Staff emerge as rising leaders

Dallas ISD’s Leadership Development Program took nearly 30 district staff and turned them into the next leaders to watch.

For 10 months, participants took part in leadership lessons that were held at UT Dallas Jindal School of Management and at 9400 NCX. Lessons included:

  • DiSC Profile, Self-Awareness, and Teamwork
  • Dallas ISD Governance, Structure, and Operations
  • Culture
  • Talent
  • Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace and Boundary Spanning Leadership
  • Impact
  • Stakeholders

The participants were required to increase their understanding of high-level issues that affect Dallas ISD, including: managerial, legal, educational, and community issues. They also had to become knowledgeable in governance processes, serve on key leadership committees, and complete coursework.

Not only did participants build leadership capacity, but they were required to work cross-functionally as they increased their leadership skills.

Educators invited to free online workshop promoting success of immigrant students

A free interactive, online workshop is open to Dallas ISD educators and administrators to promote the success of immigrant and refugee students.

Teachers, administrators, librarians and volunteers can go here to register for free. The workshop—Immigrant Student Success: Strategies and Tools for K-12 and Adult Educators—will be held July 10–11 from 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

The workshop will explore how to:

  • Integrate immigration into the curriculum;
  • Build relationships with immigrant students, families and communities in perilous times;
  • Use storytelling to educate all students on immigration;
  • Empower both teachers and students;
  • Create more welcoming classrooms, and more.

District’s new Multicultural Studies and History Advisory Council will ensure variety of cultures are celebrated

Dallas ISD Racial Equity Office established the Multicultural Studies and History Advisory Council.

This group will serve as an advocacy council for creating multicultural studies, experiences and opportunities for student and adult voices to be heard, engaged and expressed in education. This council will support the Racial Equity Office in its efforts to engage various sources from literature to oral history in an effort  to educate and celebrate a variety of cultures.

“This council marks a powerful moment in the history of Dallas ISD. We are excited to engage people from many different ethnic groups and cultures to empower all children,” said Leslie Williams, Deputy Chief of Racial Equity Office

Participates in this advisory council were from different educational entities from across the city of Dallas which included non-profits, local universities, Dallas County Community Colleges, arts community, film makers, artist,  faith-based organizations and more. Dallas ISD Racial Equity Office is creating a number of specific collective impact models that will serve as collaborative opportunities to engage Dallas ISD from a variety of different entry points.

“History comes from a variety of societal and cultural viewpoints. Therefore, it is critical to understand the historical context that has shaped the lived experiences of people of color,” said Jamila Thomas, Director of Racial Equity Office. “Equally important, is the opportunity to celebrate a variety of cultures that represent the beauty of diversity. If we can exemplify how students should value their individuality while celebrating those who may look, sound and experience life different, we can create a beautiful mosaic of educational spaces.”

Dallas ISD student dreams fly high in Philadelphia

Each student at Anson Jones Elementary School has a dream, and now people across the world know it, too.

The campus participated for the second time in two years in the Dreamline Project that saw the school’s 620 students each write down their dreams on individual flags. Whether the student dreamed of being a doctor, President of the United States, or running their own business, art teacher Candice Lindsay said the students greatly benefited from thinking about their future goals.

Four staff members from Jones Elementary traveled to Philadelphia on May 5 to show off the students’ creations, as well as dream flags from Arcadia Park Elementary School.

“Some of these students had never really thought about the future before this project,” Lindsay said. “The fact that these students sat down and thought about their dreams and were then able to visualize them, that could change the world.”

“Seeing students express their aspirations through poetry and art was very powerful and reinforced the impact we as educators have on our students,” added Anson Jones Elementary Principal Alberto Herrera. “We can easily extinguish or ignite these dreams by our actions and words. It is also a testament to the teamwork exhibited by Anson Jones staff as they kindled our student’s imaginations to voice their ambitions in a relevant, heartfelt manner.”

Jeff Harlan, founder of the Dreamline Project, called Anson Jones Elementary a model to all 120,000 students across 35 countries and 42 states who have declared and shared their dream on a flag.

“The presence of Anson Jones flags and leaders in Philadelphia made our event so much more powerful and potent. Everyone was touched by it,” Harlan said. “We look forward to more collaboration with Anson Jones and to supporting a surge of dreaming and doing across Dallas in the months ahead.”

Any Dallas ISD campus that wants to participate in the Dreamline Project can contact Mrs. Candice Lindsay at or call Anson Jones Elementary School at 972-794-4700.

Special-education teacher at Hernandez is first to win award

Mia Witt didn’t know why she got summoned to the principal’s office earlier this month, but some of her students thought it was funny.

Witt, a special education inclusion teacher at Onesimo Hernandez Elementary School, is the first recipient of a quarterly $250 recognition provided by Carter Financial Management. The effort will spotlight and thank dedicated teachers by providing funds for them to spend in their classrooms. The award is coordinated by the district’s Partnership Services and Special Education departments.

Parents, community and staff were encouraged to identify nominees that demonstrate qualities of a distinguished special education teacher, setting high standards and demonstrating commitment for improving outcomes for students who receive special education services in Dallas ISD.

Witt graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and studied Elementary Education at UNT.

“Ms. Witt goes above and beyond what is expected of a teacher,” said teacher Danielle Wegman. “She seeks out challenging students and goes the extra mile to engage them in their learning and help them conquer challenges outside of school as well. She sought out the challenge of joining an ACE school because of her love for transforming the lives of disadvantaged students. During her time at Hernandez ACE she has worked well outside the prescribed hours of tutoring to even ride the bus with her students to prevent fights.”

Teacher Dora Griffin said Witt helps her students from the minute they walk into Hernandez until the minute they leave to go home.

“She knows every student on campus by name, even the gen ed students,” Griffin said. “She helps motivates and encourage every student to be and do his or her best.”

Dallas ISD needs bus drivers for 2018-2019 school year

Following the dissolution of Dallas County Schools, Dallas ISD Student Transportation Services is taking on the responsibility for student transportation for the 2018-2019 school year.

Employees who hold a commercial driver’s license (CDL), or who are willing to obtain the necessary credentials to drive a bus, are asked to complete a brief survey to express their interest in serving as a driver. The assignment requires a commercial driver’s license and participation in mandatory training in addition to normal job responsibilities. Compensation will be provided for the additional work. Please respond to the survey by close of business Monday, May 21.

Student Transportation Employee Survey

Based on survey responses, Student Transportation Services will follow up with employees who are willing to serve as drivers to provide information about credentials, hours of service, compensation and other related details.

Dallas ISD announces senior staff changes amid HCM chief’s retirement

Dallas ISD Chief of Human Capital Management Karry Chapman has announced her retirement effective June 30. Chapman began serving Dallas ISD as interim chief of HCM in February 2015 and was subsequently selected to permanently fill the position, bringing her extensive years of leadership in human resources to the district.

Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said, “Karry has been a great supporter and an important member of the leadership team.” We’re grateful for her dedication and service to the students and staff of this district and wish her well on her retirement.”

Houston ISD Chief of Staff Cynthia Wilson, who formerly served as Dallas ISD chief of staff, has agreed to return to Dallas ISD as chief of Human Capital Management.

“We are excited to welcome Dr. Wilson back and look forward to having her with us in this capacity,” Hinojosa said. “She is a dynamic leader, and I know she will do well.”

Wilson served as Dallas ISD chief of staff from 2015 to 2017 before joining Houston ISD. She will rejoin the district in her new leadership post July 1.

In addition, John Vega, executive director of the L.G. Pinkston feeder pattern, has been promoted to deputy chief of HCM effective June 1.

Effective today, Angie Gaylord has been appointed deputy chief of the Office of Transformation and Innovation. Gaylord, who was hired as executive director of Professional Development in 2016, has served as acting deputy chief of OTI since January.

“Angie has done an outstanding job in this position, and I’m confident she will continue to effectively lead the Office of Transformation and Innovation,” said Hinojosa.

New school leadership structure will support professional learning

Dallas ISD is redesigning its school leadership structure to foster and support professional learning networks.

The current structure groups campuses together by feeder patterns, which includes elementary, middle and high schools. While there will still be feeder pattern meetings in 2018-2019, the new structure aligns schools by grade levels. This means, for example, that elementary school principals will have opportunities for more meaningful interactions with fellow elementary school principals.

“Fostering professional learning networks among our campus leaders, while also matching the skill set expertise of our personnel, is a more effective way to boost student achievement,” said Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde.

Go here to see the new leadership structure.

AVID Model Showcase shows educators best practices

Young Women’s STEAM Academy hosted the Dallas ISD AVID Model Showcase on April 23 where more than 50 educators gathered to learn and see best practices about AVID hands-on.

The showcase experience included Dallas ISD Trustee Jaime Resendez, Deputy Superintendent Israel Cordero, Deputy Chief Stephanie Elizalde, and a few others who came to support AVID and share a few words of inspiration.

The showcase experience included classroom observations and a chance to speak with experienced AVID teachers, administrators, and students.

Dallas ISD is celebrating 16 years with the AVID program and is thrilled to have two AVID National demonstration schools in the district, T. J. Rusk Middle School and A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School. As the program continues to grow, it is adding more campuses and working hard to show student achievement through proven data.

Tamika Stevenson and Ebony Palmer, AVID District Coordinators, work daily with campuses to make sure the four domains of AVID are met: Instruction, Systems, Leadership, and Culture.  AVID’s mission is to close the achievement gap by preparing all students for college readiness and success in a global society.

“I have a degree in the STEM field and have always valued the importance of training young women in the areas of STEM,” said Dallas ISD Chief of School Leadership Stephanie Elizalde.  “As educational leaders it is critical  that we to teach our young women three C’s – Competence, Courage and Compassion, and it is clear today that the young women at this school are truly being led by example.”

Dallas ISD students largely mirror U.S. trends in national assessment of student progress

According to the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) scores in both fourth-grade reading, and eighth-grade math and reading, held steady from the previous year. The test, also known as the Nation’s Report Card, is administered every two years.

This is the fourth time, since 2011, that Dallas ISD has participated in the Trial Urban District Assessment, or TUDA, and is the first year the nation’s students tested with an online digital-based assessment.

Overall, Dallas’ fourth-grade math scores are still above those in comparable large cities, despite a slight decrease. The scores for eighth-grade math were not significantly different compared to 2015. Students in both fourth- and eighth-grade reading trended lower. However, the decrease in performance was not statistically significant.

“I’m disappointed in the fourth-grade math scores, but one of the reasons we believe in NAEP is that we want to know how our students compare not only in Texas, but throughout the country,” said Dallas ISD Superintendent Michael Hinojosa. “Although the state assessment data shows promising trends with positive gains, over the last three years, we also need to show that kind of progress nationally.”

Dallas is unusual in its student demographics, as it contains a high percentage of low socio-economic students, especially in its African-American and Hispanic populations when compared to the other 26 TUDA districts. For example, when comparing fourth-grade African-American and Hispanic math students who are eligible for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to other districts, Dallas’ numbers rank in the top end.

Of significant note, fourth- and eighth-grade English language learners in Dallas ISD performed higher than their peers in the nation’s public schools and large cities.

“The Dallas school district showed important results for English language learners and African-American students eligible for free and reduced priced lunch, where others across the country and in Texas did not,” said Michael Casserly, executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, based in Washington, D.C. “Otherwise, much of Dallas’ result reflect the same trends that one sees across the state of Texas. The results also suggest that Dallas, like other big city school systems across the country, will need to invest more in technology as the national assessment is administered from now on, on a digital base,” Casserly said.

The NAEP is known as The Nation’s Report Card because it is the only nationally representative assessment of what U.S. students know and can do in core subjects such as mathematics, reading, science and writing. It reports on student achievement at the national and state levels. Participating districts in the 2017 TUDA include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Austin and Fort Worth. In 2017, 298,200 fourth-graders and 286,800 eighth-graders took the assessments, which were administered between January and March.

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