An important update on Destination Cloud

After extensive discussions and careful evaluation, the Destination Cloud project leadership team has made the decision to adjust the project direction and pause the fusion implementation. While the district is still moving the on-premise E-Business Suite (EBS) system to Oracle Cloud, the journey to get there will now look different.

Based on a comprehensive analysis of current infrastructure, culture, and future needs, Destination Cloud will now follow a “lift and shift” approach. This approach will allow Dallas ISD to leverage the cloud’s scalability, security, and cost-efficiency, while preserving the core functionalities of the existing EBS system.

A key aspect of this new approach: The processes team members are familiar with will remain largely unchanged, as the district is committed to preserving the essential workflows that have proven effective for Dallas ISD. This will support a smooth transition for everyone, one that reduces interruption of day-to-day operations.

The project timeline has also been shifted to make it more manageable and ensure the Destination Cloud team can balance their project work with their day-to-day responsibilities and other districtwide initiatives.

The Destination Cloud team thanks everyone for their patience and understanding regarding this shift in direction. The team is thrilled as ever to continue this journey to optimize the infrastructure and drive student and district success. Stay tuned for further communications regarding the updated “lift and shift” approach to Destination Cloud, and reach out to with any questions.

Libraries director is inspired by her love of reading

For Patricia Alvarado, director of Library and Media Services, and her team, making sure that every Dallas ISD student has access to books—physical books or e-books—and other resources that support their learning is both a calling and a passion. 

“I don’t remember having a lot of books when I was young,” Alvarado said. “We were very poor in Corpus Christi, so we didn’t have a lot of access to materials. That’s why that’s really a passion for me.”

Alvarado, who grew up in Corpus Christi, was born in the border city of Matamoros, Mexico, moved to Texas with her family when she was 5 years old. 

“I never thought I would be the director of a department in Dallas ISD in a million years,” said Alvarado, who has been in this role for a year. “I mean, I grew up in Matamoros where we didn’t even have indoor plumbing at that time. I never expected to have this type of influence.”

Alvarado first came to the district in 2008 to become librarian at Eladio Martinez Learning Center and then worked at L.V. Stockard Middle School. She then became a coordinator in the department for a couple of years, before moving to Irving ISD as director of Library Services. Nine years later, she returned to Dallas ISD to take on her new position. 

The idea of becoming a librarian first came to Alvarado when she was a parent volunteer in her kindergarten daughter’s school library. She thought that it would be a very fulfilling job to be a librarian, and she mentioned it to her daughter’s teacher who then suggested she get a master’s degree in library science. 

The determination to become a librarian led Alvarado to go back to school to get her bachelor’s degree and teaching certification at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. She attended Texas Woman’s University for her master’s degree. She would take online classes during the school year while working as a bilingual teacher in Corpus Christi and would attend in-person classes at TWU during the summer months.

Alvarado remembers her eighth-grade English teacher recommending the classic Charles Dickens novel, “Great Expectations.”  She read the book and got hooked not only on Dickens, but on reading. Alvarado says before her teacher encouraged her to read, she had never been identified as a reader, and she didn’t think of herself as a reader.

Reading that book may have also saved her life. She remembers being so captivated by the book that she turned down her sister’s invitation to go to a community dance at her church. That day, her friends were in a terrible accident that took the life of her cousin and caused serious injuries to her two sisters. 

“I always think that reading literally saved my life,” Alvarado said. This personal connection to reading has stayed with her throughout her life. 

Although she loved the vivid characters and storytelling in Dickens’ book and other books, she didn’t see authors and characters who looked like her—books she could identify with as a Mexican American. 

“Diversity in the books that we have is so crucial because we want our students to feel good about themselves,” she said. “We want them to be inspired by what they read, to look beyond their immediate circumstances and know there is more out there for them.” 

Alvarado uses the book “A Crown for Corina,” written by Laekan Zea Kemp and illustrated by Elisa Chavarri, as an example.

“I look at the illustrations in this book and think that this could be my niece,” she said. “She would be able to see herself in this book.” 

Library Media Services uses metrics and usage data to cater to what students are reading at each individual campus. For example, students on one campus might be more interested in soccer books, while students on another campus might be interested more in football. Another popular resource is e-books. In the first nine weeks of the school year alone, the district circulated 40,000 e-books. 

 “This means that at least 40,000 times a student used their phone or mobile device to search for a book and checked it out to read, not because it was an assignment or required reading, but for pleasure!,” Alvarado said. “It’s like a 24/7 reading on demand, and we try so hard to create a collection that meets their needs. Whether students want fiction, comic books, or drawing books—that’s what we’re going to provide.”

In addition to books, Alvarado and her team provide resources and programs that cultivate a love of learning and a culture of literacy, she said. One of the ways they do this is Project R.E.A.D., a library redesign initiative. 

Alvarado has passed on her love of libraries and public schools to her children—both are Dallas ISD graduates and are currently teachers in the district.  

Alvarado’s favorite thing about her position is knowing that she had a role in helping students get motivated because they got a book that they wanted, they learned how to use e-books, or became good digital citizens—skills that help them become college ready. 

“Because at the end of the day, motivating our students to read for pleasure builds their knowledge, expands their vocabulary and supports critical thinking, leading to more successful and confident adults,” Alvarado said.

Reimagining Dallas ISD Libraries through Project R.E.A.D. 

Dallas ISD Library and Media Services has been working for two years on Project R.E.A.D., and since last spring, there have been almost weekly launches of libraries with schools posting their ribbon cuttings and school celebrations on social media. 

Project R.E.A.D. is a library redesign initiative—whose acronym stands for research, exploration, application and design—intended to increase students’ interests in the arts and design, deepen their knowledge of coding, hone their speaking and presentation skills using digital broadcasts, and increase their critical thinking skills through research and collaboration.

Approximately 80 schools were scheduled to undergo this redesign.The project has been in the works for two years with design drafts and campus meetings to finalize the final plans. The grand reopenings began last spring. So far, 55 libraries have been enhanced through Project R.E.A.D., which includes 38 elementary schools and 17 middle schools and high schools. A total of 42,638 students have been impacted by the new library enhancements.

The funds for the redesigns cover new tables and chairs, mobile furniture and shelving, as well as technology for the READ zones, said Patricia Alvarado, director of Library and Media Services. 

During a recent ribbon cutting at Barbara Jordan Elementary School,  Assistant Principal Kirk Williams praised the amount of modernization and technology—a big change from what libraries used to be. Despite the modernizations, libraries are still performing the same functions supporting student learning, he said. 

“You kids deserve the best opportunities, the best school, and the best library,” said Principal Luis Saucedo.  

Alvarado agrees that the libraries of 2023 are so much more than just about books and reading.

“You know how you walk into a Starbucks and you see a lot of students there? That’s what we want to do for our students,” Alvarado said. 

The younger generations are using libraries more than the previous generations, she said. 

“Our school libraries offer access to many premium resources, including popular e-books, research and reference materials for completing assignments, test preparation and access to the Dallas Public Library, which is a portal to even more resources such as Linkedin Learning,” Alvarado said. 

Through Project R.E.A.D. students also have access to  augmented reality, broadcast zones and green screens, podcast equipment, coding technology and more, Alvarado said. An example of how new library technology supports learning is the ability for students to dissect a frog through augmented reality on an iPad. 

For a complete list of schools that have gone through the Project R.E.A.D. redesign initiative, visit this link for more information. To keep up with the Project R.E.A.D. ribbon cuttings, you can follow @ProjectReadDISD on X. 


Building for a connected future in education

As the world continues to become more dependent on technology, more and more learning is taking place online. Education is catching up, and Dallas ISD’s Educational Technology Department is leading the effort to meet the technological demands of evolving educational opportunities with a new tech hub.

“As we recognized the need to modernize technology at our campuses, we chose Frederick Douglass Elementary School as a technology incubator,” said Jon Hurley, assistant superintendent of Technology—Architecture and Operations. The work done at the school will serve as a guide for future technology upgrades in other areas of the district.

As part of the Douglass technology hub, the department provided every student with Chromebooks that include an integrated LTE hotspot that can pick up Wi-Fi network signals without the need of an additional device. The technology team also upgraded the connectivity infrastructure at the school. At the same time, the department is taking advantage of programs available in the community so students can have access to the internet at home to support their learning.

“We are aware of the challenges presented by this transformation,” Hurley said. “But the more we get students online, the more learning opportunities they will have. We are focusing on all technological upgrades and infrastructure.”

 The recent pandemic exacerbated the need for connectivity for learning, and Dallas ISD was a leader in the state in ensuring students had access to online education. Several programs were implemented during that time to make sure students had access everywhere. Some worked and some didn’t, which is why the Douglass tech incubator is so important, Hurley said.

 “It gave us a good idea of what works and what doesn’t, so it can be reproduced in other schools,” said Marlon Harrison, assistant superintendent of Enterprise  Support Services. “We have a template.”

 The department is still in the first phase of the efforts to continue to upgrade technology and access to the internet across the district, and the Douglass tech incubator showcases what can be done at other schools. The goal is that in five to seven years, every student will have a device with 5G LTE connectivity. The district has already invested in 15,000 laptops—like those at the Douglass tech incubator—with eSIM cards, or digital SIM cards, which can be paired with any service provider.

 “This is a long-term plan,” Hurley said.

With an eye on equity, Educational Technology is working with other departments and Board of Trustees to enter into long-term contracts that will make the infrastructure upgrades possible, first in areas of greatest need and, eventually, across the district, he said.

The major infrastructure work in the first phases of the project will take place in the next three to four years, at the same time that the district continues to leverage federal technology funds to also upgrade devices for students.

“Eventually, everyone will be on these devices,” Hurley said. “The future is mobile, and access to digital learning for our kids is essential. We want them to have every opportunity that’s available to be successful.”







Master Teachers: A series

The Beat has interviewed Master Teachers across the district to share their stories and introspections about their careers, including tips for teaching. Meet Master Teacher Yessica Shaw.

Yessica Shaw, a Master Teacher at Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School, first came to Dallas ISD in 2006 when she moved from Puerto Rico. Transitioning from Puerto Rico to Dallas ISD was a significant change, but she credits the  ACE program for helping her find her  footing and a community that welcomed her with open arms. 

Shaw, who has worked as an educator for 23 years, 18 of them in Dallas ISD, says she’s fortunate to be part of the district and will be  forever grateful for the support and guidance she has received from the educators and administrators. 

What drew you to education? 

Life circumstances played a significant role in drawing me toward education. It was a series of experiences and events that ultimately led me to choose this fulfilling path. These circumstances ignited a deep passion for helping others learn and grow, and they continue to serve as a driving force behind my commitment to the field of education.

How are you creating opportunities for students?

I have been creating opportunities for elementary students by offering them a rich and diverse education, mentoring and guiding them, and removing any barriers to their future success. I try my best to empower our young learners to reach their full potential and achieve their goals.

What is your best teaching tip?

We must take the time to understand our students—their backgrounds, learning styles, interests, and unique needs. Every student is a unique individual, and acknowledging this individuality is the first step in tailoring our teaching approach. By doing so, we can create an environment where every student feels seen and heard.

What would your students be surprised to find out about you?

It often surprises my students to learn that I am a grandmother. Despite my role as their educator, I also cherish the special title of “Abuela.” This unexpected aspect of my life serves as a reminder that we all have diverse and multifaceted identities beyond our roles in the classroom. It’s a pleasant connection that sometimes brings an extra layer of understanding and relatability to our interactions.

What inspires you the most about being an educator?

What truly inspires me as an educator is the chance to educate and connect with a diverse range of students. Being able to influence and guide them on their educational journeys is a privilege I hold dear. Moreover, the role of being a positive role model is something that fills me with a profound sense of purpose. Through this, I hope to not only impart knowledge but also instill values, inspire growth, and contribute to the development of responsible and compassionate individuals who will go on to make a positive impact on the world.

Calling all youth poets

Teachers who have aspiring poets among their students have an opportunity to help them shine. Youth poets will have a chance to have their work published in a bound anthology through the Dallas Public Library’s “Express Yourself!” youth poetry competition. 

The contest is now open and the deadline to submit entries is Jan. 31, 2024. Poems will be judged in the following grade categories: 

  • Second-fifth
  • Sixth-eighth
  • Ninth-12th

Sixty finalists will receive a medal and a copy of the poetry anthology, which will contain their poem entry, and will be invited to participate in an award ceremony on April 25, 2024. All finalists will be notified via email by March 31. 

One top finalist will receive the Joe M. and Doris Russell Dealey Award of achievement as well as a scholarship of $500. A winner will be selected for each grade category and will be awarded a scholarship of $100.

Poems will be accepted in English and Spanish and will be judged on originality and only one entry per poet will be accepted. Some of the rules include: poems must be the writer’s own work, poets must live in Dallas or attend a school in Dallas, and entries must not exceed 20 lines.

For more detailed information about the rules and the link to submit poems, visit

District launches new tool for safeguarding sensitive data

Dallas ISD’s commitment to the safety and security of all team members and students extends into cyberspace, which is why the district is implementing a new level of security when it comes to sensitive data. The tool will be launched districtwide soon.

A Data Loss Prevention solution (DLP) safeguards critical sensitive data that’s available within the district’s network to prevent unintended and unauthorized exposure. The DLP agent runs on team members’ computers to monitor the use and transmission of sensitive and protected data, such as student information, private health information, PII, etc. The definition of sensitive information is outlined in district regulations and included in the annual compliance videos.

What does that mean for me? 

If your work involves handling data that the DLP agent has recognized as potentially containing sensitive information, you may see prompts throughout the course of your day if there is a potential for the action you are performing to lead to unauthorized exposure. For example, you might be sendinding sensitive data through email, a web-form, cloud storage, messaging apps, social media sites, etc., which could lead to exposure.

This doesn’t mean that the action cannot be performed or that it is wrong. It just means that the DLP is flagging it and creating a record of the action, the information about the data involved and details of why you received the prompt for further review by the district’s Information Security team. Receiving the prompt doesn’t necessarily mean that what you are doing is unauthorized or that you are in trouble. 

Information Security has been working to reduce instances in which the DLP flags data that is not sensitive and to avoid generating prompts for uses and transmissions of data that are following secure standard procedures outlined by the district and departments. 

For additional information about the DLP tool, go here.

Making immigrant students feel welcome

Every year the Margaret and Gilbert Herrera International Welcome Center helps thousands of immigrant families navigate the enrollment process for their children who are new to the U.S. education system.

National Immigrants Day is celebrated on Oct. 28 to honor the diversity and culture that immigrants bring to their communities, and the welcome center is usually the first stop for many of these immigrant families who want their children—born here or in other countries—to have all the opportunities an education offers. This year, the center’s team members have already helped register 3,500 students of all ages, above the average for this time of year.

“Walking families through the process and verifying all the paperwork can sometimes be a lot for individual campuses to handle while doing the work for the students that are already enrolled,” said Amanda Clymer, Bilingual/ESL Department director over the welcome center. “A lot of our families struggle with the paperwork, registering online. At the center, we verify all the forms, help them upload them, and we do language proficiency testing to determine what services the students will need once they start attending school.”

Because most families come to the welcome center during the summer before school starts, the center—which consists of a manager, testers and two other team members—gets help from the rest of the Bilingual/ESL Department.

“We implemented Family Fridays when the week’s appointments are filled up, we have walk-ins, and the entire department helps out because we can process about 100 students a day,” Clymer said. “We get families from everywhere! They come from Plano, Garland and other places because they’ve heard we help here. We call those districts and find out where they can go to get help there.”

Currently, the center is processing 35 to 50 students a day. While the majority of the welcome center families come from Mexico, they have seen a growth from other countries, such as Venezuela, Guatemala, Colombia, Cuba, Jamaica and others.

The center’s and the department’s work doesn’t stop once the students are enrolled. They often follow up with families who were processed through the center or families call them, said Adriana Lopez, center manager.

“They call us back and tell us if they are having issues once they are at the school, and we work with the campus to help them resolve it,” she said. The entire department also works with teachers throughout the year to help them understand and apply instructional supports for emerging bilingual students and newcomers through professional development sessions and one-on-one support when possible.

“We help them understand the unique needs of these students so they can thrive,” Clymer said. “We help all teachers be teachers of language.”

Beyond enrolling students new to the U.S. education system, the welcome center functions as the first introduction to Dallas ISD for many families. It is a place where they can share their stories, find the help they need and ensure their children have what they need to go out into the world, Clymer said.

“We are the first experience these families have with Dallas ISD, and we want that experience to be positive,” Clymer said. “We want them to want to be here and part of our district.”


A Core 4 focus on student transportation 

As a student at Seagoville High School, Maia Green dreamed of getting her CDL license and transforming student lives the way she had seen it done time and time again. Now, with five years of experience, first as a monitor and now as a bus driver, she is proud to be making those dreams come true. 

“I saw how passionate the other drivers were about their kids, and how they worked to build a bond with the students and their parents,” Green said. “I thought, ‘I can be this passionate about the kids and I know my way around town, so I can exceed expectations and expand more, and I can have that same passion.’” 

She clocks in each day around 6 a.m. and gets everything ready for her students, cleaning her bus and getting gas as needed before heading out on her route. Once she drops every student off safely at school, she cleans the bus again and takes a midday break before repeating the process in reverse to get her students home. 

No matter what is going on in her personal life, Green said she greets everyone with a smile. 

“I’m the first person they see in the morning and the last person they see before they go home to their family, so being able to tell them, ‘Have a good day,’ or, ‘Enjoy your weekend. I’ll see you Monday,’ to let them know that I am going to be back for them gives them something to look forward to. It’s a wonderful feeling to build upon with the kids because you never know what they’re going through at home, and I want them to feel comfortable coming to me and talking to me about it.” 

Serving as a bus driver with a focus on students in Special Services programs, Green said she encourages her students to treat each other with respect and makes sure she has a good understanding of what each student needs to be safe and successful on their way to and from school. 

Green said she sees practicing the Core 4 culture tenets of being focused, fast, flexible, and friendly as a natural part of what she does every day, showing up for her students and helping her fellow bus drivers keep their vehicles clean when they are struggling. 

“I’m here to help and serve and get the kids where they need to go,” Green said. “Taking them to school, getting them two to three meals a day, and putting them in a safe environment is better than anything. So I will go over and beyond anytime they ask me.”

Take care of your mental health 

Dallas ISD has been promoting awareness about breast cancer prevention and treatments throughout October to give it the boot. Because a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, getting support for mental health is an important part of the process.

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, one in eight women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Because many are affected by breast cancer in one way or another—whether going through treatments or being a friend, relative, or colleague—keeping an eye on mental health and offering support is important. 

Breast cancer and mental health

A diagnosis can leave the people affected and their loved ones feeling anxious, scared, depressed, or thinking about past trauma. According to the American Cancer Society, one in every four people diagnosed with breast cancer can experience depression. Things such as anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, memory loss, mood swings, and post-traumatic stress disorder can also develop.

Taking care of physical wellbeing is as important as caring for emotional and mental health. If you are going through breast cancer or are a caregiver and need assistance, Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program offers free service in areas such as mental health, managing stress, crisis, coping with change, and other areas. For more information visit or go to

For more information about ways you can get involved and participate in educational workshops or host community events, such as community walks, visit the American Cancer Society or the National Breast Cancer Foundation

Your stories

Johnitta R. Williams

L.G. Pinkston High School

In December 2021, during a self-examination, I discovered a lump. In 2022, it was confirmed that I had breast cancer. I vividly recall sitting at lunch, receiving a call, and hearing the words, “I’m sorry, you have cancer.” Initially, it felt surreal, and I was in a state of shock. Time seemed to crawl after receiving the diagnosis. I learned it was Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma.

Once I had the chance to process it all, I made a firm decision: I wouldn’t let this illness dictate my life. I resolved to THRIVE. I committed myself to facing each day with a smile, and I sought out conversations with others who had gone through similar experiences. My thriving journey was bolstered by an amazing support system, starting with my cherished friends, family, and my work family at L.G. Pinkston High School and the West Dallas community.

Following a double mastectomy, enduring eight rounds of chemotherapy, undergoing 34 radiation sessions, and going through reconstructive surgery, losing my hair, as well as another procedure in June 2024, I’m still THRIVING today. I approach each day one step at a time, grateful for the strength that carries me forward.

What advice would you give others?

The advice I would offer is that cancer doesn’t discriminate. However, early detection and open conversations with your family about their medical history can truly make a significant difference. Additionally, maintaining a positive outlook and surrounding yourself with supportive family and friends can be invaluable in navigating this journey.

Jacqualin (Jackie) Cundieff 

Gabe P. Allen New Tech Academy

I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 46 years old. I taught throughout my cancer surgery and chemotherapy treatment. I was blessed to be in a school district that supported me through my entire journey. I am now a survivor from breast cancer for 18 years!

What advice would you give others?

My advice for others is to get yearly mammograms, stay positive throughout your cancer journey, and surround yourself with friends and family if you are facing this horrible disease.

Juana Palmer

T.G. Terry Elementary School

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in January of 2023. I have successfully completed six months of chemotherapy treatment . I rang the bell on July 14. 

What advice would you give others?

Make sure that you have a strong support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Keep a notebook handy when you go to the doctor. Don’t overdo it with housework. Drink plenty of water. 

LaBrita Smith

David W. Carter High School

My story begins on June 13 when I had my second stroke on my way to my second job. I started to have blurred vision, and I had my daughter Chani’a in the car with me, because she had to use the car for that day. I told my daughter I needed for her to call my supervisor to let her know I was unable to come in, and my daughter had to drive us back home. At this time we made it back home and my daughter was crying, and she called for the EMT to come and check me out. When the young man looked at me, he decided to take me to the hospital. The nurse asked me if I had a mammogram. I said no because I didn’t have time working two jobs. Cancer runs in my family, but when the nurse called and told me I had cancer in my left breast I was devastated, because I work in the health field. I am a nurse assistant, and it has been very hard for me because while my two daughters are grown, I had other young ladies and gentlemen who needed me. I wanted to give up, but I couldn’t because I have a good support team-family, my coworkers, and my church family, and I needed that support when I felt down. I want to say this, I never give up, because I feel like God has a purpose for me in life. I just had surgery on Aug. 4  to remove the cancer, and now I am waiting to do radiation and to see what my next plan will be. 

What advice would you give others?

Never give up God will take care of you, and it’s in his hands..

Tammy Villanueva

Rosemont Upper

I am a breast cancer survivor of 14 years. I would not have made it through without the support of my Rosemont family. Everyone was willing to help. 

What advice would you give others?

It is okay to be sad but get yourself up and keep going! 

Karon Radford

Ignite Middle School

I was diagnosed with breast cancer in September of 2022. I had no reason to ever believe I would have breast cancer. I have no family history. My fallacy was in thinking that it would never be me. I learned a valuable lesson, mammograms hurt for a few seconds but cancer hurts more and for much longer. I am cancer free.

What advice would you give others?

My advice is to get your annual screening. If you or someone you know happens to get that nasty cancer, please give them or yourself time to process. Also, give yourself permission to not be okay some days, because cancer is hard.