Recognizing Dallas ISD volunteers

In honor of National Volunteer Month, we recognize the efforts of the thousands of volunteers who give of their time throughout Dallas ISD. From parents to community members, their dedication and efforts to create an environment that leads to student success is inspirational. During National Public School Volunteer Week take the opportunity to commemorate these volunteers who go above and beyond to support students and team members. 

Watch a video message from Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde in english and spanish, and a video from Jon Dahlander, chief of Partnerships and Intergovernmental Relations.

Below are a few stories shared by Dallas ISD team members about their experience working with volunteers. 

Johanna Rodriguez, a parent instructor at Seagoville North Elementary, has had the opportunity to work with Claudia Elizabeth Garces, a devoted volunteer who goes above and beyond for students, “Front [office team members are] very happy with her work, we ask for something to be done and she makes it perfect, even better then what we ask for. She is an amazing volunteer.” 

“Ryan Gamino with Excell Electric just doesn’t know how to say ‘no.’ This year alone, he has given a donation of over $6,000 worth of tools and equipment to Career Institute East for student use in our trade labs,” said Becky Barker, a coordinator at Career Institute East. “He has judged entrepreneurial events on our campus, and when we needed additional judges, he pulled them off various sites so our students would have enough judges for the event. On several occasions when we needed a forklift and a trailer to pick up items, they volunteered to make it happen for us. If all of this wasn’t enough, his company hires more student interns than all of our other industry partners put together. This year, he will hire over a dozen of our seniors to go to work for him, and that does not include our junior interns. We can always count on Ryan and his Excell team, and we are very grateful.” 

Team members at Hillcrest High School expressed their gratitude working with Andrea Berman, who has volunteered in four schools in over 16 years, including Hillcrest High School. Berman has volunteered in various positions from chaperone, PTA president, fundraiser, SMDM member, she has helped feed teams at tournaments and teachers who stay late working, organize events, and many more. At Hillcrest High School, she made the renovations of the teachers lounge possible, and when there was a need for a food pantry, she stepped in to ensure there was food in it for students. Through the pandemic, she found ways to make sure the students felt connected. “The truth of the matter is that she does all these extra activities because she believes all students can be successful and  that Hillcrest schools are the best option for them!” said Joseph Sotelo, former principal of Hillcrest High School and Benjamin Franklin Middle School.

Derrick Battie, community liaison for South Oak Cliff High School, has been lucky to work with Mary Miller, a volunteer who will do everything for her grandchildren and for South Oak Cliff High School as a whole, especially the South Oak Cliff  Band Department. “Mrs. Miller is physically here at the campus every day due to band practices and general support in our attendance office and preparing uniforms, food, cold drinks for students who will be attending practices. Mrs. Miller is also an active member of our PTA and Coffee with the Principal participant. Mary Miller is more than just a VOLY Volunteer, she models leadership, and grace, professionalism and motherly love all wrapped up into one. She supports with weekend volunteer events like our Spring Health Fair, weekend band field trips, most of the time using her own money to purchase needed items for Band and for our SOC Community Pantry, these items serve our families and students most in need and most at risk, she also volunteers for teacher and staff appreciation events often.” 

“Rosa Castillo is our BEST parent volunteer who always goes above and beyond to serve the needs of our [team members], students and families. She always has a smile on her face and is quick to help at a moment’s notice. Not to mention, she is very creative and always has new ideas to offer to help improve our school atmosphere.” said Catherine Gonzalez, counselor at Julius Dorsey Leadership Academy. Castillo was recently nominated as Julius Dorsey Leadership parent for Dallas ISD State of the District. Besides being an exceptional role model and helping with the North Texas Food Bank, she has formed a gardening club with parents and students. “This school year there was a turnover in our parent organization and they went from being a PTO to a PO, which meant they were no longer able to fundraise. This didn’t stop Ms. Castillo, it only made her work harder to seek donations from other parents and the community to help meet school needs. Ms. Castillo used this as a way to introduce herself to new mothers on our campus (especially immigrant mothers) to make them feel welcome and encourage them to volunteer at our school. She was able to form a new Parent Organization with new mothers who, through donations, have been able to provide student and [team member] incentives for holidays, as well as for special events like the total solar eclipse!”

Spotlight on athletic trainer Bianca Broughton

A torn ACL injury her junior year in high school was what inspired Bianca Broughton to become an athletic trainer. It was her high school athletic trainer that helped her with rehabilitation and therapy and that’s what sparked her interest. Now, Broughton, an athletic trainer at Moisés E. Molina High School, is paying it forward with her students. 

“One of my favorite things is having the opportunity to mentor the kids that we have on campus– to show them that they can go into the world and do bigger and better things,” Broughton said. 

In fact, Broughton has inspired some of her past students to become athletic trainers, as well. They have come back to thank her and share their experiences. Broughton has been in this field for 12 years, eight of which have been at Dallas ISD. She is a graduate of Baylor University and The University of North Texas.

Athletic trainers play an important role in the district, helping students get back from being injured to be able to return to not only their sport, but their daily activities–such as just playing with friends at home or helping dad or mom with the yard work, said Broughton. 

Rehabilitating student-athletes could be anything from ankle sprains to broken bones–things that can happen when playing a sport, according to Broughton.

“We work with our team to get them better—to get back to being able to do what they were doing before,” Broughton said. A smaller aspect of that is educating the athletes and the coaches about injuries, nutrition, injury prevention, and anything that has to do with the body and how you can keep it well, she said.

Last month, the accomplishments and contributions by athletic trainers throughout the  country were recognized during National Athletic Training Month. This year’s theme was “From Head to Toe,” which highlights the whole-body, whole-person care that athletic trainers like Broughton provide their patients—in this case, students. 

“Bianca goes above and beyond and is always a consummate professional who takes care of her student-athletes,” said Corey Eaton, assistant director of the Athletic Department, who oversees sports medicine. “She is reaching our students with student engagement and creating positive experiences for them.”

According to Eaton, the district has 41 athletic trainers, and they all play a crucial role in the lives of student-athletes. He described them as the front-runners of the sports medicine field and most of the time are the main medical providers for the district’s student-athletes

Parents who have children that attend Molina often remember Broughton because she helped an older brother or sister. It’s about building  those relationships and trust with the community, Broughton said.

Not only is Broughton a shining star in the district, she also has a leadership role in her advocacy as an athletic trainer, having recently been elected as president for the North Texas Athletic Training Association. While this used to be a predominantly male dominated field, Broughton said that she sees more and more women athletic trainers in secondary schools. However, she does recognize that there is still room for improvement in college and professional sports as far as representation of women athletic trainers. 

“If your dream is to be an athletic trainer for an NFL team, do it anyway because there are a lot of different opportunities for females and a lot of the pro sports and college sports are leaning towards hiring more females,” Broughton said. “So I would tell a young athletic trainer, if that’s what you want to do, just shoot forward and go and do it.”

Summer is almost here

Starting in June, the district will be closed on Fridays, and central team members begin to work the summer schedule four-day week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Employees paid monthly will work the four-day workweek from June 3 through July 26 and resume their regular work hours on July 29.

Employees paid biweekly will work a four-day workweek from June 7 through July 25. Biweekly employees will NOT work on June 7 if they participate in the four-day workweek. Biweekly employees who participate in the four-day workweek will resume their regular hours on July 26.

Employees are responsible for consulting with their supervisor to determine the start, end, and lunch times of their daily work schedule during the summer. Employees approved to take a working lunch will only be required to stay at the worksite or be available remotely for 10 hours. Employees will be compensated for the “working lunch” time, and it will be considered part of the regular work hours.

Supervisors may allow employees to work a schedule other than the four-day workweek so long as the change does not negatively affect the functions of the department. In addition, some departments may choose to return to the regular work schedule sooner than the established date. Decisions regarding the work schedule are at the discretion of the department supervisor. In addition, departmental leadership may modify the employees’ work schedule to meet campus, departmental, or district needs at any time. Any event such as New Teacher Academy or a back-to-school program may require a change to the work schedule to provide support. Campus principals will make the determination of implementing a four-day workweek based on the needs of their campus and executive director approval.

Juneteenth and summer break

The district will be closed on June 19 for the Juneteenth holiday. For 260-day biweekly employees, pay for the holiday will be 10 hours of paid time rather than the normal eight hours.

The district will be closed for summer break from July 1-5. Employees will not be permitted to work for pay while the district is closed unless the employee has received prior written approval from the department chief. All central team members will return to work on July 8.


Dressing for summer

Starting on May 28 and through Aug. 30, the district will adopt its summer dress code so employees can be comfortable as they perform their normal work duties while still portraying a professional image to students, parents, and community members.

Standards for daily attire is still at the discretion of the supervisor. The dress code does not allow for inappropriate apparel. [See DH(LOCAL) and DH (REGULATION)]

  • Casual includes clothing that is comfortable and neatly put together while communicating professionalism.
  • Casual may differ based on the various business needs of the department. Please consult with your department supervisor to determine appropriate attire for your job.
  • Certain events on the district’s calendar may require employees in a specific department or location to wear business attire instead of the casual look.
  • Take your workday schedule into account when considering your attire for the day. If you have a meeting scheduled with the public or vendors, you may need to wear business attire.
  • Supervisors 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.
  • Employees required to wear district-issued uniforms are expected to wear the assigned uniform.


Acceptable Attire

  • Clothing should be clean, pressed and wrinkle-free, without holes or frayed areas
  • All attire should fit appropriately (not excessively tight or loose)
  • Footwear—Loafers, boots, flats, sandals, and leather deck shoes are acceptable.
  • Slacks—Nice pants or cotton slacks
  • Shirts—Blouses, casual shirts, and golf shirts are acceptable
  • Dresses or skirts—Casual dresses and skirts appropriate for an office environment are acceptable


Unacceptable Attire

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

Free arts programming with a library card

One of the benefits of having a Dallas Public Library card is having access to entertainment venues, live concerts, museums, theater, and more for free. Some of those places include:  Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum, Perot Museum of Science and Nature, the Majestic Theatre, House of Blues, Avant Chamber Ballet, Beckles Dance Company, Dallas Theater Center, and many more.


The Dallas Public Library website offers instructions on how to reserve your tickets to events and/or venues:


  1. Log in to the Culture Pass system using your Dallas Public Library card and PIN. (Click here if you don’t have a library card or PIN.)
  2. Browse the available attractions and offers. 
  3. Make a reservation.
  4. Shortly before your visit, print out your pass.
  5. Take your pass to the attraction and enjoy the experience!
  6. Be sure to take the follow up survey that you’ll receive in your email.

For more information about Culture Pass, visit You can also watch this short tutorial to help you access your pass.

Get your Core 4 trainings in

Refresh your Core 4 knowledge before the school year is over! Dallas ISD departments and schools looking to expand their knowledge of the Core 4 culture tenets—focused, fast, flexible, and friendly—still have the opportunity to request a Core 4 training.

There are a variety of Core 4 trainings offered. They are:


  • a one-hour overview of Core 4
  • a deep-dive into Core 4 (two-hour workshop)
  • a series of four 30-minute Core 4 training sessions
  • a mini Core 4 overview  (30-minute session)


In preparation for the training, the facilitator will coordinate a meeting with the requester to ensure the training fits the department’s or school’s needs and expectations. Trainings are offered in-person, virtually, or a hybrid. 


Shout out to Courtney Cummings of the Specials Populations team who recently hosted a Core 4 training in the Linus D. Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building. Cummings worked collaboratively with Internal Communications team members to ensure a successful outcome for the training.

To request training for your department or campus, fill out this form. For more resources and more detailed information about Core 4, visit the main website at

Explore interactive learning at the annual Digital Palooza

This year’s Digital Palooza, hosted by the Early Learning Department, will offer teachers their own station, “Explore Education,” for a chance to meet with representatives from Apple Professional Learning, Seesaw, and BrainPOP Jr. so they can learn how to better incorporate digital tools in their lessons. 

On Saturday, April 27, students from pre-K through second grade, their parents, and teachers are invited to the fourth annual Digital Palooza, where they will have the opportunity to interact with technology like iPads by going through various creative learning stations. The event will take place from noon to 3 p.m. at Emmett J. Conrad High School. Attendance is free.

During her 15-year career, Pauline Hayden, a kindergarten teacher at Dan D. Rogers Elementary School, has learned to embrace technology and changes in instruction.

“When I started, I only used paper and pencil,” she said. “I never thought I could include iMovie or GarageBand to engage students. After I walk them through the activity, they can work independently. They have so much fun, they forget they are working and learning.”

Cristal Jackson, director of instructional strategy in Early Learning, said Digital Palooza is an opportunity for educators and students to enhance the learning process with advancing technology.

“Many of the apps students engage with help tailor experiences based on their needs and provide a focus on areas needed for growth,” she said. “Digital learning also helps build personal skills such as critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.”

Learning zones will be led by members of the Vanguard cohort, which consists of teachers and instructional specialists who receive personalized coaching and support from Apple Professional Learning.

“The use of digital learning offers numerous benefits that help improve students’ academic growth. It helps make learning accessible and provides personalized learning,” said Sheena Kapadia, an Early Learning coordinator who designs interactive curriculum-aligned activities for students.

Each learning zone at Digital Palooza features iPad activities tailored to its theme. For instance, students can be virtually transported to “Explore in the Jungle” and observe the unique characteristics of wildlife using the Keynote app. An iPad is not needed to attend, iPads will be provided.

To request a free ticket, fill out this form

Safe file sharing and storage

In today’s digital era, protecting your files is essential; however, cyberspace comes with certain risks. No need to worry, as we have gathered expert advice to help you safely navigate the world of file sharing and storage. Whether it’s avoiding suspicious emails or becoming a pro at file permissions, we have all the information you need. Thanks to cloud storage platforms such as OneDrive and Google Drive, Dallas ISD team members can easily collaborate and ensure the security of their data. Before you click that send button or save to your device, make sure you’re familiar with these crucial practices.

  • Be wary of unsolicited emails from unfamiliar users and email addresses that contain potentially malicious attachments and URLs.
  • Review file permissions (read-only or editor) before sharing with other users. Only grant the minimum required permissions necessary.
  • District employees have access to OneDrive and Google Drive for cloud storage. Share files with Dallas ISD colleagues using links from these cloud storage locations instead of adding them as local attachments.
  • Be thoughtful about where you store sensitive information and who has access to those files.

Keep an eye out for post-traumatic stress disorder

Millions of people are impacted with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, and the understanding and support of those who surround its sufferers can make all the difference. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered by exposure to a traumatic event. More than 7 million adults have PTSD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, but people of any age can develop it, including children. PTSD is a form of stress that is highlighted during April—Stress Awareness Month.

Some people begin to show signs of PTSD after surviving combat, sexual assault, or another event that for them may be traumatic. Symptoms may include having flashbacks, being easily startled, having sleep problems, mood swings, and avoiding reminders of the incident. Many types of treatment can help with PTSD, and family and friends can play an important role in the healing process.

Showing empathy, fostering a supportive workplace, and being the light of hope someone needs can make a difference. Creating a world of healing, staying informed and connected, and extending a helping hand can help those who suffer PTSD cope with everyday challenges. Keep in mind each journey with PTSD is unique. 

Understanding PTSD 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that occurs after an event that is perceived to be traumatic. The event may involve physical harm or the threat of physical harm. People may develop PTSD after having faced a dangerous situation or after someone they love did. Or they may show signs of the condition after witnessing extreme harm suffered by friends, relatives, co-workers, or strangers. 

PTSD can result from exposure to a crime or stem from exposure to a natural disaster, such as a flood or hurricane. Two years after Hurricane Katrina, more than one in five New Orleans residents affected by the storm had PTSD, according to the National Institutes of Health.

It’s normal to have strong emotional reactions to terrifying events, and almost everyone that has experienced a trauma will experience some symptoms immediately afterward. For most, those symptoms subside within approximately 30 days. But people with PTSD continue to have symptoms when they are no longer in danger. To be officially diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms remain more than 30 days after the event.

Signs of PTSD may include the following: 

  • Flashbacks, frightening thoughts, or nightmares. These may contribute to a heightened state of anxiety. These are the primary symptoms characterizing PTSD.
  • Trouble sleeping or eating. You may notice someone experiencing excessive fatigue or lower energy levels.
  • Difficulty concentrating. A person may make more mistakes than usual or show a decline in performance.
  • Increased absenteeism or a general dread of going to work.
  • Frequent irritability. Tense or angry outbursts may occur at work or elsewhere. People may also become startled more easily by sudden noises or movements. These stimulants are often referred to as “triggers,” as they can be known to trigger PTSD symptoms.
  • Depression. Neglect of personal appearance or hygiene, becoming withdrawn or apathetic, or losing interest in normally enjoyable activities are all signs of depression.

Someone who has PTSD may not show these signs every day. Symptoms may appear to go away for weeks or months but then flare up during highly stressful times or when the person is faced with triggering reminders of what happened. Combat veterans with PTSD may have intense reactions to loud noises, such as that of a car backfiring. Survivors of devastating hurricanes or floods may find it hard to deal with ordinary thunderstorms. Victims of serious crimes may be extremely upset by media reports about people who have had similar experiences. 

Signs of PTSD usually appear within a few months of a traumatic experience, but signs sometimes don’t emerge until years later. Some people recover from PTSD in less than six months. For others, PTSD is a chronic condition that requires careful management for years. A variety of treatments can help with PTSD, including medication and talk therapy. 

PTSD is a complex condition that may last for just a short time or for years. With the right treatment, most people do recover. If you feel like you or someone you know may have PTSD, take advantage of resources that may be helpful like the Employee Assistance Program. 

Contracts are coming

Human Capital Management is preparing to disseminate contracts for the 2024-2025 school year. Electronic contracts will be available for signature for all contract-eligible employees via Oracle Employee Self-Service by April 23. All contract-eligible employees will receive an email from containing instructions on completing the acceptance process once contracts are available.

Team members should note that an assignment change into a non-contract eligible position will require the relinquishment of contractual rights.

According to the Texas Education Code, contract-eligible educators are provided a penalty-free resignation deadline 45 days before the first day of instruction of the coming school year. The resignation deadline for this year is June 28, 2024.

Additional information, frequently asked questions, and instructions may be found on the contract home page If you have any questions, contact Human Capital Management at

Get ready to celebrate School Lunch Heroes

Celebrate School Lunch Hero Day on May 2 and submit your vote to nominate your favorite school cafeteria team member for districtwide recognition. With efforts to provide nutritious meals for 30 million students nationwide and its commitment to sustainability through initiatives like “National Plastic Free School Lunch Day” on April 22, Dallas ISD is making a positive impact. 


By reducing plastic waste in cafeterias, Dallas ISD is committed to promoting a healthier and more sustainable future while providing free meals to all students, regardless of income, said Debi Rowlry, executive director of Food and Child Nutrition Services. . 


“School nutrition employees must balance many roles and follow numerous federal, state, and local regulations to ensure safe and healthy meals are available in schools,” Rowley said. “School Lunch Hero Day provides the opportunity for the community to thank these hard working heroes for their dedication to fueling our students for success.

For more information and to vote for your school lunch hero, visit