Join me in saluting a brave District 3 teacher who is showing her students the importance of perseverance even as she fights a battle against cancer.
Katrina Cooper, a third- and fourth-grade math and science teacher at Hexter Elementary School, was given six months to live after a cancer diagnosis 11 months ago. But she fought back, undergoing months of chemotherapy, radiation and gene therapy. All the while, she continued to teach when she could, declaring that teaching is “more than a job to me. It’s my passion.”
Students say their teacher’s determination to fight cancer has taught them to never give up.
Mrs. Cooper is hospitalized now, but she remains in good spirits, despite partial paralysis.
Students and co-workers have rallied around her, decorating the school with purple butterflies, her favorite color, and tweeting words of encouragement with the hashtag #TeamCooper. Colleague Amanda Rodriguez has launched a Go Fund Me page to help with medical costs.
Our Teacher of the Year Finalist
Congratulations to Peter Morrissey of Alex Sanger Preparatory School, who was named a finalist for district Teacher of the Year! Now in his 17th year as a Dallas ISD educator, Mr. Morrissey teaches general education and English as a Second Language at Sanger. Best of luck, Mr. Morrissey!
Alex Sanger Preparatory Expansion
I was pleased to join in the ribbon cutting for Alex Sanger’s renovated building and the addition of 22 classrooms, which will allow students to remain in their neighborhood school during the crucial middle school years. The added space will make room for both dual language and general education for grades 6-8.
Time to Learn
In District 3, the following schools have elected to adopt an “intersession” calendar, which extends the school year to start at the beginning of August and end in late June: W.H. Gaston and Sam Tasby middle schools and Highland Meadows, Jack Lowe Sr., Jill Stone and George Truett elementary schools.
This calendar creates time for five additional intersession weeks spread throughout the year. During the intersession weeks, select students will have opportunities for more personalized attention in smaller groups, while teachers will benefit from additional planning time at the start of every intersession week. Not all students will be asked to attend the extra intersession weeks.
Dallas ISD seeks to increase presence of Latino male educators
Dallas ISD is launching a campaign to hire 10 Latino male professionals next fall and put them on the path to becoming certified teachers, as part of an initiative aimed at recruiting teachers who represent the students they serve. This effort follows in the footsteps of a similar program launched last year in which 12 Black male teachers were hired to serve at high-priority campuses.
Interested applicants must have a bachelor’s degree in any field and a GPA of 2.5 or above to be considered. Latino men interested in applying are encouraged to email their resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental Health Symposium
Help is available if the pandemic and all its related upheaval are causing you stress. Dallas ISD’s Mental Health Services team offers FREE mental health support for students and families. Students, staff, parents and community members are invited to join us virtually Saturday, May 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the Mental Health Matters Virtual Symposium. To register, visit www.mentalhealthmattersdallas.com.
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