Campus Staff News | Page 71 (2024)

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Staff input needed for superintendent search

The Dallas ISD Board of Trustees is in the initial phase of conducting a national search for a superintendent to lead the district once Superintendent Michael Hinojosa retires and is seeking input from all stakeholders. To better inform the search, trustees have hired a firm to collect the input from diverse groups, including teachers and support staff.

Teachers and support staff have always been at the core of the successful operation of the district from the frontlines. In addition to providing input through the survey available at, teachers will be able to share what they believe are the qualities for a successful Dallas ISD superintendent in three online webinars taking place April 12-14. The input collected during these sessions will be shared with the board prior to their review of the applications. Registration is required and all sessions will take place at 7 p.m. on the following dates:

Teacher sessions • All sessions start at 7 p.m.

April 12

April 13

April 14

Support staff sessions

April 11 • 6 p.m.

April 18 • 10 a.m.

April 21 • 5 p.m.

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New tool helps students with depression

Tracey Brown, executive director of Mental Health Services, is on a mission to make sure students who need mental health support as a result of the pandemic have access to it. She and her counselors are already making sure that thousands of students who have been identified through referrals and Youth and Family Centers are getting the support they need.

In the next two years, Brown hopes to up the number of students who are identified as being in need of additional support and receive it thanks to a depression screening tool called the PHQ9, or Patient Health Questionnaire 9. The department is developing this electronic tool with funds from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas and ESSER, the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund.

“It’s a work in progress, but we’re really excited about the possibilities that it’s going to bring our students,” Brown said of the PHQ9.

Mental Health Services recently received a $200,000 grant from the United Way of Metropolitan Dallas as part of the organization’s first-ever Health Innovation Technology Challenge, presented by AT&T. With these funds, Dallas ISD kicked off the first year of their three-year depression screening project, starting with the development of an app to house the tool. Next year, they will pilot the tool with school-based clinicians and at certain Youth and Family centers. In year three, they plan to deploy the tool across the district.

The implementation of the depression screener will be simple. When a student visits or receives a referral to a Youth and Family Center or a school-based clinician, their parents or guardians can consent to use the screening tool. Once the depression screening is administered, parents can release the data to health professionals in the district and beyond.

“I always say it’s kind of like going to the minute clinic,” Brown said. “You go and get whatever you’re going to get, and then they have a portal that houses all of that data. We’re not going to have the data necessarily unless the parent shares it with us, but once we have it, it’s going to help inform our practices.”

The United Way grant only supports the first year of the depression screening project. The second and third years will require ESSER funds as well as district board approval. Once the tool is fully developed, piloted and implemented, MHS hopes to increase the average number of students who are identified as having depression and receive support each year by 3 percent, from 12,000 to 12,360 students.

In the meantime, Brown encourages all staff members, especially teachers, to familiarize themselves with the signs of depression, which include isolation or withdrawal, changes in eating and sleeping habits, feelings of hopelessness and changes in academic performance.

“Even if you’re not a mental health professional, as a teacher, you know your kids,” she said. “We just want to make sure we’re providing every level of support for the students, and they’re not suffering in silence. The only way to do that is we all understand the general signs and symptoms of depression, and then be able to connect those students to mental health services.”

Ultimately, MHS’ goal is to ensure that students can focus on learning and feel good about themselves in the process. That way, they can “graduate college- and career-ready and go out into the world and make a difference.”

Brown’s team is constantly looking for innovative ways to support students around the district, and the depression screening tool will help them achieve that goal.

“I know we’re all working hard to support our kids, our parents and our families to navigate all of the changes that are happening in the world, which can really lead to feelings of hopelessness,” Brown said. “We’re just wanting our kids and families to know that we love them, and we’re here to support them every step of the way.”

Visit to learn more about the school-based services that are currently available or to find your local MHS Youth and Family Center.

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AHSA offers money for college

Dallas ISD staff and students who are pursuing a career in education and furthering their studies can apply for scholarships offered by the Association of Hispanic School Administrators. The application deadline is April 29, so don’t delay.

  • Dallas ISD seniors who want to become educators can apply for of the several Sí Se Puede Scholarships. Si Se Puede—
  • Dallas ISD employees who are pursuing a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification cam apply for several Adelante scholarships. Adelante—
  • Members of AHSA pursuing a master’s or doctoral degree can apply Pursuing Excellence scholarships. Pursuing Excellence—

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Mental Health Matters: Self-care is essential

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

–Novelist Anne Lamott once said, “

Self-care is critically important when it comes to your health and well-being, but that does not mean it comes naturally to everyone. Fortunately, there are many ways to be kind to yourself and unplug even if it’s just for a few minutes. Create a self-care kit with these tips from Lifeworks, the company that manages the district’s Employee Assistance Program.

  1. Do a simple stretching routine. Even taking a minute to relax your jaw, neck and shoulders can make a big difference.
  2. Find a piece of art you love and look for more works by the same artist. You may end up with a new favorite song, book or show!
  3. Reflect on the hobbies you loved as a child and see if you can rekindle that same sense of wonder and fun by giving them another try.
  4. Switch off your phone—or at least your access to it—for an hour. Try moving it to another room or turning on “airplane mode” or “do not disturb.”
  5. Make a playlist of cheerful songs and hit play whenever you could use a pick-me-up.
  6. Budget for an extra adventure. Setting aside as little as $10 a month can lead to a treat.
  7. List out your work accomplishments and appreciate how much effort you have put into your growth and development. You should be proud!
  8. Take yourself on a date. Make time for an item on your bucket list, and go explore your community.
  9. Get in touch with a friend you have not seen for a while. They will be thrilled to hear from you.
  10. Organize a friend or family game night and bring out all your favorite board games and video games.
  11. When you break for lunch during the work day, take the time to eat mindfully. Focus on each flavor and appreciate when you are full.
  12. Feeling stressed or overwhelmed? Schedule a day off. We all need rest to avoid burnout.
  13. Carry around a water bottle, and make sure to stay hydrated when you find yourself struggling to concentrate or are feeling extra tired.
  14. Keep a gratitude journal. Not only will you appreciate all the little things around you more, but you can also give yourself the credit you deserve for showing up every day.
  15. Start a new podcast on a topic that has always interested you or pick up your favorite comfort book.
  16. Browse your favorite meals and choose a new recipe to try. You could even experiment with a beloved family favorite.
  17. Do some spring cleaning and clear out the clutter around your home or desk. If you have a hard time getting started, play an upbeat song and dance as you go.
  18. Transform your home into a spa by taking a long bath and lighting up your best scented candle.
  19. Practice meditation. Whether you follow a short video on YouTube or do some deep breathing, you will feel more relaxed and at peace.
  20. Be gentle with yourself, especially on your hardest days. Pick out a few self-affirmations and speak to yourself with the same care you would show your friends and family.
  21. Set boundaries with your schedule. When you are off the clock, put away your work phone and turn off any email notifications you may receive.
  22. Research restaurants in your area and enjoy some delicious new food. If you want to be spontaneous, check out that diner or coffee shop you have seen a thousand times but have not tried yet.
  23. Play with your pets more often. We all know you wanted to anyway, so here is your excuse!
  24. Spend time outside every day. Even if you only have the energy for a few minutes, the fresh air will do you good.
  25. Every time someone compliments you, make a note in a journal or on your computer. On bad days, their words will lift your spirits.

You matter and so does your health and well-being! If you are struggling, help is available. Dallas ISD’s Employee Assistance Program by LifeWorks has countless online resources, including on-call counselors and practical tips to manage a variety of mental health concerns. The confidential, secure platform requires no contributions, so you can easily get the support you need today.

Reach out to LifeWorks at (972) 925-4000 or visit and click on Benefits Resources to access online EAP information.

*Source: LifeWorks

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Nominations Now Open for Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame

If you know a former Dallas ISD student-athlete, coach, administrator, or another individual who has made significant contributions to Dallas ISD’s high school athletic programs, now is the time to get them some recognition.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2022 class of the Dallas ISD Athletic Hall of Fame, which acknowledges those who have raised the level of public awareness and support for high school athletics through their achievements and excellence, both on and off the field of competition. Nominees may be active or retired from their fields and must exemplify the highest standards of sportsmanship, ethical conduct, and moral character.

More information about the Hall of Fame, including detailed information about criteria used by the distinguished selection committee, and the nomination form are available at

The deadline to nominate someone from this year’s class is Friday, April 15.

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Free soccer tickets

Soccer fans in the district have the opportunity to experience one of the country’s largest international youth tournaments—the Dallas Cup—for free.

FC Dallas is offering Dallas ISD staff and students two free tickets to attend the opening day of the Dallas Cup at the Cotton Bowl Stadium on Sunday, April 10, using the code DISD. The Dallas Cup will take place through April 17 and involves more than 250 youth teams representing more than 35 countries.

Since 1980, Dallas Cup has hosted teams and officials from six continents—more than 100 countries. Some of the world’s greatest players have participated in the invitation-only Dallas Cup; in the past two World cups one of every 14 goal scorers have been Dallas Cup alumni. For more information about the offer, download the flyer or visit the ticketing site and enter the code DISD.

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Central Hires: Career opportunities in central administration

If you think you have what it takes to recruit passionate people who want to transition to teaching from other careers or know someone who would like to be an integral part of making sure students get to school as a CDL bus driver, Dallas ISD has openings in central administration.

Coordinator I (Recruitment Function), Alternative Certification

CDL Bus Driver, Transportation Services

Data Clerk (Testing Support Staff), Assessment

Multi-Skills Specialist II (Maintenance Repairs), Maint. & Facilities Services

Specialist II (Multi- HR Functions), Staffing

To explore other openings, visit www.dallasisd.ord/careers.

If you are a hiring manager and interested in highlighting your open vacancies and/or department, contact Central Recruitment at

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Say something for safety

Everyone deserves to feel safe and supported while they are on our campuses every day. The safety and well-being of our students and staff is our top priority and requires a proactive approach to violence prevention. That is why Dallas ISD is introducing the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System. Students will be trained on when and how to use this system starting in April.

This research-based, age-appropriate violence prevention program will teach students and staff to identify the warning signs of potential violence or self-harm, including threatening or harmful behavior and harassment.

Say Something will offer secure ways to report safety concerns 24/7 through a hotline, website and app. Students will be empowered to report school threats and personal crises like abuse, depression, sexual harrassment and self-harm. Every time a report is submitted, trained crisis counselors will gather essential information and share details and next steps with relevant school teams and law enforcement. The teams will then address the threat and provide solutions.

Anyone in need can submit a tip through The free mobile app is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play, and the hotline can be reached at 1-844-5-SAYNOW.

More than 5,000 schools have launched this program nationwide, leading students to report feeling safer in their classrooms—and leading to lives being saved! The Say Something Anonymous Reporting System has been proven to prevent school shootings, gun threats and suicide attempts. It has also been shown to reduce bullying, self-harm and drug use in schools.

Sandy Hook Promise was founded by families whose loved ones were killed during the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. Their efforts and determination have prepared more than 14 millions teachers, students and parents to recognize and report signs of potential violence, and Dallas ISD is proud to take action alongside them.

Be on the lookout for more Say Something Anonymous Reporting System announcements and training dates. It all comes down to this: If you see something, say something. Together, we can keep our communities safe.

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Tomorrow starts at Dallas ISD

Prekindergarten registration for the 2022-2023 school year in Dallas ISD begins Friday, April 1.

Children who are 3 or 4 years old by Sept. 1 can apply to one of Dallas ISD innovative prekindergarten programs, which will help them be better prepared for subsequent years—studies show that students who attend prekindergarten experience higher academic successes long-term.

To learn more about how prekindergarten can help students succeed and eligibility requirements, join one of the district’s virtual Discover Pre-K webinars on Saturday, April 2, or Saturday, April 30, starting at 10 a.m. Register for the virtual events at

“When students come through our pre-K program, they are set up for better success in the future,” said Elena Hill, assistant superintendent for early learning. “It is encouraging to see the benefits our pre-k program are having on our youngest learners.”

Dallas ISD is offers options to ensure that every child is able to take advantage of its early learning programs.

To qualify for FREE prekindergarten children must meet at least ONE of the following requirements:

  • Economically disadvantaged
  • English Language Learner
  • Homeless
  • Foster care (currently or formerly)
  • Child of an active member of the armed forces or a member of the armed forces killed/injured during active duty.
  • Child of a Star of Texas Award recipient

Students who do not qualify based on these criteria may qualify for a prekindergarten scholarship for other reasons:

  • Dallas ISD’s historical academic needs, as identified in district data (currently identified as African American students)
  • Expanded income bracket
  • English language proficiency (any parent can request their child be tested)

Children who do not meet the eligibility requirements for free prekindergarten or a scholarship can still enroll by paying tuition, an option available in several schools across the district.

For more information or to receive assistance with enrollment, visit or call 214-932-7735.

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Special calendar offers unique enrichment opportunities

Special education teacher Pamela Appiah-Opoku has a passion for gardening, one that is not limited to her free time. Some of her favorite memories from her eight years at Boude Storey Middle School come from her involvement in their community garden, which she helps to maintain along with other teachers, teaching assistants and interested students. Thanks to Boude Storey’s school day redesign calendar, she now has extra time to work on the crops for harvest. Extra time for special projects is one of the benefits teachers around the district could enjoy by taking advantage of the open transfer period through April 15.

As one of only five Dallas ISD schools following the School Day Redesign calendar, Boude Storey’s year starts at the beginning of August and ends in late June with several days set aside for planning, leading to more enrichment and acceleration opportunities.

“Normally, the students would have to stay after school during the week to participate in their various extracurricular activities,Campus Staff News | Page 71 (12) but with the School Day Redesign, there is time already built in where students can attend all their various clubs,” Appiah-Opoku said. “Our administration was adamant about making sure that the clubs were not just meeting to meet but were being intentional about our time and making sure that we have hands-on activities for the students.”

Campus Staff News | Page 71 (13)Appiah-Opoku has seen exciting results in the gardening club. Not only have they successfully harvested their own produce, but their students have also learned to make recipes like lettuce wraps and homemade salsa. Best of all, Appiah-Opoku said there is “something for everyone.”

Boude Storey has plenty of options for curious students, from a financial literacy club, which teaches budgeting and other real-life money concepts, to a good vibes club, which emphasizes positivity. The school also provides mentoring opportunities and encourages students to explore their heritage and history.

“It’s very family-oriented,” Appiah-Opoku said. “We’re always doing something for our kids to get them excited, like there have been different types of carnivals and concerts, so there’s always something fun going on for both the staff and students to look forward to.”

Teachers who are interested in experiencing the close-knit, engaged community a special calendar can provide have the opportunity to explore during the district’s open transfer period. The open transfer process allows current Dallas ISD teachers, instructional coaches, counselors and media specialists to accept a position at another campus for the following school year.

Eligible employees must apply online by using their EAD login at and following the internal openings link. Employees who do not apply will not be eligible to participate.

As far as Appiah-Opoku is concerned, any school in Dallas ISD is worth considering. Of course, she is partial to her own community and its enriching special calendar.

“I would just say for Boude Storey, we have great administration and great staff, who are really eager to help our students learn, and we’re just seeking excellence here,” she said. “So if excellence is what you’re after, then Boude Storey is your place.”

Interested employees must apply online by April 15, 2022. To be eligible for an open transfer, employees must:

  • Hold a valid Texas Teacher Certificate in the requested subject-area vacancy and meet TEA/SBEC Certification Standards for the position
  • Not be entering their fourth year of an Alternative Certification Program
  • Not be identified for non-renewal at the end of the current school year due to performance
  • For instructional coaches only: must receive approval from recommending campus executive director

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Campus Staff News | Page 71 (2024)


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