The Teacher Leadership Council is comprised of at least one teacher representative from each campus. These individuals meet regularly with the Superintendent to discuss and share insight on questions and topics submitted by teachers at each campus. The items of districtwide interest are addressed in the meeting and written responses provided to the teacher representatives for them to take back to their campus. Those same questions are also posted to this Teacher Leadership FAQ and shared in the regular internal e-newsletter "Staff News."
- The expectations of the internalization with Amplify. Is it at the school or teacher's discretion?
- Is there any district program/support for our new teachers...especially those that are in alternative certification programs? Many of them are expressing feeling excessive amounts of stress.
- What is the districts' plan to meet the House Bill 3 requiring all districts to have an armed security guard on all campuses? As of September 1st, Duncanville ISD is not in compliance with the new HB. What are the districts' immediate plans to comply?
- The district enrollment is down and continues to drop due to parent's choice. With enrollment numbers down, why is the district continuing to add additional administrative positions to campuses?
- If principals only focus on misbehavior they are not differentiating for students that DO behave. Thoughts?
- With the ongoing shortage of teachers, support staff and substitute teachers; why has the district not addressed compensating those district employees that are taking on additional roles, job assignments and responsibilities?
- Could we be more proactive with holding families and students accountable for their attendance? For instance, I have had students miss over 40 days and that should be unacceptable.
- If we expect teachers to know student names, shouldn't we expect our principal to know ours?
- When do you plan to have staff positions filled?
- What are your thoughts on how some teachers feel spoken at rather than spoken to? Building relationships is key for teachers. Why is it not for principals?
- When can we expect principals to be authentic when addressing staff?
- Gen Z teachers have been claimed to be "quiet quitters". What are you doing to combat this?
- Would it be possible to change our pay schedule to the 15th instead of the 25th? Waiting until the end of the month has become challenging.
- If the bond does not pass, are we still planning on updating our classroom projectors?
- We know that there are many vacancies, and many classes are left without teachers. This is causing many teachers to have to sub classes. How can we help prevent teacher burnout? Could we provide teachers with extra pay for having to cover classes?
- Are tardy stations going to be open for 20 minutes after class starts in order to get the kids tardy passes who then show up to class almost 30 minutes late?
- Vector Safe Schools “Attendance Matters” session and a recent email on regarding “Attendance Changes don't match in policy. One says 15 minutes and the other says 30 minutes tardiness for marking a student absent. Could both policies match?
- Why can't substitute watch more than one class. We have teachers that are watching multiple classes everyday and there’s not a lot of learning going on in those classes. If our teachers can watch multiple classes, why can’t a sub?
- Why did the district make the decision to adopt a block schedule at the Intermediate Level? Studies have shown that a block schedule causes students to lose continuity.
- Extending the workday by thirty minutes gives us a pay cut. Working more hours but receiving no compensation. When the contracts were signed, the expectation was a 7.5hr workday. This additional 30 minutes results in a loss of thousands of dollars .
- The "Sweet Deal" that was promised by the district at the start of the school year dealing with medical/insurance assistance...If the employee’s medical expenses do not result in a cost of $373, will the employee receive the difference on their paycheck?
- What happened to the stipend give for returning staff of 15 years or more? Why has there been nothing stated about the stipend this year? When it was initially approved, it was stated that the stipend would be given annually.
- What does the district plan to do about students carrying phones during school hours? Cell phones are a proven distraction in class and Students repeatedly misuse. What are Duncanville ISD's plans to assist with limiting distractions ?
- How can the district justify having students and bus drivers on buses without air-conditioning in the Texas heat? There are students and adults with health issues that shouldn't be subjected to these conditions whether or not the Bond passes.
- The district leadership team states that Duncanville ISD is offering competitive salaries to teachers in their "Sweet Deal" initiative. When will the district finally acknowledge that they are not offering a proper living wage for their teaching staff?
- When should we expect our security requirements to be met. This was voted on by Texas Legislature. We should have had armed security personnel, or armed staff personnel by September 1st and to my knowledge that has not happened.
- If we aren't able to get raises, is there some type of incentive that we give to our teachers who return to Duncanville?
- Are returning teachers getting a raise? The communication that came out in the summer was very vague. If not, can those communications be clearer so we can have a better idea?
- Can something be done for the pot smell in the hallways during lunch? It is enough to give me a headache when I just open the door.
- Can we get the bells to ring on time? They seem to ring on time for tardies but not for release and it is hard for students to understand that they must wait for the bell when others are being released.
- I’d love a ban on phone flashing notifications for everyone who doesn’t have hearing-impaired accommodation. The strobes cause seizures and migraines. I’ve had FOUR migraines since teachers returned to campus.
- Can we consider ditching the traditional high stakes observation/evaluation model and make observations brief, more frequent and unannounced?
- Some of our more experienced teachers feel powerless. There is no official forum or platform for them to assert this influence or to circumvent the traditional chain of command. Is there any way to establish some sort of elder council for these folks?
- Can we PLEASE consider making staff meetings virtual? Most people can barely hear what's being said in person. This would no longer be an issue if the meetings were virtual.
- Is the bilingual teacher deficit happening across the district? Other districts utilized a program that would provide room & board for teachers from other countries (Spain) to teach in their district. Could we partner with local business?
- When the athletic director has been reassigned during an investigation from UIL, who is responsible if more violations are uncovered? What happens to the players?
- Will the custodians receive a raise since they are doing two people work?
- The community is shocked that the UIL has not cracked down on the number of ineligible athletes due to grades. Is there an active UIL investigation of all Duncanville High School athletic departments since the recent investigation & judgment?
- How to make PDCE courses more accessible for teachers? When will the reading curriculum guide for kinder be added? It's been missing since December. Most teachers are creating their lessons.
- Too much testing. Pay. We are told to do XYZ but not how to do it.
- My fifth graders have lost a significant amount of time due to first middle of the year MAP testing, then 3 days lost to Interim testing. Are both tests really necessary?
- Why was the turn around time for the PLC conference reimbursement in San Antonio almost 3 months?
- Now that the district is offering a full day PK-3 program, are there any plans in the near future for new playground equipment to accommodate the needs of our PK students?
- Brandenburg What is the criteria for the "Continued Employment Incentive"?
- How will teacher evaluations be affected when teachers are evaluated with one to two other classes present. These students have no work left for them and teachers cannot get the students’ real name for disciplinary actions.
- How is the district going to be competitive to attract new teachers?
- Why aren’t assistant principals covering classes?
- The district continues to put teachers in an impossible situation. Due to teacher and substitute shortages, we are covering classes daily, with 40 to 60 students in a class. What is being done to prioritize this issue and focus on a solution?
- New PanelWhen will the district stop taking new to district students? We continue to get new students, placed in classes in the second semester, at the 3rd nine weeks, who have no content background or knowledge.
- Will students who purchased the Chromebook insurance and had devices serviced be getting them back this year? My students have not received devices back from months ago.
- Mr. William Groene dedicated 35 years of service to Duncanville High School. May we please ensure that he has a bronze plaque besides the other proud Duncanville Educators of the past? Thank you for your consideration.
- Is Duncanville considering going to a four-day work week?
- How many and what days are to be the make up days for the Ice Storm?
- Can we have some time in our classrooms on our early release days rather than making it a PD day?
- Why are we 1:1 with no technology resources for lower grade levels? for example, we did away with istation but we have nothing to monitor progress throughout the nine weeks.
- -My areas of concern for the district are staff shortages and low morale among staff.
- I am concerned about the lack of resources for teachers, particularly resources in Spanish for bilingual teachers. Valuable resources have been eliminated. I'm concerned about growing class sizes, currently have bilingual classes of 30 students.
- We are over testing our students. We do not need DAs and CAs and Interims and Mock STAAR test. Teachers should maintain their own records and their own data so that they can inform instruction accordingly.
- Can we get the autonomy and trust to calibrate the activities and lessons we have spent years developing? The Curriculum Guide was designed with the intention to be a guide for teachers rather than a BIBLE for teachers.
- We have too many kids per classroom to render effective teaching practices. Bilingual students at our campus are at a rate of 30+ students per classroom. English students are at 28+ per classroom. We are still reeling from learning losses to COVID.
- How can you help our Bilingual programs? Is there a way to provide support to teachers with high amounts of students per class?
- The curriculum guides are not aligned with what we are required to assess our students. The guides are never completed on time for us to prepare for lessons. The use of just a certain resource limits us to student needs.
- We understand that students need to be prepared for STAAR, younger students are not yet ready for abstract concepts, why force them to test on computers? What is the harm in allowing them to have the test in front of them as they take the test?
- Why aren't we doing more about students with low attendance? When will parents be held accountable instead of teachers being charged with the task of doing more work to fill gaps that are a direct result of poor attendance?
- How are teachers supposed to consistently implement initiatives when the individuals who are in charge of things like curriculum keeps changing?
- Every year we have new initiatives, sometimes they last a year or more. When more than one initiative is being pushed, have we considered phasing out initiatives to a few campuses to see the results before it is pushed to the whole district?el
- Can we stick to one lesson template for at least a few years. In the past 5 years we have had 4 different lesson plan templates. Keeping the same template will give teachers more time to focus on improving or changing activities from the previous years.
- DHS Student - Why do we have to take tests in classes where we didn't have teachers in, to properly learn the material on the test.
- I purchased insurance for my daughter's ipad. I thought she would bring it home. I was told today by her school that most elementary schools in the district will keep the ipads at school. If I am paying insurance, shouldn't the device come home?
- Is Dr. Smith aware that there is a lack of consistency in the district? Teachers are told several different things each day/week which causes for a lot of inconsistency in our instruction.
- Is the district looking into paying teachers that have to cover classes for consecutive days? For example, if a class isn’t picked up by a sub and the class must be split.
- My question is why are we having virtual teachers instead of in person teachers? I feel like virtual learning isn't efficient enough for us students, as a student, I feel that we should have in person learning where we can communicate effectively.
- Because of the over testing in CORE classes, CA, DA, and many others, many students are no longer putting forth any effort on these tests and are making grades of 14, 21, etc. How can the data we are required to compile be anywhere near accurate?
- Is there a plan for another district wide hiring event to try and fill teacher vacancies? If not, what is the district doing to try to address the situation?
- We are being told that we are spending too much time on topics. However, we are following the pacing guide from the district. Who should we speak with for further clarity?
Q: We had a training provided by the Dyslexia therapists and specialist. It was great information but, one slide was particularly disappointing. It showed that 10-20% of a school population is usually Dyslexic. Our district, which has 11,000 students (according to the presentation), only has around 300 students identified as Dyslexic. They also expressed the concern of lack of identification. The experience when referring students to get tested has been the following:
- I’ve been asked why I’m referring so many students.
- Not all students that were referred were tested.
-I was asked to not refer any more students due to lack of personnel.
I understand the need of the proper staff to have this completed but, we know how many students are in our district, as well as an estimate of how many students should be identified. Why not use this data to plan ahead and hire/contract the proper amount of personnel needed to identify our students?
As for parent denial, why not have workshops conducted by the Parent Liaison where they are educated on what it means to get their child tested and qualifying for services. A lot of parents believe that SpEd/Dyslexia services are like the past, where students were segregated in a classroom and treated differently. They also don't want their child to be "labeled" because of past experiences.
These are students that, if by the end of 3rd grade they’re not reading on grade level, they’re 4 times more likely to not graduate. This should give us more sense of urgency to identify them as soon as possible. I know there are dyslexia screeners conducted in kinder and 1st grade, but what about those students that’s weren’t identified, that came from other districts, that are in older grade levels and weren’t part of those screeners? We can’t fail them. And as the statistics show, we have not even identified 10% of our population.
Our Child Find obligations require us to actively find and serve students with disabilities. We are always looking to improve our processes and practices in Duncanville ISD. With that, we are rolling out a new special education referral process districtwide on December 13th to go into effect in January 2023. This new process will allow stakeholders (administrators, teachers, counselors, parents, etc) to be a part of the decision making process regarding next steps to getting students the support and services they require to be successful in school.
State law in Texas changed in February 2022, requiring all dyslexia evaluations to be initiated through special education. Previously, many of the evaluations were initiated through 504. Because of this change, districts across the state are walking into uncharted territories and therefore, we don’t have any previous data to guide our staffing decisions. Moving forward, we will continue to monitor the number of special education (dyslexia) referrals and evaluations to better guide our staffing needs.
In addition to the above improvements, we implemented an MTSS program across the district. With MTSS, we are prioritizing the needs of all students through intervention, remediation, and extension. Our hope is that not only will we be addressing student needs, we will also be able to increase the number of students identified with dyslexia, and the rate of doing so, because we are actively monitoring how students are responding to provided interventions. In addition to our MTSS process, we are working to increase our dyslexia identification rate this school year by:
Training all principals and district leadership on the characteristics of dyslexia (completed)
Training all campus staff districtwide on the characteristics of dyslexia (completed)
Kinder/1st grade dyslexia screening (Spring 2023)
Kinder/1st grade teacher training (January 2023)
Parent Program - (in development)
We are always looking for ways to better support our dyslexia program and increase the number of students we serve. If you have any additional questions or feedback to provide, we welcome you to reach out to Samantha Sneed-Echebelem, PhD - Director of Intervention Services.
- Can same grade levels across different campuses meet to share effective ideas? This can bring about collaboration within the district.
- Teachers are currently being marked down on evaluations for students who have their heads down on their desk during class, after the teacher has re-directed the student numerous times, in front of the administrator.
- In the District’s attempt to be proactive regarding higher scores on this year’s STAAR Test, you are effectively burning out many teachers. What is the District willing to do to lessen the burden on these teachers?
- Why is the district not hiring more administrators that are more representative of the student population. Currently, the Latino/Hispanic population is the highest percentage in the district; but looking at campus' Administrators, that's not reflective.
- Is the new raise for those employees that have been in the district for 15 plus years going to be a separate check or will it be dispersed over each monthly paycheck?
- Why is the district not releasing the pay scale for staff prior to signing contracts? Why does the district believe it's ok to sign a contract not knowing a salary? Do employees at Central Office sign a contract not knowing their salary first?
- What is considered the mid-range salary for teachers? The pay scale only lists up to year 20. Why does the district only list up to 20 years? Is 10 years considered mid-range point for the 6.6% raise or 15 years since 30 retirement age?
- What is the district doing to step-up the security at each campus in lieu of the recent events in Uvalde? Why is there not an assigned resource officer on each campus?
- Will the district be purchasing the Fitnessgram software to assist with the required TEA State mandated fitness testing? The district has had the software in the past, why was the license not renewed and allowed to lapse the past several years?
- Some of our classes have exceeded the recommended class size. Students weren't moved because the desire was not to interrupt the learning, but the learning is already disrupted. 29 students in one elementary class is not beneficial to anyone.
- Since we know k-2 are foundational grades levels, why aren't more resources put into strengthening the instruction in those grades? If students are given a strong foundation, wouldn't that help prevent reactive teaching in the upper grades?
- Have we considered that instead of having content conversations, allow successful schools to meet with lower rated schools and collaborate on what is happening in their schools?
- What will take the place of Istation? When will the replacement program be available? When will training for the program start?
- There is supposed to be a longevity bonus paid to those employees who have 15 years with the District. Does all 15 have to be in Duncanville? And, how is that bonus to be paid? All at once or spread out over the year?
- What is being done to retain quality teachers? There is a push to increase the pay in order to bring teachers into the profession where is the same push to keep teachers.
- When our website moved to the current platform, Teachers lost the ability to create an informational website of their own. Will we ever get that capability back or is it gone forever?
- Why did they eliminate Achieve 3000 when the data showed a marked increase in student reading Lexiles for students that used it?
- New Panel