Leadership update

Jesús Rodríguez, Ed.D, has been appointed deputy chief academic officer of Content in Teaching and Learning. He has served in a variety of capacities in Colorado from classroom teacher and campus principal to regional assistant instructional superintendent in Denver Public Schools and executive director of the BUENO Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

In his most recent role as executive director of the BUENO Center—an internationally recognized organization that supports and advocates for culturally and linguistically diverse learners, families, and educators—he established collaborative relationships with districts, departments, boards of education, local communities and other higher education institutions to promote language equity and inclusion across the state. Additionally, he established the center’s first scholarship endowment in its 45-year history.

In his work with Denver Public Schools, he was most recently a regional assistant instructional superintendent in the Schools Division in a network of 25 elementary, middle, and high schools in northwest Denver. In his role as a regional assistant instructional superintendent, while supervising principals, he led with a focus on increased academic achievement and positive inclusive school cultures. Rodríguez began his career in DPS as a fourth- and fifth-grade bilingual teacher and later served as a successful turnaround school principal, earning a center of excellence award from the Colorado Department of Education.

Rodríguez has a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Spanish from the University of Northern Colorado, a Master of Arts in Educational Equity and Cultural Diversity from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Denver.

He and his wife Elle are looking forward to exploring Dallas with their son Cosme and his best friend, their family dog, Cain.

District joins lawsuit

During its regular August meeting, the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees voted to join multiple other school districts in an existing lawsuit challenging a ban on mask mandates. The litigation defends local control of such decisions defined by the education code, which gives districts the right to manage their respective district.

“It’s about the safety of our students, staff and families,” board president Ben Mackey said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “We just gotta do what’s right, and to make our voices heard in this lawsuit is critical for us.”

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa announced Aug. 9 that, to protect staff and students from the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Dallas ISD is temporarily requiring all staff, students and visitors to wear masks when on district property.

Did you get yours?

Haven’t gotten your COVID-19 vaccine yet? Don’t delay. Dallas ISD is offering a one-time, $500 incentive to fully vaccinated employees. You only have until Nov. 15 to show proof you are fully vaccinated and be eligible to receive the $500.

If you just became fully vaccinated, visit www.dallasisd.org/vaccineincentive to access the form and provide proof of vaccination.

If you are just going to get your vaccine, note that employees may be eligible for an absence of up to four hours of paid leave per vaccination dose to receive the COVID vaccine. Time will not be deducted from the employee’s paid time off.

Vaccines are widely available throughout Dallas County in health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and through private medical professionals. For more information about where to find the vaccine, visit https://www.dallasisd.org/covidvaccine or visit Dallas County’s vaccine information page at https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination.php.

If you have submitted your proof of vaccination and are counting on getting the incentive, let us know how you are planning on spending it by writing to staffnews@dallasisd.org. Your story could be featured in a future issue of The Beat!

Celebrating courage: Sam Tasby’s legacy of equity

Five decades after Sam Tasby was the centerpiece of the lawsuit that ended segregation in Dallas ISD, two of his descendants are working in the district to continue his legacy of equity and bettering lives through education.

In her social studies classroom at Seagoville Middle School, Rashonda Phelps proudly showcases a picture of Tasby, her grandfather, on a poster listing her favorite things. She credits her grandfather as the reason she is in education.

“When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a career, I talked with my grandfather. He always stressed the importance of education, and he supported us and pushed us,” Phelps said. “I ended up getting my teaching certification, and I haven’t looked back since.”

Over at David W. Carter High School, Tasby’s great-granddaughter, Calissia Tasby, supports students as a licensed mental health clinician with the Mental Health Services Department.  She helps students work through anxiety and depression caused by the pandemic and address any personal crises.

Calissia Tasby, who attended Ronald E. McNair Elementary School as a child, said one of her greatest joys was starting her work in Dallas ISD while her great-grandfather was still alive.

“He was so passionate about education and equal rights,” she said. “It’s a privilege to help continue what he started.”

Tasby and Phelps vividly remember him talking about the historic lawsuit that led to the desegregation order for Dallas ISD. He thought it was outrageous that his kids couldn’t attend the “white school” in northwest Dallas. According to his obituary, Tasby was harassed and lost his job following the lawsuit. But he remained committed to fighting for what was right, his descendants said.



Pony up with free SMU football tickets

As a thank you for all teachers did in 2020 and continue to do to help Dallas children learn and grow, Southern Methodist University wants to invite Dallas ISD teachers to it’s home opening football game on Saturday, Sept. 4, when the SMU Mustangs take on Abilene Christian. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

In addition to the free ticket to the SMU football game, Whataburger is sponsoring the event and offering teachers a Whataburger gift bag as well as the opportunity to enter to win gift cards for school supplies at their tent on the boulevard.

For any additional questions, please contact Candice Vaughn directly by calling (214) 768-7728 or emailing cmvaughn@smu.edu.

Get your shot

Thousands of people who were waiting for full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the Food and Drug Administration have started scheduling their first dose. Have you scheduled yours?

The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is also available under emergency use authorization for individuals 12 through 15 years of age and for the administration of a third dose in certain immunocompromised individuals. Other vaccines—Moderna and Johnson & Johnson—are still available under emergency authorization.

The district continues to work with community health partners to offer vaccination clinics that are convenient for staff and eligible students. Information will be shared as the clinics are scheduled.

Meanwhile, vaccines are widely available throughout Dallas County in health clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and through private medical professionals. For more information about where to find the vaccine, visit https://www.dallasisd.org/covidvaccine or visit Dallas County’s vaccine information page at https://www.dallascounty.org/covid-19/covid-19-vaccination.php.

Employees who are fully vaccinated are eligible to receive a one-time $500 payment from the district. To learn more about how you can see this money in your paycheck, visit www.dallasisd.org/vaccineincentive.

Don’t forget the credit for your children

Eligible families across the country are already receiving payments, either by direct deposit or check, for each child they have as part of the Child Tax Credit recently instituted by the federal government. Each payment will be up to $300 per month for each child under age 6 and up to $250 per month for each child ages 6 through 17.

The IRS will continue to issue advance CTC payments on Sept. 15, Oct. 15, Nov. 15 and Dec. 15. If you haven’t filed a tax return or registered with the IRS, now is the time to take action. If you’re not sure you qualify, the IRS has a three-step process that can help. Each step has a free online tool available only on IRS.gov. For more information on who qualifies for the credit and how to get it if you did not file taxes in 2019 or 2020, visit www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.

Want to get notices? Update your information

Are you getting important notifications from the district? From time to time, if there is an emergency or important information to be shared with staff, Dallas ISD will use the district’s automated callout system to communicate with staff. But if you want to be notified, your contact information must be up to date and in the right spot.

If you haven’t provided your personal contact number for after-hours calls in Oracle or have changed it recently, Human Capital Management requests employees review and update their personal contact information. Updated information will ensure you receive important communications from the district, such as inclement weather alerts.

To receive notices from the district, employees must add a contact phone number—which for most is a cell phone—in the Home type. To review and update your information, log into Oracle using one of the following links:

Within the district network or VPN:          https://orion.dallasisd.org/iorion

Outside the district network:                    https://orion.dallasisd.org/dorion

Go to Human Resources/Payroll Employee Self-Service, then select Employee Self-Service, Human Capital Management Information, and, finally, Personal Information.

Download the instructions to update your mailing/home address or contact phone number (in the Home type). For login or technical assistance with Oracle, please contact the IT Service Desk at (972) 925-5630.


Internet for students

Students who are without home internet have the opportunity to apply for a high-speed free home internet connection for the 2021-2022 school year.

The application deadline is Aug. 31, and families can visit https://tinyurl.com/dallasisdinternet to apply.

The home internet connection is being offered through AT&T or Spectrum via WiFi router that can be used by more than one person and will have no data caps or speed throttling in unlimited usage. A home wired internet connection provides more reliable internet service than mobile hotspots.

Call the Dallas ISD Connectivity Hotline at 972-925-6000 for help or questions.

Be the first line of defense

As the Delta variant of COVID-19 continues to spread in the community, it’s important to consistently practice district safety protocols, especially self-screening and properly wearing a mask.

Dallas ISD continues to temporarily require that all staff, students and visitors wear a mask while in district facilities. Masks should comply with district policy regarding logos and messages as well as cover mouth and nose. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you choose masks that:

  • Have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric (or disposable masks)
  • Fit snuggly on face with no gaps
  • Use a nose wire to prevent air leak from top
  • If choosing a gaiter, make sure it double layers or can be folded to be double layered


  • Don’t wear a face shield in place of a mask
  • Don’t use masks with exhalation valves, which allow the virus particles to escape

Before you put on a mask and head to work, self-screen for COVID-19 symptoms. Check for the following new or worsening signs or symptoms of possible:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath/difficulty breathing
  • Chills/repeated shaking with chills
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever ≥100.4 or feeling feverish
  • Known close contact with a person who has COVID‐19

Employees running a fever of 100.4°F or higher, or feeling ill, should stay at home and will not be permitted to report to work. Make sure to contact your health provider, if needed, and notify your supervisor regarding your absence.

For more information on staff safety protocols, visit www.dallasisd.org/covidstaffinformation.