Call for student art contest entries

Art teachers looking for opportunities for their students’ work to be featured can look into the 2024 DART Student Art Contest. This year’s theme is “Explore DART’s 13 cities.” The deadline to enter is Thursday, Feb. 29. 

 The contest is open to students in kinder through 12th grade. Judges will select one “Best of Show Winner” from all the entries. The Best of Show winner will have their artwork featured on DART rail stations and buses and DART website and will also receive a cash prize. 

 The first-place winner in the kindergarten through second-grade category, the third- through fifth-grade category, and the middle school category will receive a cash prize. The first-place winner in the high school category will receive a prize and will have their art featured at DART rail stations and trains. Runners-up and honorable mentions in all categories will receive prizes.

For more information about the contest, visit here or contact

Seagoville dance teacher leads by example and advocates for students

Students, colleagues and community members at Seagoville High School are proud of the accomplishments of Charque Chenard, a drill team director and dance teacher at the school. Most recently, Chenard was one of six Dallas ISD dance educators who were literally in the spotlight when they were paired up with local celebrities in a dancing challenge. 

The Dancing-with-the-Stars-like competition and showcase was part of the Dallas Education Foundation’s annual gala, “HeART of Teaching: Dancing with the Stars,” which raises funds that benefit district initiatives and students.

Charque was paired up with Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who she says stepped up to the challenge and was a joy to work with. To watch a video of Charque and some of the dance educators who participated, click on this link.

According to Charque, participating in the gala and working with Judge Jenkins allowed her to not only work with one of the top leaders in the county, but also to do one of her favorite aspects of her job: choreographing and creating. So when she got chosen along with the other educators to participate, she embraced the challenge.

Through this type of work, she is teaching her students to seize opportunities and challenges. She is leading by example. 

“I showed my students that even though I’m their teacher, I’m out here advocating for arts education and still moving and doing things as a professional dancer,” Charque said.

Chenard has been teaching at Seagoville High School for the past two years, and previously taught for six years at Seagoville Middle School. She said it was her students who made the transition easier, as her former middle school students who were now in high school, took on leadership roles, helping new students adjust to the rules and expectations of her dance classes. 

She not only teaches them different dance genres, such as modern, contemporary, and ballet, she also teaches them skills that will help them be successful in their high school and college careers. She tries to show her students the connections between the lessons that they learn in dance and the lessons that they use in life. Being professional in dance and in life is something they talk a lot about in her classroom, she said Chenard.

“I tell them to listen to these lessons for life—lessons about being responsible, committing to something, showing up on time, and so on,” Charque said. “I help them connect the dots between what my expectations for them are and how that could play out in their everyday life once they leave my classroom.” 

 Last school year, Charque took her students to visit her college and showed them her old stamping grounds at Texas Woman’s University so they could see where she trained to be a professional dancer and to be their teacher. 

“I try to really just lead by example and show them every day the effects that the arts have had on me,” she said. 

It was when she was a student at David W. Carter High School, where she was co-captain of her dance team, that she found her calling to pursue dance as a profession. But it wasn’t until she was studying dance at TWU that her dean suggested she become a dance educator, because not only would she be fulfilling her passion, but would also add to the diversity that was needed in this field. Students need to see teachers that look like them, said Charque. 

“To see a teacher of color that the students can relate to, I think it impacts them in a major way,” Charque said. 

Even after receiving feedback from community members who considered dance as a hobby and not a profession, she received support from her grandmother throughout her journey to become a professional dancer and dance educator. 

“I remember having so many conversations with her, and it was interesting to see everything come to fruition—to see everything unfold for her,” Chenard said. “I want my students to see that everything is possible.”

 Charque says that not all of her students are interested in dance or in becoming performers, but she keeps them informed about the different opportunities available in the dance field other than being a dancer, such as technical designers that work on lighting, sets, costumes, sound engineers, stage managers, and many other careers in dance and the performing arts. 

One of her favorite things about being a dance educator is the connections she makes with her students, and getting to make a difference on a personal level. Several of her former students who are in college reach out to her, and she still calls them to see how they’re doing.  

Whether her students pursue dance or any related field or not she says the work that her students put in her class pushes them mentally and physically, and these experiences help them grow and prepare for future opportunities. 

To learn more about the Dallas Education Foundation event, visit



Navigating parking at 9400

Whether team members work at the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building or visit from other district locations, parking can sometimes be a challenge. But making sure to remember the district’s culture tenets of the Core 4 by being flexible and friendly can lead to a positive experience for all. 

While some lots and levels may fill quicker than others, it’s important to follow all parking guidelines and to be patient.  

Please keep in mind the following:

  • Dallas ISD team members are prohibited from parking in visitor spaces, which allows students, families, and guests easy access to the building.
  • Four main areas for Dallas ISD employees to park include the west, east, and north garages. 
  • All garages, except the north, require an access card to enter for those based at 9400. The lower east garage is reserved.
  • Team members who have forgotten their access card may use the call button to enter general employee garages.
  • Double parking is not permitted. This includes blocking other cars in and occupying more than one parking space at a time by straddling the lines. Those who do not follow this guideline may receive additional action from the district.
  • Compact car parking spaces are designated only for small vehicles that can easily move in and out of the spot without blocking others on either side or taking up two spaces.
  • Team members are not allowed to park at Dave & Buster’s under any circumstance. Employees who are observed using that lot risk being towed.

Please remember, being courteous and considerate is part of the Core 4 culture and will help everyone have a more positive parking experience. For additional questions or information, please contact Scherry Byrd at

New year, new budget

The start of the year is a good time to review financial trends, establish goals, and make choices that will help you have some financial discipline. This financial discipline—how you spend and save—will help you achieve long-term monetary goals. Often, that means prioritizing a larger, long-term reward over an enticing, but smaller, short-term benefit. For example, enjoying an extravagant dinner is fun for a few hours, but using that money to pay down your credit card may save you a lot in interest over the long run. And if one of your long-term goals is to be debt free, making a larger credit card payment now moves you closer to achieving that goal in the future.

Conforming spending and saving behavior to financial goals may come easier for some than others. But everyone can work on honing this skill. Researchers have found that certain strategies can establish and improve the self-control needed to spend and save wisely.

Build the habit of self-discipline

Whatever your age, income, or life situation, these steps can help you lay the foundation for a disciplined approach to managing your money.

Assess your financial situation. To exercise financial discipline, you need to know where you stand currently. How in control of your finances do you feel? How prepared would you be if you were to face a financial setback or emergency? At this point, you may want to consider your future financial goals.

Develop a financial plan. Once you’ve assessed your situation, identify any areas in which your current actions don’t line up with your future goals. Then, think about what you could do to improve this alignment. Let’s say one of your goals is a secure retirement but you’re currently contributing little or nothing to your retirement account. You might draw up a budget that allocates more money for retirement savings—and less for clothes, gifts, or entertainment.

Set guidelines and rules for yourself. Setting guidelines for yourself is a prerequisite for financial discipline. You can’t follow your own rules if you don’t know what they are. Speak with a financial counselor if you need some help creating your financial plan.

Set target dates for goals. For example, you might set a goal to pay off your mortgage early. First, focus on a date instead of how many weeks, months, or years are left to go. Then, create a detailed plan outlining how much you will have to pay extra each month to pay it off by that date. Studies show that framing time this way is more conducive to long-term financial patience. 

Expand your knowledge. No matter how much or how little you know about money management, there’s always more to learn. Consider taking a class or webinar on investing or buying a home. You may leave with not only more information but newfound inspiration for avoiding impulsive choices.

Manage your emotions. Do you make impulse purchases when you’re feeling stressed or depressed? If your emotions rule your wallet, you may have an increased likelihood of spending more than you intended or making regrettable purchases. Pay attention to your emotional triggers for spending. Then, develop strategies for handling them in a less costly way.

Bolster your financial willpower

Financial discipline is like any skill: You can improve it through practice. These tips can help strengthen your self-control with money.

Keep close tabs on spending. Make a habit of recording and reviewing what you spend each day. Use a notebook or money-management app and compare what you’ve spent to what you have budgeted. Research shows that self-control is more likely to falter when you lose track of your behavior. 

Don’t overtax your self-control. Studies show that trying to make too many choices at once can deplete your willpower. When that happens, you’re prone to hasty, ill-advised decisions. To avoid this, pace your financial decision making as much as you can. Prioritize your goals and focus on the one or two most important goals. If you start feeling overwhelmed, take a break and do something else for a while, but set a time and date to go back and make those pending decisions. Give your willpower a chance to recover.

Remove the element of choice. Another way to give your willpower a break is by reducing the number of choices you need to make. Set up automatic contributions to your savings and investment accounts. 

Focus on dreams for the future

The ability to focus on your future is important for prioritizing long-term goals. Take a few minutes to visualize what your future will look like.

Imagine yourself at different points in time—two or five or 20 years from now. Then remind yourself that the choices you make today influence where you will be at those times. It’s easier to stick to the plan when you think of financial discipline not as depriving yourself today but as giving yourself the future you want. 

Source: Lifeworks

If you need additional support with managing debt and mental health, take advantage of Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by LifeWorks, which is free for employees, 100 percent confidential, and available to all employees and their dependents. 

Sessions through the EAP are available by phone, virtual, and in person. Employees can also find tips, articles, self-assessments, and topical features focusing on specific EAP resources available through the EAP smart App.

To start on your wellness journey please visit or reach out to the EAP by calling 972-925-4000 and selecting option 3 for EAP.