Superintendent: Dallas ISD mourns with Broward County community, reviews security procedures here

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa has issued a statement about the Feb. 14 shootings at a high school in Florida.

“Amidst heavy hearts today, Dallas ISD joins in mourning with the Broward County community in the wake of Wednesday’s tragic attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The senseless loss of so many lives is a national tragedy that is especially difficult for everyone connected to schools.

“Student safety is Dallas ISD’s top priority. Campuses are trained and equipped to support students by teaching and modeling social and emotional skills. Teachers, students and staff are always encouraged to monitor the school environment and to bring to the attention of administrators and security any potentially troubling behavior.

“In the wake of this horrible event, Dallas ISD is reviewing all safety and security procedures to ensure students, staff and community remain safe. Additionally, counselors stand ready to assist any students experiencing emotional distress.”

Rusk Middle School educator a finalist for $1 million teaching prize

Thomas J. Rusk Middle School Spanish teacher Akash Patel began his education career in small rural communities in Oklahoma where people had never seen or met “a brown Indian guy who spoke five languages and had traveled to over 30 countries.”

In Oklahoma and Dallas ISD, Patel uses his travel experiences to design all of his lessons. And Patel’s dedication to teaching is being nationally recognized: he is a top 50 finalists for the Global Teacher Prize. This annual $1 million teaching prize recognizes a classroom teacher who exemplifies global citizenship teaching and learning.

“I am humbled and honored to be a finalist for this prestigious recognition,” Patel said. “This prize will bring great attention to our children, our school, our district, our city and our country.”

The Varkey Foundation awards the annual $1 million prize to underline the importance of educators. The top 10 finalists will be announced in February, and those finalists will fly to Dubai in March to the Global Teacher Prize Awards Ceremony.

Rusk is in its first year as an ACE (Accelerating Campus Excellence) school, a district effort that staffs academically struggling schools with experienced, proven educators and also requires an added commitment from students and parents to strive for excellence.

National group names TAG teacher a Top 10 Educator of the Year

The National Society of High School Scholars has named Thelvie Cullins, Jr., an Advanced Placement Calculus teacher at the School for the Talented and Gifted, as a Top Ten 2017 Claes Nobel Educator of the Year.

This is the second year in a row that Cullins has received this honor.

According to the National Society of High School Scholars, Cullins aids students in both grasping difficult mathematical concepts and developing into hard-working, passionate learners.

“Mr. Cullins’ personal classroom results are astounding, but what is most impressive is the impact he’s had on those around him and our school,” TAG Principal Ben Mackey said.

The Educator of the Year Award recognizes ten exemplary educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to preparing students for success. These 10 educators, who are all members of the Claes Nobel Educators of Distinction program, applied for the Educator of the Year Award to spotlight their accomplishments.  Since the inception of the Educators of Distinction program in 2004, NSHSS has recognized more than 40,000 educators worldwide.

“I am honored to receive this recognition. It lets me know that everything I do sincerely for students, not only can I do it and have the students benefit, but it also seems to be recognized in some kind of way,” Cullins said. “That gives students more confidence in me, and it gives me more confidence in what I’m doing and in my ultimate goal: helping other people.”

Principal of the Year Finalists share why they love their work

Dallas ISD has some incredible campus leaders; just look at the candidates for the 2017 Dallas ISD Principal of the Year as proof!

Top Dallas ISD campus leaders vying for 2017 Principal of the Year honors

Watch the above video to hear from the principals share what they enjoy most about their work.

Long-ago campus colleagues reunite as 2017 Principals of the Year

See the approved Dallas ISD calendar for 2018–2019 school year

The 2018–2019 school year will start for students on Aug. 20, include a full week off for Thanksgiving, and end for students on May 29.

Trustees approved the 2018–2019 Dallas ISD calendar during their scheduled meeting on Dec. 14. The calendar incorporates feedback received from employees, parents, students and community members.

Important dates for the Dallas ISD calendar include:

  • 171 student instructional days starting Aug. 20
  • Teachers have 187 contract days, three Professional Development District Mandated Waiver days, seven professional development days, five teacher work days, and will receive one day credit for the two evenings of parent conferences
  • Two fair days for all students: Elementary Fair Day is Friday, Oct. 12, and Secondary Fair Day is Friday, Oct. 19. Elementary Fair Day is a professional development day for secondary teachers, and Secondary Fair Day is a professional development day for elementary teachers, meaning students have off both days
  • One week off for Thanksgiving Break, Nov. 19–23
  • For Winter Break students are out Dec. 20–Jan. 8 and staff are out Dec. 21–Jan. 4
  • Spring break, March 11–15
  • Staff/student holidays on Sept. 3, Jan. 21, Feb. 18 and May 27
  • Inclement weather makeup days on April 19 and 22

Trustees on Dec. 14 also approved the 2019–2020 school year calendar.

Long-ago campus colleagues reunite as 2017 Principals of the Year

A couple of decades ago, when they were teachers, Danielle Petters encouraged and mentored Laura Garza at the campus where they worked. On Wednesday, Dec. 13, the two shared time in the spotlight as Dallas ISD’s 2017 Principals of the Year.

Garza, principal at Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School, said being a finalist with Petters means a lot to her. “Twenty years ago, she took me under her wing,” Garza said. “She’s the reason I’m still in education.”

She also credited her mother, who was in attendance at the luncheon. “She is the reason I can do all this,” Garza said. “She’s helping me raise my children.”

Petters said that being named a finalist for Principal of the Year was initially a shock. “For two full days, I was in a fog,” she said. “I decided the emotion I felt the most was humbleness.”

Petters and her six siblings graduated from Dallas ISD, as did her two children. Further, she earned her alternative certification to begin teaching and her administrative certification to become a principal through the district. She has been a Dallas ISD principal for 16 years.

“It’s been my life,” she said. “There are so many people in this room that I have learned from and learned with.

“I’m very grateful for this.”

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said believing in the district enough to send your own kids to Dallas ISD takes commitment. Likewise, his children attended and graduated from district schools.

“We put our kids in the system,” he said. “In fact, Laura put her own kids in her school that was about to be shut down by the state.”

Of Petters, he said she voluntarily applied to lead H. Grady Spruce High School, which has had a revolving door of principals before her tenure amid many challenges. “When you step up like that, it makes it that more meaningful, to stand up in a tough situation.”

Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde said being a principal has become an increasingly difficult position.

“The principalship is not a job, it’s a calling,” Elizalde said. “And that calling requires an additional three Cs. You must be confident, even when you stand alone; you must be compassionate, to the needs of all; and you must have courage, every single day to make really tough decisions.”

See the other finalists for Elementary and Secondary Principal of the Year here.

Central Staff Leadership Development Program participants donate to Student Intake Center

Participants in the 2017-2018 Central Staff Leadership Development Program donated books they had collected to the Margaret and Gilbert Herrera Student Intake Center.

Graciela, an 11-year-old Dallas ISD student from Bolivia who is also a champion in BMX bike racing, happened to be on hand and took one of the books home.

Dallas ISD student Graciela took one of the donated books home.

The Central Staff Leadership Development Program is for early to mid-management (coordinator, supervisor, manager, or director) employees who are ready to take their leadership ability to the next level. The program, a 10-month experience held in conjunction with The University of Texas at Dallas Jindal School of Management, is designed to help central staff leaders grow in meaningful ways. To learn more about the program, click here.

Central staff professional development session on teacher recruitment

Here is the opportunity for central staff to learn about how Dallas ISD places highly qualified teachers in front of students. You will hear about the student teaching process and the recruitment of teachers for high need subject areas. Come find out more about recruitment of new and veteran teachers, international recruiting, and the VISA process.

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017

Noon to 1 p.m.

Dallas Education Center, Training Room 200

9400 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75231

Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce recognizes its Teachers of the Year

The Greater East Dallas Chamber of Commerce recently honored its Teachers of the Year, including two from Dallas ISD: Loretta Smith from W.H. Gaston Middle School and Chris Evetts from Woodrow Wilson High School.

The Teachers of the Year were celebrated at a luncheon on Nov. 14. Here’s a little more information on these outstanding educators.

Chris Evetts

Chris Evetts

Chris Evetts receiving his Teacher of the Year Award.

Seven Woodrow students nominated Chris Evetts for teacher of the year. As director of the Woodrow Wilson High School band, he has built the band program from about 10 students to more than 100 students.

The Woodrow band plays everything from football games and homecoming parades to nursing homes and the Rec Center to entertain Hurricane Harvey evacuees. Evetts also leads an annual fundraiser at the Granada Theatre to raise money for the band.

Loretta Smith

Trustee Dan Micciche and Loretta Smith

Trustee Dan Micciche and Loretta Smith

Loretta Smith takes on a variety of tasks at W.H. Gaston Middle School. She participates in home visits with her students to address their needs; is a coach for Destination Imagination, UIL Academics and Pentathlon; leads professional development for the whole staff and serves as the campus TEI expert; and helped in implementing a restorative practices program at the school.

From her nomination: “Mrs. Smith can relate in ways many others can’t to our students, specifically the socioeconomically disadvantaged students, many of whom come from single parent or grandparent raised homes. She grew up with absent parents who ultimately gave up their legal rights as parents when she was three years old. Mrs. Smith is able to reach students who struggle the most to understand.”

From soldier to teacher: Pershing instructor goes extra mile for students

Angel Sitiriche was a private lawyer and Army reservist in Puerto Rico when he was called to active duty after 9/11.

Angel Sitiriche

He was in charge of the multi-national division north operational for the Iraqi Police and Military Police Officers, overseeing 2,000 soldiers. During his service he received many commendations, including the Bronze Star, Humanitarian Service Award, and Army Achievement Medal.

Upon returning from Iraq, he decided to invest in the community and become a public school teacher. And for the past 12 years, Sitiriche has taught at John J. Pershing Elementary School. His outstanding contributions to education were recognized last month as he was named a Dallas ISD Campus Teacher of the Year.

“As a valued member of the Pershing family, Angel invests selflessly in the lives of the children and families that he serves. He contributes in so many ways,” Pershing Elementary Assistant Principal Mary Ramos said. “His service to his country has been impeccable and adds a varied experience that he shares with his students. His students see him as a role model and someone they admire.”

In addition teaching fifth-grade language arts and social studies, Sitiriche supports the campus in these ways:

  • Coaches soccer for the fifth-grade students on the weekend, donating his own money and time
  • Serving as a STEM First Lego League coach
  • Textbook coordinator
  • Grade level Chair

“We are proud to have Angel on our campus and to name him our Campus Teacher of the Year,” Ramos said. “He is a role model and inspiration to everyone here.”

Page 1 of 612345...Last »