Pets are the support we need

When we care for a pet, we are practicing social emotional learning in the following ways:

  • self-awareness | recognizing our thoughts and feelings towards the pet and around the pet
  • self-management | Pets tend to help calm people down, by simply petting and holding them – healthy stress management practice
  • social awareness |attending to the pet’s needs
  • healthy relationship skills | experiencing joy and security with a companion

To learn more about the district’s social emotional learning program, visit


Don’t let the age fool ya! Chloe—82 in dog years—is a diva and has energy like a new puppy. She loves getting her hair and nails done and enjoys family time. She has a personality like none other. Chloe has overcome two surgeries and multiple health diagnoses, but through it all, she’s kept a positive and prissy attitude. Chloe is spoiled, sassy, smart and truly special to her family!
ChrisSharrah Yancy, Professional Standards

My name is Rebel, and I am a 9-year-old blue pit bull. People give dogs like me a bad rep, but I am great with young children—not so much with cats.
Xavier Almaguer, School for Talented and Gifted

Tinkerbell is my 12-year-old Chihuahua that I adopted after she was abandoned at a rental house about 8 years ago. Cali is a feral cat that showed up on my back porch a few months ago, she is a preteen in cat age. When they are not relaxing Cali likes to terrorize Tinkerbell, although I think Tinkerbell secretly likes the attention.
Tracey Amicucci, Accounts Payable


Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Mogli, Master of Mischief. He is a 9-year-old, 20-pound, male Bengal. He enjoys talking while his mother is on the phone or Zoom meetings. His favorite past times are tearing apart cardboard boxes, scratching up leather furniture and leaping into freshly cleaned linens and clothes. He has earned his title of Master of Mischief but, at the same time, he is super intelligent and the sweetest most loving creature.
Marisa Negron, Jill Stone ES

Meet Lorenzo “Zo,” a 7.5 years old, French bulldog, my best friend, and my number one cuddle companion. Having one eye doesn’t get him down. He is the cutest little guy around! His hobbies include sleeping 20 hours of the day, eating, sunbathing and taking short walks.
Kendall Nettle, Benjamin Franklin MS

This is Abby. I believe she’s 14 but feel she missed that message since she loves to leap off the sofa with glee, do wind sprints at 2 a.m., and demands scratches whenever eye contact is made. She was adopted from the Dallas Animal shelter. She lives with her adopted sister dog Adele who was adopted from the same shelter a year earlier.
Michella Chappell, Frank Guzick ES

This is my 11-year-old dog, Sweeney. I adopted her through Paws in the City over 10 years ago.  She likes going for rides and chasing cats and squirrels. We watch her favorite TV show, Lucky Dog, on Saturday mornings, and she really likes belly rubs. She is always glad to see me when I get home from school.
William Adkins, Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy at A. Maceo Smith

Wolfie is an 11-year-old cinnamon husky. Wolfie is known as “The Inspector” because he inspects anything coming into or going out of the house. He likes his sweet potato treats and bones. In my opinion, Wolfie is the best pet companion a Dallas ISD employee could ever ask for.
Dora Vasquez, Professional Standards Office

Mako is a 3-year-old goldendoodle who loves supporting the Benjamin Franklin Falcons.
Christian Anderson, Benjamin Franklin MS

Meet Rocco (left) and Kodi (right). Rocco is a 4-year-old shar-pei/lab mix. He is very vocal when he wants something. Kodi is a 1.5-year-old red/blue pitbull. He is a very sweet, gentle and protective boy. Both are momma’s boys. They are very spoiled by momma and daddy, and since we don’t have any children, we love our boys.
Esperanza E. Garcia, Arcadia Park ES

Olivia Marie is 8 months (top right) loves to boss everyone around and playing with Oliver. She is a daddy’s girl for sure. Alice Victoria is 13 years old (top right) and only tolerates everyone. She sometimes likes to be with her people, but she mostly just lies in one spot all day long. Edward Jacob is 12 years old (bottom left) and still young at heart. She likes to play with toys by himself and is a mama’s boy never far from her side. Oliver Dawson is 1.5 years old (bottom right) and the politest, sweetest cat ever. He loves to play and get petted.
Sloane Becker, Woodrow Wilson HS

This is Cody Arispe, he is 12 years old and his all-time favorite game to play is fetch. He is incredibly smart, and I feel blessed to have him in my life. He is an only child and the only family I have here in Dallas. I’m thankful for his company and love him with all my heart.
Veronica Arispe, Lorenzo de Zavala ES

Lexie, 9 months old, came to me during quarantine. She is full of energy, loves to cuddle, loves attention, cuddles with me while I drink my coffee before I head out to work, and, most importantly, has helped my mental health during such difficult times.
Alondra Luna, Hector Garcia MS

This is Hodor, a 2-year-old bundle of love and slobber. He’s a bit of an old soul except when playing with his favorite ball. We joke about him being an emotional support pup because don’t you just feel better after seeing him?
Johnetta Taylor, Thomas Jefferson HS

Bacardi D. Dogg, 8, loves chasing the backyard squirrels, a good game of fetch, and all the treats. She even uses a special button that says “treat” when she wants one. Bacardi is also a certified Canine Good Citizen, recognized by the American Kennel Club. She is a smart and polite pup who charms everyone she meets.
Thérèse Roque, Speech-Language Pathologist Coach

Her name is Lola Joaquina, she is 14 years old, loves apples and watermelon and she means the world to her fur mom, who is a prekindergarten teacher.
Rosanna Ambriz, Nancy Moseley ES

This is the Puddin, aka the Puddinator, who, as you can see, is a fearsome a beast.  She adores pig snout and is always ready for an adventure with me. She will be 7 years old at Christmas and is half Shih Tzu and half Jack Russell.  She is my best friend and furry child. She loves to play with her toys, eat sauerkraut and watermelon, go for walks, and chase squirrels (which she can’t catch), as well as snuggle. She gives great hugs and kisses, too.
Connie Sue White, Sunset HS

Tom Cat is 16 years old and loves to sleep in a sunny spot inside. He’ll watch the squirrels enter his yard but can’t be bothered to chase them. He will let you know when he wants you to pet him and will definitely let you know when it is time to feed him.
Mayra Kitchens, Substitute


Help with COVID-19

The district has several resources available to employees regarding COVID-19, including reporting forms and assistance with benefits. If you have any questions about reporting COVID-19, contacting tracing or returning to work after quarantine or isolation, please contact Health Services.

COVID-19 Reporting, Contact Tracing, Return to Work

Health Services

(972) 925-4211

Reporting Form:

Return to Work Form:

For assistance with benefits, leave eligibility, and ADA accommodations, please contact the Benefits Department.

Benefits, Leaves, ADA Accommodations

Benefits Department

(972) 925-4300

Benefits Call Center

(972) 925-4000

English- and Spanish-speaking representatives are available to assist

weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Additional information about safety practices and protocols, please visit the Education Evolution webpage at

Don’t let the holiday blues get you down

Is the prospect of the holidays getting you down? Unfortunately, stress and depression don’t take a holiday. In fact, the periods leading up to and during the winter holidays can bring additional stress, anxiety, loneliness and depression. With the ongoing pandemic complicating plans, this holiday season may be especially difficult. The district’s Employee Assistance program, administered by LifeWorks is here to help.

The EAP is a confidential service that offers help with personal and work-related issues.

Professionally trained advisors are available to help with family problems, marital concerns, financial and legal matters, stress, depression, and other issues affecting life at work or at home. The service where advisers are available 24/7 the 365 days of the year is free and confidential.

The EAP encourages employees and those close to them to seek help early, before a minor problem becomes more serious and is designed to address short-term issues and to identify resources and referrals for emergency and long-term issues. When in doubt, contact the EAP for help or support.

While the EAP is free, it’s important to understand that accepting a referral to services outside the EAP, might incur charges for which you may responsible.  For example, if the EAP adviser refers you to a counselor for ongoing (long-term) counseling and the referral is through your medical benefits, co-pays or deductibles may apply; if the referral is not covered by your medical benefits, you would be responsible for fees charged by the specialist or counselor. The EAP advisor will work with you to find the most appropriate and cost-effective help to address your needs.

Download the brochure to see how the EAP works.



Take the virtual tour

COVID-19 has preempted traditional open houses—a staple of the fall application window. But They are not impossible thanks to two events this month that offer virtual visits to get to know the choice elementary schools and special programs at neighborhood schools.

Choose Dallas ISD is holding a special event to feature special schools and programs at the elementary level at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, and another one to highlight the special programs at neighborhood schools at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 12. Links to virtual tours of the schools that start at 11:30 both days will be distributed to participants.

Virtual open houses are not all that’s fully online this year. In previous years, the application forms varied depending on what programs the students applied for. The new application system is fully online and serves as a one-stop shop for exploring and enrolling students into a Dallas ISD campus. It allows parents to apply to up to five schools through a single online form.

“This year, it is all in one system for parents to see,” said Angie Gaylord, Dallas ISD deputy chief of transformation and innovation. “That’s about 20,000 applications that we get every year that are normally in multiple systems that are now going to be in one system for all parents to see.”

The new system is mobile-friendly and available in various languages. Parents can upload documents into the system, as opposed to having to bring documents to the school. A “Parent Dashboard” allows families to see the progress of their application.

Beginning on March 1, parents will receive emails or text messages notifying where the student was accepted. Parents will have 10 days to notify the schools if they will accept the seat.

To find and apply to the best-fit school, visit Parents who need assistance filling the application can call (972) 925-5560.

Second racial equity webinar features community panel

Racism and racial bias are alive and well in Dallas ISD and the city overall, in the view of five panelists involved in racial equity work in Dallas. The five took part in an hour-long recorded webinar which will premier at 5 p.m., Tuesday., Dec. 8, as the second in a series of webinars organized by the school district’s Racial Equity Office. Pre-registration is required to receive a link to view the panel discussion. Please register here to receive the webinar link.

Titled “Using CQ to Create an Anti-Racist School Community,” the webinar features panel members responding to questions from moderator Dr. Sandra Upton of the Cultural Intelligence Center. Dr. Upton is facilitating the district’s racial equity push, which includes community conversations, teacher and staff training and commitments to reallocate district resources to improve services to Black students and English learners—two groups that district officials say have been underserved due to historic racist policies.

Panelist Miguel Solis, former District 8 trustee on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees,  summing up the general view of the panel, said that while the district has achieved progress on equity, it still  has a long way to go to grant the benefits of equity to all students. “When we look at the data on academic achievement of our African American students, it blows my mind that, year to year, we’re still not closing the gap in reading and mathematics. Add to that the disproportionate impact that our disciplinary practices are still having on especially Black male students, and something has got to be done.”

Shirley Ison-Newsome, retired educator and former area director for the district’s learning centers, and Mavis Knight, a higher education advocate who served three terms on the state board of education, echoed Solis’ concern. The two said that decades after court-ordered desegregation and numerous campaigns to curtail racism, biased teachers and unfair policies still exist and do significant harm to student achievement. They credited the district with its renewed attention to the issue, but challenged leadership to stick with the effort until it yields results.

Ray De Los Santos, higher education advocate and director of college prep programs for LatinX students, said the district needs to do better at teaching students about their own and other cultures. “We need to do a better job of extending African American and Mexican American studies courses across all grades,” he said. “The first job is to know yourself. These courses go a long way to help us understand who we are in relation to the other communities around us.”

Amber Sims, founder of the social justice nonprofit Imagining Freedom Institute called the district short-sighted in closing two historically Black schools, Julia Frazier and Pearl C. Anderson, saying, “The district has disinvested in Black leadership and black students.” Sims said the lessons of history have value and can teach district leaders a lot about past inequities to avoid repeating them.

The webinar will air at 5 p.m., Tues., Dec. 8, and pre-registration is required to view it. To register to receive the link, go here. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Get your cards here

It’s time for seasonal holiday cards, and the Graphics Department can print yours for $1 each. You can choose from any design, folded or flat. White boxes indicate the number of photos included in the card design. your order by Dec. 14 to guarantee completion before winter break. And for the perfect gift for loved ones, Graphics can print a personalized calendar.

Personalized calendars

Back by popular demand, the graphics department photo calendars are a hot ticket item this season. Send your family and friends a custom personalized calendar and you will win the “best gift award” this holiday season.

12 month flip calendar

Allows for one large photo for each month, and one cover photo. Spiral bound and top punched for easy wall hanging. Don’t forget to include your photo on your birthday month! Name the photos as the month for placement (March.jpg, April.jpg). For best quality, please send high quality photos.

Desk Calendar 

18 x 24 laminated desk calendar, room for one large center photo or a collage of up to four photos.

Wall Calendar 

Printed on 13 x 19 Gloss cover with a top punch for easy wall hanging. Room for one large center photo or a collage of up to four photos.

Order process and Payment info:

Send completed form with photos to place your order. You will be called upon completion to schedule pick-up or delivery. You may pay at any time over the phone or at pick up. We accept exact cash, card, or personal check.


District Greeting Card Order Form 
 Calendar Order Form



You are not alone: Holiday benefits hour

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

District schools and administrative offices will be closed for fall break from Nov. 23-27, but the benefits call center will be open regular hours during the break to provide assistance, with the following exceptions when it will be closed:

  • Thursday, Nov. 26
  • Friday, Nov. 27

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 FSA, you can contact 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.




Dallas ISD Men’s Health Month: A holistic approach

Being physically and mentally fit makes doing any job easier, but it’s crucial in the field of education. Body and mind fitness  means a reduced risk of injuries and illness, which leads to less time away from helping students succeed. Exercise is also known to reduce stress, which can lead to mental health issues and cardiovascular disease. Local health and fitness expert Dimitrius Glenn shares some fitness tips as part of Dallas ISD’s Men’s Health Month series.

The various job stressors for educators can be overcome by practicing physical and mental conditioning through engaging in weightlifting, running, walking, swimming, meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, and other similar practices. Physical fitness is a type of discipline—actively pursuing fitness, good cardio and mental conditioning. Physical fitness and mental wellness can only increase a person’s effectiveness at work and in life.

Educators, like others, can start a new journey of fitness, nutrition, health and mental awareness by just making a conscious decision to focus on improving their lives. Some might want to hire a fitness specialist, attend yoga classes, or join a gym, but exercise can take place almost anywhere as long as the will is there.

For some, hiring a nutritionist is the answer to eating better because you need the coaching to make a change in diet. For others, it might be as simple as introducing healthier food choices into the diet and staying away from harmful choices.

An important and much overlooked component of health is maintaining good mental awareness. Stress and long hours can lead to making poor eating choices and giving up on healthy habits like exercise. Seek counseling if you need to deal with serious conditions. By being self-aware about stress and triggers that lead to poor decisions, you can make sure that you avoid them. For example, taking time to decompress at the end of the day with a walk in the park can not only help decrease stress but also helps keep you fit. When possible, group activities can also lead to better fitness and a healthier state of mind. For example, going out for a bike ride with family or shooting hoops with friends helps relieve stress and establishes healthy bonds.

Whatever you do, the important thing to learn for this series is that staying fit physically and mentally is key to a healthy and happy life at work and at home. Take the first step. You won’t regret it.

Dual language and post-secondary partnerships help students succeed

Dallas ISD has adopted a systemic approach and organizational philosophy that will bring consistency and excellence across the district. This Theory of Action will govern how we make decisions that ultimately impact student achievement. The TOA clearly describes which functions are managed by central staff, which levels of autonomies are given to schools, and the structure and boundaries for those autonomies.

Dual Language

Through the Theory of Action Standards of Service, the Dual Language/ESL Department provides professional development; direct campus support for English learners, including developing bilingualism and biliteracy in dual language programs; services for students and families who are new to the country through the Margaret and Gilbert Herrera Student Intake Center; and supports campus Language Proficiency Assessment Committees (LPACs). Specific support may include:

  • Both districtwide and campus specific professional development with resources and materials for implementation of learning
  • Instructional coaching through a coaching cycle, PLC support, co-teaching/modeling and professional development with follow-up for implementation
  • Wrap-around services for newcomer families including language proficiency testing, health screenings from staff nurse, instructional support for students, parent orientation and a variety of sessions available for parents

For additional information, contact Richie Heffernan, executive director Dual Language/ESL at

Postsecondary Partnerships

A top priority for Dallas ISD is to remove barriers to postsecondary education and increase higher education opportunities for students and staff. Through the Theory of Action Standards of Service, the Postsecondary Partnerships—Higher Education Accountability & Articulation Initiative provides support to campus staff and students as the district expands college, career, and dual credit opportunities.

What we do:

  • Serve as liaisons between the district, high school campus, and college partners regarding dual credit course offerings and guidelines.
  • Support campus staff members by providing guidance to counselors, administrators, and school personnel in order for campuses to effectively assist students and parents with dual credit offerings and selections.
  • Facilitate course enrollment between the high school campus and college partners.
  • Provide digital, comprehensive tools and curriculum for dual credit guidance, pathway and certificate options.
  • Work with college partners and legal services to review and approve Interlocal agreements (ILAs).

What support looks like:

  • Provide professional development and technical training over the dual credit enrollment process, Dashboard/PowerBI access and usage, and dual credit grades.
  • Visit high school campuses to ensure that dual credit earning programs are being implemented with fidelity and recommended degree plans are being followed, including ECHS and P-TECH campuses. (Visits will be conducted virtually as needed.)
  • Monitor and support campuses with articulated curriculum maps and degree plans with their higher education partner.
  • Provide assistance regarding the dual credit Teacher credentialing process, course alignment, and dual credit policy concerns.

Campuses interested in these services should visit the Post-Secondary Dual Credit website at to learn more about dual credit programming.

For additional information, contact Danielle Hernandez, director of Higher Education Accountability & Articulation Initiatives, at



Dallas ISD program supports homeless students

Recently, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, hundreds of pounds of food and hygiene products were picked up by schools to distribute among the almost 4,000 Dallas ISD students who are considered to be homeless. The food distribution is one of the highlights of activities by the Homeless Education Program during November, Homeless Youth Awareness Month.

“We have been working with the North Texas Food Bank for a few years,” said Ashley Marshal, outreach manager for the district’s Homeless Education Program. “We are extremely grateful for this partnership this year since the pandemic has put such a strain on the usual nonprofits and donors that have donated Thanksgiving dinners to us in the past.”

The food bank sends food and hygiene products every other week during the school year, which are then sent to the high school drop-in centers for students and their families to access as needed.  Last week, the food bank was able to double their delivery in light of the upcoming holiday, Marshall said.

Schools with a high number of homeless students were invited to come pick up boxes of food and products to stock their pantries for homeless students who attend the schools. Students are considered homeless if they lack a fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residence.

November was first declared as National Homeless Youth Awareness Month in 2007 to acknowledge the challenges homeless students face. Along with losing their home, community, friends, and routines, students who are homeless also lose their sense of stability and safety and are often victims of trauma.

In support of the Homeless Youth Awareness Month, the Dallas ISD Homeless Education Program also provided resources and trainings on the McKinney-Vento Act to help district staff and community partners better understand and support homeless youth.

Classes about the McKinney-Vento Act are offered throughout the year. You can register by using Sign-Up Genius or by emailing

If you are a staff and/or a student with Dallas ISD experiencing a homeless crisis, please call HEP at 972-749-5750 or call 1-888-411-6802 (Homeless Crisis Hot Line).