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.

Reilly Elementary staff use first aid training to revive substitute teacher

Irene Aguilar was printing out a form at Martha Turner Reilly Elementary School when she heard a substitute teacher at the school fall to the floor in the front office. The teacher was unconscious.

Aguilar, the school’s office manager, quickly called School Nurse Beata Fik and Counselor Amparo Guzman. The skills they learned in their Heartsaver First Aid/CPR/AED training kicked in. They called 911, and after using the school’s defibrillator and performing CPR, the substitute regained a pulse. Aguilar, Fik and Guzman then used CPR skills to support the teacher until the ambulance arrived.

“It was just amazing how everyone played a part to help save his life,” Guzman said.

Today the substitute teacher is walking and on his way to recovery in the hospital. Dallas ISD Health Services Director Jennifer Finley applauded the Reilly Elementary staff for their heroic actions.

“The medical staff at the admitting hospital thanked the school staff for their quick and effective response,” Finley said. “It was because of their recognition and action that the substitute teacher is up walking, talking and expected to make a full recovery.”

Dallas ISD Health Services trains about 2,200 staff, teachers and students every year in first aid and CPR. Every campus is allocated a nurse and has at least one defibrillator machine.

May 9 is National School Nurse Day, and it’s a chance to recognize the amazing work campus nurses do every day across Dallas ISD.

“We are so fortunate to have our campus nurses there to respond to emergencies, provide an extra layer of safety, and encourage our students to make healthy choices and live a healthy lifestyle,” Finley said. “Our nurses are a valuable member of every campus.”

Thank your favorite educator during Teacher Appreciation Week

Dallas ISD is celebrating Teacher Appreciation Week May 7–12, and it’s an opportunity to recognize the tremendous work district educators do every day.

We need your help to give these educators the recognition they deserve!

Have good photo or a story about your favorite Dallas ISD teacher? Email it to thehub@dallasisd.org, or post the photo or story to social media with the hashtag #ThankATeacher and tag us on Twitter (@dallasschools), Facebook (@DallasISD) and Instagram (@DallasISD).

Are you a business offering a special discount to teachers this week? Email thehub@dallasisd.org, and we will share the best deals for teachers throughout the week.

Dallas ISD is home to thousands of highly qualified and certified teachers, and this is a week to thank them for helping students discover their potential.

Teacher Appreciation Week: Offers aim to make teachers feel special

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7–12, and, to celebrate, multiple Dallas businesses and restaurants are offering special discounts to our tireless classroom educators.

Tacos Y Mas

Tacos Y Mas has deals going on for teachers all week. Teachers need to show a valid teacher ID to redeem. See the flyer here. The deals are:

  • Monday: Free street taco
  • Tuesday: Free churo
  • Wednesday: Free drink
  • Thursday: Free tortilla soup
  • Friday: Free nachos

Raising Cane’s

Teachers who show their ID can receive a free box combo on Tuesday from 3­–8 p.m. See the flyer here.


Teachers, faculty and staff who stop by Chipotle with their faculty ID on Tuesday from 3 p.m.–close can get a buy-one/get-one-free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos. The deal is only valid in-restaurant.


Teachers with a valid ID can enjoy a free buffet at Cicis on Tuesday. Get the coupon here.

Designer Shoe Warehouse

Designer Shoe Warehouse is offering Dallas ISD employees 20-percent off regular priced items and 10-percent off clearance items on Thursday, May 10 from 10 a.m.–9 p.m. DSW has locations at the Preston Center Pavilion, 9335 Westchester Drive, and The Shops at Park Lane, 8160 Park Lane. See the flyer here.


In honor of teacher appreciation week, Snuffers is offering all teachers 15 percent off their meals from May 7-11. Go here to see a list of Snuffers locations.


JCPenney is offering Dallas ISD teachers and staff a re-usable discount card redeemable in-store or online. All district employees are welcome to use the coupon available through the staff email announcement. The coupon is valid through July 31.

Online purchases

65-percent off select original and regular priced apparel, shoes, accessories and home purchases || 30-percent off select sale and clearance priced apparel, shoes, accessories and home purchases || Extra 15-percent off select furniture, mattresses, housewares, floor care, custom blinds and shades. **Standard Exclusions Apply

In-Store Purchases

 60-percent off select original and regular priced apparel, shoes, accessories and home purchases || 30% off select sale and clearance priced apparel, shoes, accessories and home purchases || Extra 15% off select furniture, mattresses, housewares, floor care, custom blinds and shades. **Standard Exclusions Apply

Email thehub@dallasisd.org to add any other deals to this list!

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.”

Report: Dallas ISD’s alternative certification teacher program among best in the country

A national group named Dallas ISD’s alternative certification teacher program as one of the top 10 programs in the country.

The Dallas ISD program prepares college graduates and career changers to become top-tiered teachers in the district. The National Council on Teacher Quality in April ranked the Dallas ISD teacher certification program in the top 10 out of 129 similar programs.

“With the high number of new teachers in the workforce, particularly in schools with large populations of traditionally underserved students, it is imperative that programs provide prospective teachers with the proper support to become effective first-year teachers,” said Kate Walsh, president of the National Council on Teacher Quality.

The Dallas ISD Alternative Certification program is currently accepting applications for future teachers. Go here to apply and learn more.

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