Author: Lawana Porter

STAAR is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, which are tests designed to measure how well students have mastered the knowledge and skills for each grade level. Dallas ISD offers a variety of resources to inform parents about the upcoming tests. The recent STAAR Live Forum, hosted by the district’s Office of Family and Community Engagement, featured detailed  answers to these and other questions: What is STAAR? What skills do STAAR tests measure? Which students are required to take the tests? How can a parent determine how a child performed on STAAR? Parents and staff from across the…

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Families who attend this Saturday’s African American Read-in are in for a feast of literature, music, and dance. The agenda features an African drum and dance ensemble, student dance groups, a jazz band and a Reader’s Walk showcasing students sharing poems and passages from their favorite books. This all takes place this Saturday, Feb. 20, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Cornerstone Baptist Church, 1819 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. The event theme is Reading is The Wave of Life. The celebration is free and open to the community. Author Cheryl Wills will share with students her love for reading and writing.  Wills’ book,…

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Trustees expressed their support Thursday night for a proposal to give $1,000 retention stipends to veteran distinguished teachers who did not receive pay raises this year under the Teacher Excellence Initiative. This school year, 148 veteran teachers who received a distinguished effectiveness level — placing them among the top-performing teachers in the district — received no raises because their salaries exceeded the amount set for a distinguished teacher. Another 20 distinguished veteran teachers received raises of less than $1,000 for the same reason. The proposal discussed at Thursday’s board meeting would provide a one-time retention stipend of up to $1,000…

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What would life be like without books and reading? The question alone is a scary thought for anyone who loves reading. The children at Cornerstone Baptist Church, one sponsor of the Feb. 20 African American Read-In, may have tapped in to that idea in coming up with the theme for the event, Reading is the Wave of Life. The theme emphasizes the importance of reading and suggests that without books and reading, life would be much less interesting. Given that view, you might wonder why aren’t more people reading and why aren’t more parents reading to their children. These are…

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Lunchtime on Feb. 12 could prove to be a much more pleasant experience than usual for hundreds of Dallas ISD’s middle schoolers. With the help of counselors, students at the district’s 37 middle schools are pledging to make their schools kinder, more caring places to learn by inviting everyone to the lunch table on No One Eats Alone Day. A national, peer-led initiative sponsored by the nonprofit organization Beyond Differences, No One Eats Alone Day is aimed at ending social isolation in middle schools and creating a culture in which all kids feel included, valued and accepted by their peers.…

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Texas school counselors converged on Dallas by the hundreds this week for the 2016 Texas School Counselor Conference held at the Wyndham Anatole Hotel. The agenda of workshop sessions, information sharing and recognition left counselors energized and renewed, said Dallas ISD Counseling Services Director Dr. Sylvia Lopez who serves as president of the Texas School Counselor Association. Dallas ISD counselors were well represented at the conference, and several led workshop sessions. A highlight of the event was a Texas-sized congratulation to district counselors and their colleagues in the form of a proclamation from Texas Governor Greg Abbott and presented by…

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Graduating seniors are invited to apply for a pair of district scholarships during the month of February. High school counselors are now accepting applications for the Sulentic and Superintendent’s scholarships. Applications are online at https://www.dallasisd.org/Page/207. The deadline to apply for four $10,000 scholarships funded by the Sulentic Family Foundation is Feb. 26, 2016. To be eligible for the Sulentic scholarship, students must meet these requirements: Have a minimum 2.5 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Demonstrate financial need. Be accepted by one or more colleges or universities. May not be related to a Dallas ISD employee or any member of the…

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Dallas ISD’s finest band musicians will take center stage this Saturday for the all-city band concert at Moises Molina High School. Many of the 200 student musicians have proven their skill by performing difficult musical selections in multiple rounds of district and regional contests. On Friday and Saturday, Jan. 29 and 30, these middle and high school band stars will practice and perform during a special clinic sponsored by the district’s Visual and Performing Arts department. Each year, the department brings in noted music educators to work with the district’s talented young musicians in preparation for the all-city band concert.…

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Parents of graduating seniors may not be aware that filing their tax returns early can put their child in front of the line for financial aid consideration. Dallas ISD counselors are working to inform parents that early filing can mean more tuition aid dollars for students headed to college. Families in North Texas who earn less than $54,000 can get personalized help from an IRS-certified tax preparer at more than 30 area tax preparation sites. Families can also file online with United Way’s MyFreeTaxes, a product of H&R Block, at no charge if they earn less than $62,000. The Free…

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“I will use each day to the fullest. I promise that each day shall be gained, not lost, used, not thrown away.” That affirmation is an excerpt from the school creed recited by students each day at the O.W. Holmes Humanities/Communications Academy. The brainchild of Holmes’ Principal Sharron Jackson, the creed is meant to set the tone for a positive day of study and academic progress for the school’s 750 students. Schools often employ creeds as a sort of mission statement that builds students’ sense of self-worth and shapes their attitudes toward school and learning. Members of the Holmes’ student…

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