Getting a real world education

Teresa Estudillo, a fourth-grade bilingual teacher at Obadiah Knight Elementary School for the past two years, has created a dynamic learning environment by integrating real-life scenarios into her lessons, connecting academic learning and real-life practice. 

Recently, this led to hosting Sam Vazquez, a radio host from EXA FM Mexico, through a Zoom session. Vazquez demonstrated students various forms of figurative language, such as similes, hyperbole, and personification that she had used in her work, giving the students a deeper understanding of how these literary devices can enhance communication and storytelling. 

“The virtual visit from Sam Vazquez was a valuable learning experience for the fourth-grade students, allowing them to see firsthand how the skills they were developing in class could be applied in the real-world,” Estudillo said. “Providing real-world examples can help students make connections between the theoretical concepts they are learning and how they can be applied in real-life.”

Her passion for teaching was inspired by the influence of her own past educators, combined with the idea that education is the foundation of all careers. In addition, the influence of her parents, who are educators themselves, solidified her passion for teaching.

“The impact that good teachers had on my life motivated me to pursue a career in education. I saw education as the profession that makes all other professions possible.” Estudillo said. 

Estudillo’s favorite aspect of being a teacher is witnessing the joy of students. She is also inspired by the district’s commitment to ensuring students have access to the necessary resources for a successful education.  

“When my students enter the class with a smile on their face and say they are happy to come to my class. It feels great!” Estudillo said. 

Inspired by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Estudillo shares a quote with her students to create motivation: ”If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”


Transitioning to Teams phones

Dallas ISD has begun taking steps to upgrade the legacy phone system and voice network. The transition involves moving to a modernized Microsoft Teams solution.

What does this entail?

  • Upgrading physical phones to run Microsoft Teams
  • Replacing Skype application with Microsoft Teams application

When will this take place?

  • May-August 2024

Who is affected by this?

  • Central departments and campuses

Will the change happen at once?

  • No. Central departments will be notified, and campuses will be provided a schedule of when their phones will transition. Additional information to be provided.

Are there resources for using Microsoft Teams?

Reminder of resignation deadline

Chapter 21 employees are reminded of statutory guidelines related to contract resignations. Specifically, under Chapter 21 of the Texas Education Code, educators have a penalty-free resignation deadline that falls on the 45th day before the first day of instruction of the upcoming school year. 

The resignation deadline for the 2024-2025 school year is June 28, 2024. Resignations are generally accepted via the electronic submission process (S-54), using the Oracle log-in, and must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on June 28. 

Additional information, frequently asked questions, and instructions may be found on the contracts home page at

If you have any questions, please contact the HCM Staffing Department at

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Profile: William Song

One of the aspects of Korean culture that William Song, a Korean language teacher at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, deeply cherishes is the concept of ‘‘ (pronounced as “jung”). According to Song, it’s a nuanced idea that doesn’t have a direct translation in English, but it has meaning for him as a teacher.

“Think about the relationship between the Little Prince and the Fox from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Little Prince.’ That’s sort of like what ‘‘ is all about,” Song said. “It’s about forming deep connections, bonds, and affection with others over time, and I believe it’s really important to focus on building those kinds of strong relationships,  which is something I strive to cultivate while working in the district.” 

Song, who has been working for the district for three years, grew up in South Korea before his family immigrated to Canada when he was 16. At Rangel, Song has established a rapport with his students and is making an impact. 


What drew you to the field of education?

I initially planned to pursue a career in the field of science, but during my senior year in college, I realized that it was too theoretical and lacked practicality, which didn’t resonate with me. This led me to explore teaching, a profession I found to be incredibly rewarding. Additionally, my mother, who was a high school teacher in South Korea, played a significant role in encouraging me to pursue a career in education.  


What accomplishments are you proudest of?

As a high school Korean language teacher, I find great satisfaction in witnessing my students master the language, excel in classroom projects, and grow in confidence in their speaking abilities. Moreover, I take pride in cultivating a supportive and inclusive classroom atmosphere where every student feels esteemed and motivated to fulfill their academic potential. 


What helps you persevere during hard moments?

In difficult moments of teaching, I find strength in God’s word and my belief in my students’ potential for growth. The support of my colleagues, the resilience of my students… provide me with the motivation to persevere.


What is a favorite memory at Dallas ISD?

One of my cherished memories at Dallas ISD, particularly at Irma Rangel where I’ve been teaching for the past three years, is the opportunity to immerse myself in the vibrant Hispanic culture. Despite being new to the district and experiencing various challenges, I’ve found joy in sharing diverse foods and cultural traditions with my students. It’s moments like these, where we exchange our authentic dishes and learn from each other, that truly make teaching here special for me.


 In your time in the district, what change has impacted you the most?

Throughout my time in the district, the most significant impact on me has been the continuous adjustment to the evolving educational system. With each passing semester, I find myself immersed in the process of learning and adapting to new methodologies and practices, which has been both challenging and enriching.





A fan favorite assistant principal

Miosha McCann, assistant principal at Harry C. Withers Elementary School, has dedicated her 23 years at Dallas ISD to inspiring students. Her work with students throughout her career recently led to being recognized as a fan favorite assistant principal in the district. 

McCann, who has worked 27 years in education, takes pride in the influence she has had on her students, the messages she receives from former students, and the affection they show her.  

“It is very rewarding to receive endearing Facebook messages and emails from former students,” she said. “I’ve even had students who have shared that they have become teachers because of my influence. One even referred to me as her ‘Forever Favorite.’ It doesn’t get any better than that!”

McCann’s passion for education was deeply influenced by her family background. Her mother was her fifth-grade teacher and her sister did her student teaching internship in her fourth-grade class.

“At last count, there were 26 educators in the family. It’s in the DNA.” McCann said. 

Looking back on her career, McCann remembers with pride being recognized as Teacher of the Year and achieving the honor of becoming a semi-finalist for district Teacher of the Year in 2005. Her recent recognition as the 2024 Fan Favorite Assistant Principal shows her commitment to students and staff. 

McCann has encountered numerous transformations in her years with the district. She appreciates the advancements in technology and how they have simplified her life. 

“I remember using an overhead projector,” she said. 

Driven by her mantra, “Every day above ground is a good day,” McCann highlights the importance of embracing the smallest gestures in shaping young minds. 

“Sometimes the smallest gestures leave an indelible imprint on the heart of a child,” she said. “I never refuse a hug from a youngster… even if it means issuing 100 in a day. Making them feel better always makes me feel better. It’s the boomerang effect.”

Find your mental health balance

Your physical health affects the mind, just as the mind influences the body. And while this creates a chicken-egg conundrum—which came first, the chronic back pain or the depression?—there is good news. By connecting the dots and taking steps to improve your physical health, your mind will also reap the rewards and vice versa. Here are some tips to find the best balance for you.

Tied up in knots: Stress, anxiety and the body

Long-term exposure to stress and anxiety can put your brain chemistry and body into overdrive, or a state of distress, disrupting their natural balance. This can lead to a weakened immune system, aggravated arthritis, trouble concentrating, fatigue, headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, chest pain, high blood pressure or even worse. Science has linked long-term exposure to stress to certain cancers, heart disease, and an increased likelihood of accidents.

The pain of depression

Many studies point to the link between depression and physical ailments. It can increase the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancer and worsen chronic conditions like asthma. Recent research also shows depression disrupts the brain’s production of serotonin and norepinephrine, chemicals that influence the way the brain perceives pain. This means that a person with depression may feel physical pain more acutely.

Finding equilibrium

You can improve the health of your body and mind by tipping the scales towards complete well-being and away from anxiety, stress, and depression by:

  • Squeezing calm into your everyday routine. Rather than cramming relaxation time into a two-week vacation or a one-hour yoga class, only to instantly forget about it once back in the real world, instill moments of calm into your day. Go for a walk, take a five-minute time out to stretch, meditate, or connect with a friend.
  • Moving. Physical activity is one of the quickest and healthiest ways to shed excess stress and anxiety—not to mention excess pounds—and infuse your brain with mood-enhancing endorphins. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least three times a week is often enough to take a load of stress off and lift the spirits.
  • Laughing or crying. Laughter increases your heart rate, improves circulation, and releases mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. If your predicament is no laughing matter, crying can equally help, eliminating the build-up of stress hormones in the body, and reducing muscle tension and blood pressure.
  • Sleeping soundly. A good night’s sleep will help recharge your body and mind, improving your focus, mood and immune system. Trouble sleeping? Exercise early in the day and avoid caffeine and late-night snacking to ensure a restful slumber.
  • Eating well. “You are what you eat” isn’t far from the truth. Treat your body to a well-balanced diet low in saturated fats and rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains and lean proteins and feel your spirits soar. Limit consumption of alcohol, caffeine, and junk foods which drag you down physically and mentally.

Maintaining both a healthy body and mind can help to increase your energy and mental focus. By implementing the strategies above, you can begin to feel connected and balanced in all aspects of your life.

You can find resources by visiting the Mental Health Services Department website at

If you need help, the district’s Employee Assistance Program provides short-term counseling for you, your spouse/partner, and any dependent family members. Counseling sessions can assist with a wide range of concerns, including stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and more. And, as always, you can reach TELUS Health EAP 24/7 at 972-925-4000 Option 3. For additional questions, employees may contact the Human Capital Management Benefits Department at 972-925-4300, email, or click here for information on the Benefits Website.

Source: LifeWorks

A calling and heart for teaching

As a bilingual teacher and as an immigrant herself, Vinola Martinez knows firsthand the needs of her students, and in her 23 years as a teacher she has become a model of what can be achieved through hard work and perseverance. 

A fourth-grade self-contained bilingual teacher at George W. Truett Elementary School, Martinez was born in South Africa to a family of East Indian descent but came to the Dallas area when she was a baby. She didn’t grow up speaking Spanish as her students have, but knows the struggles they experience and teaches them how if you really want to achieve something you must work hard, be tenacious, and have determination. She sometimes shares stories of her journey with students. Many of them can relate to her experiences. Before moving to Truett Elementary, Martinez  worked at Charles Gill Elementary School for 22 years. 

“My parents were immigrants to this country, and they had to start over and start from scratch,” she said. “My mom never had the opportunity to become a nurse in South Africa but was able to get her nursing degree several years after we moved to the United States. My dad had to change his career once we moved here. He went from working for a government agency in South Africa to becoming a risk manager.”

“I saw how hard my parents worked, and it inspired me in my career,” she said. “They taught me to keep going and to not give up because there are going to be challenges in life—but you have to persevere.” 

Empathy and understanding are things Martinez practices in her classroom, acknowledging that many of her students, although they are young, understand that life can be tough.. 

Last semester, Martinez was selected to serve on a TEA committee with other educators statewide to provide their expertise on assessments such as STAAR, STAAR Alternative 2, and TELPAS. This summer, she has been invited back to serve on the committee and will provide feedback specifically on TELPAS, which is an exam that measures the level of English language fluency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening. 

It’s important for educators like her, who are actively working with students in the classroom, to serve on committees like these, she said. There’s much to take into consideration, as many of her students have parents who didn’t finish school and the demands of the academic language of the tests are challenging for them, she said.

“There are these academic gaps that our students come to us with, and we as educators have to fill in those gaps,” Martinez said. “We have to see it from a student’s perspective, as well. They may not write an eloquent essay because they don’t have the age or the cognitive level yet, but that’s what we strive for, to get them there.”

One of the things she enjoys the most is seeing her students grow—many of them returning to visit or contacting her to show their gratitude. 

“I received an email from a former student, 16 years after she was in my class,” Martinez said. “She wanted me to know that she is a teacher now and that she said she will never forget how I encouraged her when she first came to school here.” 

A student Martinez taught in second and third grades is one she will never forget. She would visit and tell her she was going to invite her former teacher to her wedding. She did, and Martinez made sure to attend. 

“I was overwhelmed with emotion to  be able to share that special moment with her and her family,” she said. In time, Martinez also taught the former student’s son in fifth grade. It’s these full circle moments, she said, that are among the many reasons she loves being an educator.

Martinez has celebrated the students who have come back and shared with her the good things they are doing in life and has felt the pain of their losses, as well. 

“I care for each one of them as if they were one of my own children,” Martinez said.

She recognizes that education is constantly evolving and remembers how much technology has changed. She remembers making transparencies to present information to the class on a projector, and now she is using Google Slide.

“You’re always learning in this profession because education is constantly evolving due to technology and societal factors,” she said. “I think the only thing that stays the same is the love you have for your students and the passion you have for this profession.” 

Martinez hopes to inspire students with her mindset to continue learning even as adults and to know that no matter what challenges they face in life, they can overcome them.

Manage assets based on policy

Assets management policy covers several processes to accept and dispose of assets. These include:

Receiving assets

Departments and schools acquiring or receiving donations of Capital/Controllable assets must indicate the “SHIP TO ADDRESS” as Dallas ISD Central Receiving, 2517 S. Ervay, Dallas Texas 75215. That way the equipment will be tagged and distributed to the department/school accordingly.

The exceptions are equipment requiring installation/testing by the vendor. It is the responsibility of the department/school to inform Capital/Controllable Asset Management immediately upon receipt of such equipment. Best practices for the use of appropriate object codes when acquiring capital assets in Oracle can be found at our website

Storing obsolete equipment

Departments and schools should not use closets, rooms, or portable buildings and open areas to store obsolete or broken equipment. This presents safety, theft, and fire hazards.

An Equipment Transfer and Disposal form must be filled in Oracle for any obsolete and non-working capital equipment that needs to be disposed of or transferred between schools and/or departments, or taken to  Salvage & Surplus (Kiest Warehouse). The form can be found in Employee Self Service, DISD Fixed Asset Self Service. Use this link for instructions regarding the ERR FORM: For additional information about the transfer and disposal of Capital equipment, please visit the Capital Assets Management page.

For ERR FORM (Capital equipment – transfers/disposals) questions, contact David Kessebeh at (972)925-3842. For tagging Special Revenue (Grants/Special Education), CTE (capital equipment) and Donations (Capital Equipment) questions contact Phiebie Hutchins at (972-925-3857).

Transferring assets

Schools and departments must complete an Equipment Transfer and Disposal form in the TIPWEB fortransfers and disposals of controllable assets (CPU, monitors, laptops, small printers, notebooks etc.). For questions on TIPWEB, contact Lyn Wilkerson at 972-5801-4109.

The P1B FORMS should be used for all transfers and disposals of office or classroom furniture (chairs, tables, file cabinets, wall units, drawers, credenzas, etc.) and can be found at

Make it a learning summer

Campus team members are required to complete 14 hours of professional development, and Professional and Digital Learning is offering the opportunity for them to do it during the summer.

Teachers, librarians, nurses, and reset coordinators who choose to attend the full 14 hours of identified training in June and/or July will have the opportunity to flex their work days on Oct. 14 and Feb. 17. 

This summer, Professional and Digital Learning will introduce a variety of learning avenues, including a flexible learning model and optional sessions that are aligned to the professional learning domain of the Teacher Excellence Initiative. 

The flex day model comprises a comprehensive two-day learning series totaling 14 hours. These sessions are designed to assist educators in:

  • delving deeper into the Tier I curriculum
  • exploring effective scaffolding techniques integrated within the curriculum to enhance student success
  • understanding the significance of writing and its pivotal role in fostering critical thinking and communication skills
  • incorporating experiential learning activities to support cognitive development

Team members who choose not to take advantage of the summer learning opportunities will be required to attend professional learning at their campus on Oct. 14 and Feb. 17.

For more details and registration information, please visit the Professional & Digital Learning website at For questions regarding Summer Professional Learning, email the Professional & Digital Learning department at

A fan favorite assistant principal

Kristin Gates—assistant principal at Seagoville Elementary School—has been shaping the academic and personal growth of countless students during two decades of service with Dallas ISD. 

Originally from El Paso, Gates ventured to Dallas after obtaining her bachelor’s degree in mathematics from New Mexico State University. She discovered her passion for education when she had the opportunity to mentor freshmen during her final college semester. She  eventually joined the alternative certification program at Dallas ISD and held a job as a high school geometry teacher.

Throughout her career, Gates has received numerous recognitions, including being named Fan Favorite Elementary Assistant Principal during the recent Assistant Principal Appreciation Week. This recognition not only acknowledges her dedication but also her commitment to the school community. Gates takes pride in the influence she has had on students, many of whom credit her with gaining a love for mathematics and their academic success.

“Hearing how I influenced them as a teacher, embodies the most rewarding memories for me,” Gates said. 

During her years in the district, Gates has noted a significant shift towards prioritizing social and emotional learning.

“Our students have endured trauma that surpasses what many adults have experienced, and by providing support beyond academics, we’re equipping them to thrive in life,” Gates said. 

Gates believes in the importance of recognizing that students frequently experience strong emotions.

It’s our responsibility as educators to guide them through these emotions and teach them how to manage them effectively,” she said. “Having a supportive team is crucial.” 

“I am grateful for being able to serve the community and being able to see our students grow and become successful in their lives’ accomplishments,” Gates said.