before the end of the 2022-2023 school year. Campuses and departments are encouraged to distribute the pins at a time when their teams can gather to celebrate.

Team members are encouraged to share their celebrations online using the hashtags #DallasISDcelebrates and #DallasISDservice across all social media and tag the district.

For more information, contact the Onboarding & Retention team at or 972-925-4080.

Celebrate Women’s History Month with free e-books

What better way to observe Women’s History Month than reading and learning about the countless contributions women have made throughout history. Free e-books and digital resources are only a click away—for students and district employees—through Dallas ISD’s Library and Media Services Department.

Any Dallas ISD employee and student has access to the free e-books and resources that are offered through the district, said Patricia Alvarado, director of Library and Media Services. Team members can toggle between e-books available through Dallas ISD Library and Media Services and the Dallas Public Library by using their employee ID. 

One of Alvarado’s favorite figures to celebrate and read about during Women’s History Month is Selena, who was from her hometown of Corpus Christi. 

“Selena represents culture, strength, and exemplifies what it is to persevere,” Alvarado said. You can find e-books about Selena and other figures such as Dolores Huerta, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rigoberta Menchu, Clara Barton, Sylvia Mendez and many others available through the district’s online catalog.

Dallas ISD team members can access the free e-books available through the district and the Dallas Public Library by visiting the Dallas ISD library catalog at

To log into your account, the user name is the employee ID number. Use a leading 1, 10 or 100 to make the user name seven digits if necessary. The password is the last four digits of your employee ID number. For students, the username is the student ID number, and the password is the last four digits of the student ID number. 

One of the important reasons for offering this service to students and team members is to support equity in the district. 

“We’re trying to remove that equity imbalance that exists. Through the district, students and team members can download books to their phone or other devices for free. We encourage everyone to take advantage of these services for Women’s History Month or anytime throughout the year,” said Alvarado. 

Open to new challenges? Register for the HPC job fair

Bob Adams was part of Rufus C. Burleson Elementary School’s inaugural Accelerating Campus Excellence team in 2021. The teacher of 27 years said he has seen firsthand the power of the ACE model as Burleson has since transformed from an F-rated school to a B-rated school. 

Adams said the difference in the school’s atmosphere is tangible in and out of the classroom. He and his partner teacher, Cesar Reyes, participate in the Home2Home Visit Program and make it their mission to visit every student in their homes each year.  

“When Mr. Reyes and I go around and visit students, 100 percent of the families have talked about the positive changes in the school,” Adams said. “That’s one of the benefits of working at an ACE campus. You really see a difference at a fairly quick pace, and you get to be involved in the transformation of a community.”

Adams is encouraging other teachers to consider taking advantage of the upcoming open transfer period and job fair to make a powerful impact at an ACE school or a high priority campus. 

The job fair for external and internal candidates interested in high priority campuses will be held on Tuesday, March 7, at Harold W. Lang Middle School to give educators an opportunity to interview with Dallas ISD principals and gain a teaching position where they are needed the most.

Attendees will need to have a completed teacher application on file, which can be found at The recruitment team also asks that candidates upload their resume, references and teaching certification prior to their attendance at the in person job fairs. The recruitment team will confirm their registration prior to the event via email. 

From getting to work with an incredible team of high achieving educators to transforming student lives daily, Adams said he has benefited greatly from his time at Burleson. 

“Principal Lonnie Russell did an amazing job forming a team that works together as what we call ‘the Burleson Family,’” Adams said. “If you enjoy a challenge and you enjoy learning new ways of doing things, I think you should definitely consider an ACE or high priority campus. It’s a great growth experience for people who are looking to work with a team that lifts each other up and who enjoy seeing results.”

To reserve a spot at the March 7 job fair, click here. If you have additional questions, email Melody Tillman at

Cultivating a community

Parents, students, teachers and community members from Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School hope their recent hard work planting an orchard will bear fruit as more than a learning tool for years to come. 

The project is a partnership with The Giving Grove, a nonprofit organization that provided the resources to plant and upkeep fruit bearing trees that the school and neighborhood will benefit from in the upcoming months.  

This partnership is available to all Dallas ISD schools, said Geri Strong, program manager of Grow North Texas, the local affiliate of The Giving Grove, which is the national umbrella organization based out of Kansas City, Mo. 

“The criteria includes having at least two volunteers that would be able to take care of the orchard, access to water, that the orchard receives at least eight hours of sun a day, and the school agrees that at least 50 percent of the fruit produced will go directly to the neighborhood or be donated to the food bank,” Strong said. The one-page application is simple, and once the initial requirements are met, the project needs administrative approval. 

The school, which already had a school garden in place, added the orchard component, a move fully embraced by the school’s community.

“The idea is that over the third year, fruit will be readily available for the community,” said Rebecca Ajuluchukwu, Hawthorne’s instructional coach. 

The process included identifying an area to plant the trees, as well as determining what kinds of fruits would be available for Texas conditions. 

“We are planting fig trees, blackberry bushes, pears, and pomegranate, and 80 percent of the fruit will go to the community,” she said. 

The orchards needs volunteer tree stewards who learn how to care for the trees. Ajuluchkwu, who is one of the stewards, says she and other volunteers are being trained to take on this responsibility. 

“The Giving Tree is paying for all the soil and materials needed to keep the trees healthy.They are providing us with support on the planting days as well,” she said. 

Among the things that The Giving Grove offers is creating a space for community members to gather and learn about healthy food and healthy eating habits. 

“Edible education is very important because we have 10-year-olds in Dallas County with type 2 diabetes because of the food they’re eating,” said Kim Aman, executive director of Grow Garden Grow, a school garden support organization that has been working on the school garden. “Teaching kids about the food system, what to grow and what to eat, is important. If they plant it, they are more likely to eat it. The push is to get healthier kids and a healthier environment.” 

San Juana Ayala Contreras, one of the parent volunteers who helped plant the orchard, sees how this work will benefit students and future generations.

“I think it is important for the children to see how the process of planting a tree is, but above all, to be aware that if we plant the trees with great care and with all its processes, such as providing water and fertilization, they will give us fruit in the future,” Ayala Contreras said. 

Ana Fernandez, principal at Hawthorne says these efforts have been a dream come true.

“We have been thinking about this for a long time,” she said. “Step by step we have been building a garden, and now with the addition of the orchard, this will bring more opportunities for students and their families to work together. Our parent volunteers stop by during the weekends and during the summer to help us water the plants. They help us care for the garden. We are cultivating a community.” 

To learn more about the opportunities available through The Giving Grove, visit

Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program supports healthy outcomes

Cheryl Culberson, Dallas ISD’s Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program coordinator, is playing a vital role in the district’s efforts to increase awareness, expand prevention, facilitate intervention and promote recovery for substance use/abuse in students, a role that has become even more crucial recently as the area faces an increase in fentanyl abuse.

As a licensed chemical dependency counselor and a licensed professional counselor, Culberson is qualified to provide both substance abuse and mental health intervention, something that has always been her passion. 

“Substance abuse is a large component of impulsivity and poor life choices that affects the whole family,” Culberson said. “Being exposed to so much trauma and stressors with inappropriate coping skills, students may lean toward that quick fix to cope with anxiety, depression, feeling uneasy and more. My goal has always been to educate and support healthy problem solving and alternative thinking.” 

Culberson focuses on several key areas to accomplish the Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program’s goals. She consults with school and Youth and Family Center counselors to help them determine a student’s needs and educates Dallas ISD team members so they can identify signs and symptoms of drug use, connect students to resources and know how to respond in emergency situations. She also conducts coffee talks with various principals to educate families on the substances their students may be exposed to, such as fentanyl, smoking and vaping.

“I’m definitely working to educate people on the alarming emerging trends related to the fentanyl epidemic,” Culberson said. 

For more information on how you can protect your family, students and your community from opioid abuse, visit Having Naloxone on Hand Can Save a Life During an Opioid Overdose

You can also take advantage of the Alcohol and Drug Intervention Program website to find resources for teachers, counselors, parents and more, and learn more about the dangers of fentanyl by reviewing the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration’s Counterfeit Pills Fact Sheet.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, opioid overdoses continue to be a major public health problem in the United States. They have contributed significantly to overdose deaths among those who use or misuse illicit and prescription opioids. In fact, all U.S. overdose deaths involving opioids (i.e., unintentional, intentional, homicide and undetermined) increased to more than 42,000 deaths in 2016. 

Culberson recommends the SAMHSA Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit and the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD, for hearing impaired) for anyone looking for immediate support. 

“When I go on campus, I have a pen that says ‘one pill can kill,’” she added. “That enables us because students will ask what it means. That’s my opportunity to have a dialogue with them.”

She is encouraging families and Dallas ISD team members to register for the following free educational webinars by Operation Parent to help students get the support they need:

  • March 14: Risky Behavior Modification
  • April 11: Childhood Trauma
  • April 25: Vaping

“My passion has always been being able to help people see the bigger picture and know that there are alternatives to change their lives and empower them,” Culberson said. “Some adults as well as students feel they were ‘born this way’ or are ‘stuck in this life,’ and I help them see they can have a different life outcome.”