Looking for Alternative Certification candidates

Dallas ISD team members and anyone who has ever considered going into teaching will have the opportunity to learn more about the process through the Dallas ISD Alternative Certification Program by signing up for any of the weekly information sessions.

The weekly information sessions provide potential candidates with information to decide if they want to move forward with the application process, said Shuntrice Rhodes, director of the Alternative Certification Program. 

According to Rhodes, one of the wonderful things about the program is that it is free to the applicant. The only out of pocket expenses cover content exams and the certification posting. Things such as the in-person content study groups, content test preparation materials, internship tuition, books and materials do not cost the candidate.

“We have been recognized by the state. We have two commendations from the Texas Education Agency–one for mathematics, seven through 12, and one for preparing the educators that Texas needs,” she said.

The district’s AC Program has experienced an 82% increase in program applications and a 44% increase in candidates admitted into the program. According to the Texas Education Agency, the program boasts an 82% overall pass rate for all content pedagogy exams and a 97% pass rate for all pedagogy tests.

While many of the applicants are already Dallas ISD team members, such as teacher assistants and members of central departments, the Alternative Certification Program accepts applicants from out-of-state and out of the country. The department recently began accepting H-1B visa candidates again. 

Some of the requirements to be part of the AC program include having a bachelor’s degree and at least a 2.5 grade point average. About 80 recent Alternative Certification graduates became new teachers this school year. The AC program anticipates that over 100 candidates will become teachers in the spring semester.  

Isabel Gonzalez, a facilitator in the department, is a former teacher who went through the district’s Alternative Certification Program. 

“When I first went through the AC program, I didn’t know how much I was going to enjoy being a teacher,” said Gonzalez. “Once I stepped into the classroom, I realized that this was my passion. And now I get to help others discover their calling for teaching.”

“One of the benefits of going through the district’s alternative certification program is that all our training is aligned to the district’s initiatives, in addition to being in alignment with the TEA,” Rhodes said of the district’s premier alternative certification program.

The new cohort application period will open on Sept. 15 and close in January. For detailed information on the program, you can visit https://www.dallasisd.org/altcert.

Congratulations to 38 grant winners

Congratulations to the 38 Dallas ISD team members who received this year’s Junior League of Dallas Grants for Innovative Teaching. 

The grants of up to $2,500 are awarded to support unique programs that fall outside of school budgets to help improve education in Dallas ISD. These innovative teaching projects span all grade levels and subjects and will contribute to student success.

View the grant recipients below: 

  • Shakirae Ajaga, George W. Truett Elementary School
  • Rebecca Ajuluchukwu, Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Jennifer Belchi Segura, George W. Truett Elementary School
  • Mark Broughton, STEM Environmental Education Center
  • Mishalee Bryeans, James Bowie Elementary School
  • Juan Bustamante, George W. Truett Elementary School
  • Michella Chappell, Frank Guzick Elementary School
  • Ramicia DeClues-Paul, Eddie Bernice Johnson STEM Academy
  • Mykel Estes, Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploration Academy
  • ShaDerika Finley, D.A. Hulcy STEAM Middle School
  • John Fore, Young Women’s STEAM Academy At Balch Springs Middle School
  • Angela Gier, Maple Lawn Elementary School
  • Aileen Gomez Benitez, Alex Sanger Preparatory School
  • Octavio Gutierrez, Stevens Park Elementary School
  • Virginia Hadley, W.T. White High School
  • Maria de los Llanos Hortelano Garcia, Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Natalie Janssen, Arthur Kramer Elementary School
  • Pamela Jenkins, Martin Weiss Elementary School
  • Jasmine Jones, Skyline High School
  • Candace Klein , George W. Truett Elementary School
  • Emma Grace Lloyd, Harry C. Withers Elementary School
  • Rebecca Lopez, Rosemont Upper Campus School
  • Blake Mokate, Skyline High School
  • Harry Monroe, STEM Environmental Education Center
  • Thu Nguyen, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School
  • Mario Ordonez, Bryan Adams High School Leadership Academy
  • Dee Anna Pier , Anne Frank Elementary School
  • Sara Ramirez, STEM Environmental Education Center
  • Lizette Rincon, Prestonwood Montessori at E.D. Walker
  • Alexandria Saulnier McKinin, Edward Titche Elementary School
  • Lecharia Scales, George W. Truett Elementary School
  • Terry Stotts, Multiple Careers Magnet Center
  • Megan Vance, Harold W. Lang Sr. Middle School
  • Brandy Verseckes, Frank Guzick Elementary School
  • Lesya White, North Dallas High School
  • Lakeisha Williams, New Tech High School at B.F. Darrell
  • Arianna Zeb, Lee A. McShan Jr. Elementary School
  • Beatriz Zuluaga, Frank Guzick Elementary School

Learn more about the Grants for Innovative Teaching at https://www.jldallas.org/grants-for-innovative-teaching/

New Youth and Family Center set to open in the district’s southern sector

Closing the gap and making mental and physical healthcare accessible to students in the South Oak Cliff High School feeder pattern is what the district strives to accomplish with the addition of the new T.D. Marshall Youth and Family Center at Clara Oliver. The facility is scheduled to open next month and have an official ribbon cutting on Sept. 26.

“The T.D. Marshall Youth and Family Center will fill in a huge gap in the southern sector of town where mental and physical healthcare services are minimal, and we are looking forward to providing these services to our students and families in this area,” said Tracey Brown, executive director of the district’s Mental Health Services Department.

Brown said the two targets of mental and physical health often cause barriers for students. 

“The district’s new youth and family center will remove barriers, which then opens the door of opportunity,” Brown said. “There’s so many things that our kids are going through, and our therapists and our medical partners are there to help and support.” 

The new clinic will primarily serve students from 4 to 21 years of age and offer primary care health as well as mental health services. Several Youth and Family Centers have new physical health partners, and T.D. Marshall YFC has partnered with Los Barrios Unidos Community Clinic to offer physical health services. 

Immunizations and sports physicals are among some of the most in-demand physical health services available at the centers. 

Individual counseling, group counseling, family counseling, evaluation and assessment, psychiatric consultation and medication management, as well as parent education workshops, are among the mental health services that will be offered. 

“If you have someone that’s walking the walk with you, and there’s a therapist that can listen and that can support you, it can make all the difference to a student and their family,” Brown said. 

As part of the mental health services offered to students, Brown also notes that campuses throughout the district have mental health clinicians that can offer short-term counseling and behavior interventions. 

According to Brown, a community health-needs assessment conducted in 2019 showed the need for additional services in the 75216 zip code, which led to the T.D. Marshall YFC. Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds were used to renovate the existing building where the clinic will be housed.

As the district prepares to open the T.D. Marshall YFC, the Mental Health Services Department will be working with schools in the South Oak Cliff feeder pattern to let teachers, parents, and the community know about the services they will be offering. 

For more information on T.D. Marshall YFC and the 12 other clinics located throughout the district visit www.dallasisd.org/mentalhealth or call the Mental Health Services Department at 972-502-4190. 

Supporting student success through Risk Management

Dena Dutchover has been with Dallas ISD for almost a decade, and in her current post as coordinator in Risk Management, she is one of the team members who is tasked with  identifying potential risks and mitigating their effects before they occur.

Dallas ISD’s Risk Management Department is a part of Financial Services and is responsible for the identification, evaluation, treatment, and monitoring of the district’s operational risks. Dutchover works on such projects as unemployment claims filed with the Texas Workforce Commission, vendor insurance, and driving safety.  

For the Risk Management team, identifying potential risks and mitigating their effects before they occur also includes cybersecurity, workers compensation, athletics, property insurance, and more. 

One of Dutchover’s regular tasks for the past nine years is ensuring fire safety is top of mind throughout the district by working with the Campus Safety Team, School Leadership, and various departments, providing trainings in fire drill protocols and monitoring compliance.

“When you’re in a role in education, you’re there for a reason,” Dutchover said. “You’re there to make a difference, and it has been incredible to work with so many people and see all the effects our work is having across the city.”

Another memorable moment for Dutchover was supporting her peers when the COVID-19 pandemic first began. She said unemployment claims were coming in at a “high volume,” and many of the callers were misinformed about the processes they needed to follow to get resources and support. 

“I was working until 2:30 in the morning at times because there were 75-plus claims due the next day,” Dutchover said. “It was back to back, and it was like that for months. I was really pushing myself when it came to my work, but I was determined to do it. It was my success story.”

Coming from a “long line of educators,” Dutchover said she is an advocate for education and paving the way for student success. She is passionate about the work she does, and she said she enjoys working with her team and other departments.

“It takes a village, so to anyone in the district, just know that we are thankful for having those partnerships because they are important,” she said. “My team is a whole other family. I don’t want to get teary-eyed, but we spend the majority of our waking hours at work, so it’s super important to be happy with the people you’re around. A smile is contagious, and they’re easy to find with a team like this one.”

To learn more about the work the Risk Management team is doing, visit https://www.dallasisd.org/riskmanagement.

Goal setting for the year is available

Goal setting for the 2023-2024 school year can now take place in the Career Management System in Cornerstone. Every employee evaluated with CMS should submit two or three job-specific SMART goals.

To help team members and their appraisers with the goal setting process and goal accomplishment, the district has updated the CMS individual goals rubric that can be found here. Other resources available to team members include the Goals Setting Process guide and Goal Setting webinar

Employees are to submit goal setting tasks in Cornerstone by Thursday, Oct 5. The deadline for appraisers to have had a conference with each direct report and approve the goals in Cornerstone is Thursday, Oct. 19.

Appraisers who are unsure of their appraisal assignments can find them in Oracle using this linked guide. If you are unable to find the Online Evaluation Supervisor function in your Oracle account, please request it at your earliest convenience through this link: https://records.dallasisd.org/Forms/64MOk

The Performance Management team is here to assist with any questions or concerns.  Please contact us at careermanagement@dallasisd.org or (972) 749-5712.

Racial equity alert

The Racial Equity Office needs you to deepen our district’s Equity Mindset. Each campus and department should select a representative who will influence and lead the equity work at their location. Will you be a racial equity leader this year?

All designated influencers will attend a virtual kickoff training. They will also participate in a fall and spring Learning Exchange to learn equitable practices from renowned equity researchers, authors, and leaders. Influencers will have access to curated resources located on the online library and implement these practices with their campus or department. We are excited about having over 300 districtwide leaders in equity and look forward to 100% participation. Dallas ISD is leading in rhythm with equity and excellence.

If you have additional questions, please contact Candyce Grant at 972-925-3048 or via email at canfranklin@dallasisd.org.

Dress for Success

Even though it may still be warm and sunny outside, Dallas ISD returns to business dress code on Sept. 1 to promote a professional atmosphere and maintain the positive image that employees present as representatives of the district. 

The district’s dress code policy is designed to help employees provide a consistent professional appearance to colleagues, students, parents, and the community. Employees should exemplify the highest standards of professional appearance.

To help guide employees in determining appropriate attire for the workplace, below are the business dress code guidelines outlined in DH(LOCAL) and DH(REGULATION).


  • The dress code standards are meant to maintain an orderly educational environment and will not infringe on an individual’s culture, religious beliefs, or protected free speech.
  • The dress and grooming of district employees shall be clean, neat, in a manner appropriate for their assignments, and in accordance with any additional standards established by their supervisors and approved by the Superintendent of Schools.
  • Employees are expected to exemplify proper grooming standards and personal hygiene in a manner that projects a professional image for the employees and the district.
  • Employees shall keep their hair and facial hair groomed neatly.
  • Employees will not be allowed to display any jewelry, tattoos, brands, or similar artifacts that are either obscene, distracting, or may cause disruptions to the educational environment.

Acceptable Attire

  • Clothing should be clean, pressed, and wrinkle-free.
  • Attire should fit appropriately (not excessively tight or loose).
  • Dress pants, dress shirts, and blouses are required.
  • Professional dresses and skirts are required.
  • Professional footwear is required at all times.
  • Employees required to wear district-issued uniforms are expected to wear the assigned uniform.

Unacceptable Attire

Unacceptable attire includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • 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 inappropriate messages/graphics
  • Athletic wear and beach wear
  • Slippers, flip-flops, house shoes, sneakers, and athletic shoes
  • Hats are not to be worn inside, unless used as protective wear appropriate for one’s job function.


  • Administrators 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.
  • The Superintendent of Schools may waive the dress code for district employees when school is not in session or based on seasonal weather conditions, special events, and the like.


For questions or comments, please contact Policy and Compliance at hcmcompliance@dallasisd.org.

Dallas ISD Wins 2023 TAEA District of Distinction Award

Dallas ISD is the winner of the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) District of Distinction Award for the third consecutive year. This distinction honors school districts who are leading the way in the visual arts as well as exemplifying a well-rounded education that advocates and integrates visual arts curriculum to inspire creativity and build social-emotional learning. 

“This award for the third year in a row is a testament to the passion, importance, and hard work of our visual arts teachers. We are so proud to be the largest district in Texas to receive this honor,” Monica Hayslip, director of the Visual and Performing Arts department said. 

With approximately 285 art teachers on 220 campuses, the visual arts are an important part of the district’s offerings for all students. Art education allows students to express themselves, communicate their voices, and develop creative problem-solving skills by exploring drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and other digital media. 

“Dallas ISD has set a high standard for visual arts advocacy, integrated visual arts curriculum, and encouraged creativity, community participation, and student growth,” said Sandra Newton, chair of the Visual Art Administrators of Texas, a division of TAEA. “It is a true testament to your visual art educators’ skill, dedication, and flexibility that the quality of their programs continues to provide strong and comprehensive visual art educational experiences to students.” 

For the past five years, TAEA has been honoring school districts that meet rigorous criteria. Over 1, 200 districts were eligible to apply for this year’s award and only 68 of those districts met the high standard. Dallas ISD is the largest district in Texas to be recognized for excellence in arts education. 

According to Hayslip, visual art curriculum materials are focused on the elements of art, principles of design, and creative processes using a variety of art materials. Students also study and discuss a diverse group of artists from the past and present. Writing and discussion through critical evaluation and oral response activities also help students develop critical thinking skills. 

“The visual arts is a universal language that uses symbols, shapes, forms, lines, and colors for student expression, innovation, and exploration. There is no language barrier in art. With our diverse population, art is extremely popular and provides a tool for all students to communicate,” Hayslip said. 

Dallas ISD will be honored at the TAEA Fall Conference General Assembly on Nov. 17. 

To see all of this year’s District of Distinction winners and find out more information, visit taea.org/TAEA/districts-distinction.asp.

Going above and beyond in MFS

Sophia Orta, office manager for the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Department, has been working for Dallas ISD for 20 years, and her passion and commitment for service were recently recognized with a special pin. 

Chief of Operations David Bates visited the Maintenance and Facility Services building at 3701 Botham Jean Blvd. to present Orta with the pin, which she said she was not expecting at all. 

“I don’t do what I do for appreciation or recognition,” Orta said. “It feels good to be appreciated, but I’m going to do it regardless.”

Orta has served the district on three different campuses as a financial clerk, office manager, and more in addition to her current work. She said her drive comes from her desire to support those around her and contribute to the success of students across the district.

“I enjoy being helpful,” Orta said. “Everyone says my personality is open and friendly. The relationships we build with each other and others make a difference and make it easier to come to work every day with a smile.”

Her main responsibilities include, but are not limited to, doing the payroll for over 100 employees, managing requisitions, and overseeing contract services for all crafts. 

“I have so many people from different departments who will walk into my office and say, ‘Can you do this or help me do that?’” she said. “The way I see it, we’re in an education field, so we’re going to learn, we’re going to teach, and we’re going to have to improvise and adjust to changes and realignments. My goal is to be open and available to anybody.”

To achieve that goal, Orta relies on the Core 4 culture tenets, a necessity in her field. She strives to be fast, focused, flexible, and friendly as she adapts to needs with the Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing Department and beyond. 

“I’m feeling grateful that people do see my work because a lot of it is behind the scenes,” Orta said. “Knowing that my team is seeing me and showing appreciation for me being open and available to help them, it’s huge. So thank you.”

Campus monitors help build safe schools

With the safety and well-being of students and team members in mind, Dallas ISD has deployed a team of campus monitors across the district as part of a series of enhanced security measures. 

The monitors have been deployed throughout the district with an emphasis on secondary schools, although some are working at larger elementary schools as well. Their main responsibilities include securing entry and exit doors, monitoring entryway metal detectors, and overseeing hallways, cafeterias, and more to enhance the safety of the community. 

“The more eyes we have on access and exit points, the more eyes we have looking at the people coming toward our buildings, and the safer our schools are going to be,” said William Jay Sheets, supervisor of Student Services.

The campus monitors’ scope is the entire school, he said. They are trained in technical safety skills, as well as in de-escalation and relationship building, with an overarching goal of creating a positive learning environment for all.

“Campus monitors, along with administration and other faculty and staff, help build the school culture so students will want to come to school every day,” Sheets said. “They get students safely where they need to be.”

One campus monitor that Sheets worked with during a recent training session shared a story of speaking with a student he had known for some time in the hallway. The student expressed that they were having thoughts of self-harm, so the campus monitor got in touch with the campus’ administration team and counselors. Sheets said this group was “instrumental” in keeping the student safe that day.

This situation is far from the only success story the campus monitors had to share during their recent training, he said. 

“Safety doesn’t fall on any one individual or department,” Sheets said. “It’s a collaborative effort between our campus monitors, our support staff, our teachers, our resource officers, campus administration, and even our students. All of them combined keep campuses safe.”

Due to the importance of the campus monitor role, extensive training is being provided to these individuals to give them the tools they need to be successful and assist them with helping campuses be safe places for all students and team members. Training was held prior to the start of school and will be ongoing throughout the year with a focus on roles, responsibilities, de-escalation, safety, and culture/climate.