Students need you!

Are you a central administration employee who wants to help more African-American students and English learners join the district’s highly regarded magnet programs? Become a Magnet Mentor.

The Racial Equity Office in partnership with the Office of Transformation and Innovation is seeking mentors among central staff to assist students and families during the magnet school application period.  Each mentor will be assigned several mentees from various campuses throughout the district.

The Magnet Mentor Program is designed to increase the number of African-American students and English learners who apply to magnet schools. To be eligible to serve as a Magnet Mentor, current staff members must serve in a professional role at a campus or be a central coordinator, supervisor, or manager. Those who are selected to be mentors will be notified via email and invited to a virtual orientation to learn about program requirements and stipend eligibility. All selected mentors will be eligible for a $500 stipend in June if all program expectations are met.

The mentor’s responsibilities will include informing students of their magnet program eligibility, assisting them in gathering documents, completing and submitting magnet application, and preparing students for any additional campus assessments or requirements during the admission’s process.

If you are a central staff member and are interested in serving as a mentor, please fill out the application.



Staff can dialogue with the superintendent

After being postponed this fall due to the challenges faced by the community because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dialogue with the Superintendent sessions have been rescheduled to the spring. This modified schedule allows all staff, faculty, parents and community members to hear from Superintendent Michael Hinojosa in the 2021-2022 school year.

The dialogues are designed to provide staff with an overview of the district’s programs and initiatives, a look at what’s ahead and an opportunity to ask questions. All Dialogue with the Superintendent sessions will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. and will be followed by Community Conversations from 6:30-7:30 p.m., during which parents and the community will have a chance to hear from the superintendent and ask questions.

Date Location Schools invited
Jan. 18 David W. Carter High School David W. Carter and Wilmer-Hutchins high schools feeder schools, J.P. Starks Math, Science and Technology Vanguard, Dr. Frederick D. Haynes Global Preparatory Academy at Paul Quinn College


Feb. 8 Seagoville High School Seagoville High School and feeder school
Feb. 15 South Oak Cliff High School South Oak Cliff and Justin F. Kimball feeder pattern schools and New Tech High School at B.F. Darrell, Barack Obama Male leadership Academy, Mark Twain School for the Talented and Gifted and Harry Stone Montessori
March 1 L.G. Pinkston High School L.G. Pinkston and North Dallas high school feeder pattern schools and Dallas Environmental Science Academy, Jesus Moroles Expressive Arts Academy, West Dallas STEM School, Ignite Middle School,

Henry W. Longfellow Career Exploratory Academy, Montessori Academy at Onesimo Hernandez, Personalized Learning Preparatory at Sam Houston, K.B. Polk Center for Academically Talented and Gifted, Solar Preparatory School for Boys, Solar Preparatory School for Girls and Dallas Hybrid Preparatory at Stephen J. Hay

March 22 W.T. White High School W.T. White and Thomas Jefferson high school feeder pattern schools and Prestonwood Montessori at E.D. Walker
March 23 Woodrow Wilson High School Woodrow Wilson and Bryan Adams high school feeder pattern schools and IDEA High School and Eduardo Mata Montessori
April 5 Hillcrest High School Hillcrest and Emmett J. Conrad high school feeder pattern schools and George Bannerman Dealey Montessori Academy, Sudie L. Williams Talented and Gifted Academy
April 6 Harold Wendell Lang Middle School Skyline High School feeder pattern schools
April 19 Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs W.W. Samuell and H. Grady Spruce high school feeder pattern schools and Talented and Gifted Academy at Pleasant Grove
May 4 Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts Booker T. Washington HPVA, Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center schools, CityLab High School and Downtown Montessori School
May 11 Sunset High School W.H. Adamson, Moisés E. Molina and Sunset high school feeder pattern schools and W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy
May 18 Franklin D. Roosevelt High School Franklin D. Roosevelt, James Madison and Lincoln high school feeder schools and John Lewis Social Justice Academy at O.W Holmes, CityLab High School, Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Academy, and Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women Leadership School



Get an ESSER update and give feedback

Dallas ISD received more than $784 million in federal funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to mitigate learning loss and to address other urgent issues related to the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on input from diverse stakeholders—parents, students, staff, community members, and community organizations—Dallas ISD developed three strategies that currently encompass more than 70 activities: Healthy Students, Healthy Schools, Healthy Community; Equitable Access to Learning and Enrichment; and Learning Recovery and Acceleration.

Now Dallas ISD is going back to stakeholders to get meaningful feedback on how the funds have been invested to date and the progress of the activities in.

If you want to learn more about how ESSER funds have been invested to date and provide meaningful feedback about these and future investments, you can join one of the district’s ESSER virtual town hall meetings at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 8, and at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 14. Use the links below to register.

Wednesday, Dec. 8, 6 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 6:30 p.m.

For more information about ESSER, visit

December Board Update

During its regular monthly briefing, which takes place earlier this month because of the winter break, the Board of Trustees will consider several items and reports from district departments.

The Superintendent’s Report includes:

  • Racial Equity—Reading Interventionist
  • Dallas Start Strong
  • Family Advocacy and Engagement Update

Topics for discussion include:

Board Policy EIA (Local) Academic Achievement Grading /Progress Reports To Parents (

Board Policy EIC (Local) Academic Achievement Class Ranking

Consider and Take Possible Action to Authorize, Negotiate, and Enter into an Agreement with Texas Education Agency Vetted Vendor for Collaboration in Building School Leadership Capacity Aligned with Essential Actions within the Effective Schools Framework (Not to Exceed $350,000 Through June 2023/ General Operating/Special Revenue Funds)

Consider and Take Possible Action to Approve Participation in the Texas Visiting Teacher Program 2022-2023 Agreement of Collaboration Between Texas Education Agency, the Ministry of Education of Spain, and the Dallas Independent School District (Not to Exceed $20,000 Special Revenue Fund-211)

Board briefings are streamed live starting at 11:30 a.m. To see the agenda, visit

Dallas ISD family lives their passion for giving back

Michael Iwasko has always admired the passion his wife Alicia pours into her work with Dallas ISD families, first as a teacher and now as principal at Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School. That is why when their daughter turned 2, he decided to quit his corporate job and find a way to also make a difference.

“I wanted my daughter [Nadezhda] to look at me with the same pride as when she looks at the work my wife does to make a difference in her school and our community,” Michael said.

These past few weeks, the family, which now also includes 1-year-old Leon, has been spending weekends at the Dallas Arboretum, Klyde Warren Park and other locations sharing Elevate Coffee and the company’s “Extract Hope” commitment to share a quarter of its profits to help children in Guatemala and in Dallas. The family started Elevate Coffee, which partners with coffee farmers in Guatemala—where Michael’s family originates—to create small batch coffees that sometimes bear the name of the farm in which the coffee was harvested. He also partnered with two nonprofits that work in Guatemala to provide clean water and nutritional supplements to children in the poorest regions.

“Fifty percent of children in Guatemala suffer from chronic malnutrition, and one in 20 dies before the age of 4 because of the bacteria in the water supply,” he said. “This could have been my daughter living in this situation.”

Since 2019, between sales and direct donations, the Iwaskos have provided 431,600 gallons of clean water for communities in Guatemala.

“The coffee company gives us that opportunity to give back here and in Guatemala,” Alicia said.

When Michael discussed the idea of quitting his job and running the coffee company full-time, Alicia was fully on board.

“He supported me as I worked to become an assistant principal and then a principal,” Alicia Iwasko said. “I knew I would support him in his dream to give back to the community.”

The Iwasko’s contributions through Elevate Coffee are not limited to Guatemala. They also contribute to local causes, to Dallas ISD by donating free coffee to schools for teacher recognitions, and to Blanton Elementary School, where Nadezhda now attends prekindergarten.

Alicia, who was born in Mexico and attended seventh grade in Houston, knows first-hand how difficult it often is for families to make ends meet, so she and her husband sometimes hold fundraisers through Elevate Coffee to provide extras for families. For example, this Thanksgiving, the company had a flash sale to raise funds to buy turkeys for the school’s famous Turkey Run. Organized by Coach Freddie Harris, the run combines fitness and helping families—95.5 percent of whom are considered low-income—by providing a turkey to students who win the run by grade level the Friday before the break. The more turkeys that are donated, the more turkeys that go home, Michael said.

“They are so proud to be able to carry their turkey home’” Alicia said. “One year, we had 90 turkeys donated. I know how they feel being able to contribute to the special meal.”

While living in Houston, she and a cousin entered a Thanksgiving turkey giveaway at a nearby grocery store they used to frequent. They entered the giveaway so many times that they won a turkey and proudly carried it home.

Alicia, a third-generation educator, returned to Texas 13 years ago as a bilingual teacher through the district’s Alternative Certification program. She met Michael 11 years ago when he crashed her birthday party. Once they started dating, they each realized that one of the attributes they most valued about each other was their passion to help and make a difference. With Elevate Coffee, they now live that passion every day and teach their children that it’s important to follow their dreams, they said.

“How could we teach them to follow their dreams, if we weren’t doing it ourselves?” Michael said. “I wanted to be able to look my children in the face and tell them to also follow their dreams, to be passionate about what they do and to be the change that they want to see in the world.”

T learn more about Elevate Coffee Trading and the work they do in Guatemala and the community, visit or follow them on social media at and @elevatecoffeetrading.

Elevate Coffee Trading would like to give back to the hard-working educators! Enter for a chance to receive a free coffee service for the staff at your school by filling out the following form:

Future events where you can find Elevate Coffee Trading this season:

Klyde Warren Park 12/11/2021
The Dallas Arboretum Christmas Village 12/17/2021, 12/19/2021, 12/20/2021, 12/21/2021, 12/22/2021 and 12/23/2021
Main St. Garden 12/18/2021



You are not alone

While the district may be closed for Thanksgiving, if you need assistance with your benefits, a number of resources are available.

District schools and administrative offices will be closed from Monday, Nov.22, through Friday, Nov. 26; however, the benefits call center will be open regular hours during that time to assist, with the following exceptions when it will be closed:

  • Thanksgiving, Nov. 25 
  • Day After Thanksgiving, Nov. 26

For those non-emergency health concerns such as cold and flu, TRS ActiveCare participants can utilize Teladoc at a reduced cost. Call 1-855-Teladoc (835-2362) or visit their main page.

If you have questions regarding your HSA/ FSA, you can contact Optum/Connect Your Care at 877-528-9876 or visit  Connect Your Care is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You may reach the benefits call center at 972-925-4000 or email  For questions regarding leaves of absence, email  During the periods in which the district is closed, the email boxes will be monitored periodically to ensure any critical issues are resolved in a timely manner.


It’s a time for giving

The Dallas Education Foundation is once again Dallas ISD’s charity of choice for the United Way employee giving campaign, which goes through Dec. 17.

As Dallas ISD’s direct, nonprofit, philanthropic partner, the Dallas Education Foundation works every day to fulfill its mission to inspire community investment to accelerate student success. Almost every dollar the foundation raises goes directly back to Dallas ISD in terms of teacher, student, and program support to propel our students further and faster.

“We are again extremely excited to be the Dallas ISD charity of choice for this year’s United Employee Giving Campaign,” said Mita Havlick, executive director of the Dallas Education Foundation. “We hope that everyone knows that when you donate to the Dallas Education Foundation, that’s really a direct donation back to Dallas ISD.”

In 2021, DEF provided over $1.1 million in grants and donations directly to Dallas ISD, including:

  • $188,000 in teaching and campus grants
  • $309,000 in student support
  • $577,000 in program support
  • $50,000 in event sponsorships

Throughout the year, DEF partners with the United Way in multiple capacities. For example, the foundation disburses the annual United Way DRIVE teaching awards to Dallas ISD recipients, and most recently, DEF played an integral role in securing an in-kind donation from the United Way to Dallas ISD Early Learning for the donation of Vooks, a streaming library of visual books for our 40,000 students in prekindergarten through second grade.

Visit to learn how to give to this year’s fundraising drive.

Looking ahead

Even if not planning to retire soon, it’s always a good idea to know what to expect and how to prepare so your retirement years can be all that you hoped for. Dallas ISD is here to help with a series of webinars hosted by the Benefits Department and the Dallas Retired Teachers Association.

All webinars will take place from 5 to 6 p.m. Click on your prefered date to register to attend. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation email with the link to join.

Tuesday, Dec. 7

Tuesday, Jan. 11

Tuesday, Feb. 8

Tuesday, March 8




Honoring Native Americans

November is Native American Heritage Month, which recognizes the contributions, history and culture of the indigenous people of the United States. Dallas ISD is commemorating the month by sharing a series of documentaries and films from Chickasaw Nation Productions.

In 1990, The U.S. Congress passed a resolution designating November as the first National American Indian Heritage Month to honor the members of the members of the more than 574 federally recognized tribal nations that govern an estimated 100 million acres of indigenous land. This year, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation praising the contributions of native people in the advancement of the United States, including the Code Talkers of World War II. To read the full proclamation, click here.

The Chickasaw Nation Productions films can be viewed by clicking on their respective links below:

BEARER OF THE MORNING: THE LIFE OF TE ATA THOMPSON FISHER (Documentary)—Born in small-town Oklahoma, Mary Thompson Fisher, later known as “Te Ata,” was determined to pursue her passion as a performer. Supported by her undeniable charisma and oratorical talent, Te Ata entertained and enlightened audiences across the world, including royalty and statesmen. Throughout her travels and performances, Te Ata kept her Chickasaw heritage close to heart and shared the unique story and spirit of the Chickasaw people. By studying and performing traditional Native American stories, she overturned negative stereotypes and advocated the preservation of Indigenous American cultures.

First Encounter (Documentary)—First Encounter explores the actions taken by Chickasaws in 1540 during their first contact with Europeans. The documentary highlights the encounters, struggles and perseverance of the Chickasaw people throughout Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto’s attempted conquest. It was the first European contact for the Chickasaw, but perhaps the most important and set the standard by which the tribe remained for centuries and remains today – “unconquered and unconquerable.”

Pearl Carter Scott: On Top of the World (Documentary)—The story of Native American aviatrix Pearl Carter Scott.

Pearl (Movie)—Set in 1920s rural Oklahoma, Pearl is based on the remarkable true story of Chickasaw aviatrix, Pearl Carter Scott –the youngest licensed pilot in American history. Mentored by world-renowned aviator Wiley Post, Pearl first pilots a plane at the age of 12 and becomes a commercial pilot and local celebrity before she reaches adulthood.

Te Ata (Movie)—This movie is based on the inspiring, true story of Mary Thompson Fisher, a woman who traversed cultural barriers to become one of the greatest First American performers of all time. Born in Indian Territory and raised on the songs and stories of her Chickasaw culture, Te Ata’s journey to find her true calling led her through isolation, discovery, love and a stage career that culminated in performances for a United States president, European royalty and audiences across the world. Yet, of all the stories she shared, none is more inspiring than her own.




Nurses go the extra Core 4 mile

While all Dallas ISD staff have been working hard to ensure students have all they need to succeed despite the challenges of the pandemic, the more than 300 nurses and assistant nurses throughout the district have been directly working to ensure the safety of staff and students.

In addition to their usual duties of administering care at the schools and making sure students’ medical records are up-to-date, school nurses have been demonstrating their commitment to Dallas ISD’s Core 4 culture tenets on the frontline of the pandemic. They have administered COVID tests at their campuses, coordinated quarantine, and scheduling vaccine clinics to make it easier for students and staff to get vaccinated.

Their efforts—transforming student lives and striving for the yes with urgency for all—were recently recognized with at Core 4 care package to say thank you. Health Services staff came together to put the thank you packages together and deliver them to the nurses.

“Nurses have always played a crucial role in the health and well-being of our campuses, but for the past few months, they have taken on so much more and have done an admirable job of holding the line against the virus,” said Jennifer Finley, executive director of Health Services. “Dallas ISD has not seen the numbers of COVID cases this fall that other districts have in great part due to the work of our wonderful nurses—they have been Core 4 all the way, and we are all grateful.”