Preston Hollow special-ed teacher nets prize for going above and beyond

Leanne Woods is the second recipient of a quarterly $250 recognition provided to outstanding special education teachers by Carter Financial Management. Recipients can use the funds to spend on items for their classrooms.

Parents, community and staff are 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.

Woods is a specialized programs teacher at Preston Hollow Elementary.  She was nominated by an administrator, parent and colleague. Below are some of the comments that were made during the nomination.

• “She is one of the first people at school. She is always smiling and open to help every single person who reaches out for her, no matter what.”

• “She encourages inclusion throughout the entire school and creates opportunities for the special education students to interact with all students within the school. They have reading partners with other classes and even pen pals with other classes.”

Dallas ISD teachers take part of ‘Touchdown for Teachers’ event

New teachers were invited to Touchdown for Teachers on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the SMU football game. The first 500 teachers who registered claimed two complimentary tickets to the game

During the halftime program, Dallas ISD teachers Matthew Abernathy and Melisa Simon were recognized as “Rising Stars.”

Abernathy is an Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus teacher at Justin F. Kimball High School. Simon is a fifth-grade science teacher at Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School who we featured previously on The Hub because after graduating from W.W. Samuell Early College High School, she was able to complete her bachelor’s degree and begin her teaching career at age 20.

The event also officially launched the Best in Class Coalition, a group of 50 organizations across DFW that are working to ensure all students have access to excellent teachers.

Hill Middle teacher is October’s NBC5/SMU Excellent Educator

Shelly Thibodaux, a P.E. teacher and coach at Dallas ISD’s Robert T. Hill Middle School, is October’s “Excellent Educator.”

The award included a $1,000 check for the school, presented by SMU President Dr. R. Gerald Turner.

The Excellent Educator program is coordinated by NBC 5 and SMU to honor educators in the region who go above and beyond. Learn more about how Thibodaux makes a positive difference for students at Hill Middle School here.

Oct. 5 campaign kicks off Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This year, an estimated 250,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed. The good news is that prevention and early detection are saving lives. Dallas ISD staff have the opportunity to donate toward breast cancer research by participating in the districtwide “Pink Out” day on Friday, Oct. 5.

Staff are encouraged to wear pink shirts, sweaters, cardigans, or other appropriate tops. Those who choose to donate toward breast cancer research can take advantage of the “Denim Day” also on Oct. 5 and wear work-appropriate jeans.

For instructions to donate via Oracle Employee Self-Service, click here. For any questions or additional information, contact the Benefits Department at benefits@dallasisd.org or (972) 925-4300.

Vaccination clinics for staff start Sept. 27

The Benefits Department is hosting flu shot clinics this fall at district buildings and campuses from Sept. 27 through Nov. 2. To view the locations and times of the clinics, visit www.passageware.com/ClinicSignUp/DISD/.

Passport Health accepts the following PPO insurance plans:

  • TRS-Aetna ActiveCare 1-HD and 2 Plans – covered at 100%
    • TRS SELECT plans cannot be accepted. *
    • Scott & White Plans cannot be accepted. *
  • Aetna*
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield*
  • Cigna*
  • Humana
  • United Health Care
  • Medicare Part B (Flu shots only-please provide a copy of any supplement plans also)

For employees who do not have an accepted insurance plan, the cost is $20 for the Quadrivalent flu vaccine, payable by cash or check, made out to Staying Healthy Medical Services.

To take advantage of the clinic, sign up online or with the campus organizer. Locations with low sign up counts may be cancelled prior to the clinic date. For additional information, contact the Benefits Department at benefits@dallasisd.org or (972) 925-4300.

*TRS Aetna ActiveCare Select plans and Scott & White plans cannot be accepted. Employees on these plans must see a Baylor Scott & White physician for all services, including vaccinations for the plan to cover the services. We are unable to accept HMO plans, Aetna & BCBS Bronze, Silver and Gold plans and Cigna Local Plus. Please see consent form for other known exceptions.

Toastmasters offer weekly speaking and leadership development

Dallas ISD Talk It Up! Toastmasters invite you to join us to grow your public speaking and leadership skills and improve your self-confidence. We offer two opportunities per week to learn from Toastmasters’ time-tested, proven curriculum. Feel free to try us out at either of our one-hour meetings: Mondays at 11:30 a.m. at the Linus Wright Dallas ISD Administration Building, 9400 NCX, or Wednesdays at 5:45 p.m. at the H.B. Bell School Support Services Building, 2909 N. Buckner Blvd. Both sessions feature opportunities to deliver speeches, practice leadership roles and learn to think on your feet. Attend a meeting soon to find out what Toastmasters can offer you. Got questions? Call 214-779-2311.

Nominate an outstanding special education teacher for a cash award

The Dallas ISD Special Education Department is looking for 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.

These teachers assume formal and informal leadership roles, mentor and develop others, share new ideas and best practices for serving students with disabilities, and are collaborative, solutions-oriented team members.

Nominations may be made by Dallas ISD parents, district staff and/or administrators.  One winner will be selected for a cash award of $250 each quarter. The cash award, sponsored by Carter Financial Management, must be used toward materials, resources and supplies for the winner’s special education classroom.

Nominations can be made HEREhttps://goo.gl/forms/iQiKg8HJn2QXWVyr2.

The winning teacher will have a presentation at his/her school which may be included in District media channels. Mia Witt, the program’s inaugural winner, was honored in May.

Dallas ISD has already surpassed enrollment projections

Dallas ISD has already surpassed its student enrollment projections for the school year, with more than 156,100 enrolled as of Sept. 7.

The district, which originally projected an enrollment of 155,089 students this school year, is on track to top last year’s enrollment of 156,832 students.

District officials said one reason for the higher-than-projected enrollment is that more Dallas-area families are learning about and choosing best-fit schools in Dallas ISD. From collegiate academies—where students can earn up to 60 hours of college credit or an associate degree while still in high school—and innovative choice schools to the district’s growing high-quality pre-K program, district officials said there is an ideal school for every student in the Dallas area.

But more than any other factor, district officials credited the higher-than-projected enrollment to the Texas Education Agency’s accountability ratings showing tremendous gains across the district. The new TEA state accountability rating known as “A through F” graded school districts on student achievement, school progress/growth, and closing the achievement gap. Dallas ISD received a “B” letter grade and is home to six of the 12 schools that achieved the highest-possible score on the 2018 STAAR test, according to the TEA.

Meanwhile, Dallas ISD has also achieved a steep decline in the number of Improvement Required campuses, from 43 in 2013-2014 to four in 2017-2018.

“We are proud of our tremendous gains in Dallas ISD, and our families, teachers and staff should feel great accomplishment in what we have done together,” Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. “But this is not the finish line, we have just started this race. We still have much more work to do.”

New principal selection process to attract, prepare, develop and retain the best educators

School Leadership has established the Leader Excellence, Advancement and Development program, or LEAD, to develop a principal pipeline strategy focusing on attracting, preparing, developing and retaining the best educators. Coordinating with internal and external partners, LEAD will spearhead several key initiatives for the district.

LEAD’s first initiative this year is to revise the principal selection process, ensuring the highest quality leaders and best-fit candidates for all schools will be identified and selected. This new process will launch on Sept. 1.

Those who are interested in applying for a principal position, meet the qualifications, and wish to take part in the selection process for the 2019-2020 school year can apply via Applitrack no later than Sept. 30.

For additional information, please contact Menay Harris, executive director for the LEAD program, atLEAD@dallasisd.org or (972) 925-4627.

Camp Kindle teaches teachers how to use technology in the classroom

Jiv Daya has donated kindles to grades 3–5 in six feeder patterns!

At Camp Kindle, several teachers from each network learned how to best use kindles as a learning tool. The training was done by Jiv Daya, Dallas ISD IT, Personalized Learning and the Blended Learning Coaches from School Leadership.

Watch the above video for a spooky fun look into the camp.

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