Come take the Buckle Up For Life pledge on Tuesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. at Amber Terrace Discovery & Design Early Childhood Academy, 224 Amber Lane.

Only 1 of 4 children is in the right car seat, and 1 of 3 rides unrestrained! Using the correct car seat reduces infant and child fatalities in an accident by as much as 71%!

Anyone in the community can attend the Car Seat Safety Presentation – Tues., March 7 at 6 p.m. in English, or Tues., March 21 at 12:15 p.m. in Spanish. Families can then have their car seat inspected April 29. Outdated or expired car seats will be replaced by Children’s Health Hospital at no charge!

Save the date and attend this important safety event, it can save your child’s life!

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As DeSoto ISD begins construction on a new elementary school, located southeast of the Polk/Uhl Rd. and Parkerville Rd. intersection, the Board has requested input from the community for the name of the new school. The school is scheduled to open in the fall of 2018 and will include a technology magnet program.

The responsibility for naming facilities rests with the Board of Trustees for the DeSoto ISD. When the Board is considering naming a new facility, suggestions can include:

  • A person or persons who served the district or community, especially children
  • A state or national heroic figure
  • A person or persons who made a significant contribution to society and/or education and name shall lend prestige and status to an institute of learning
  • A local residential or geographic area

Individuals or groups wishing to submit a suggested name can use the online form to include the suggested name, reason for their suggestion and their contact information by Friday, March 10 at 12 noon. Recommendations will be compiled and submitted to the Board for consideration.

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DeSoto ISD is considering new school start times for the 2017-18 school year to enhance optimal student learning based on brain development and sleep cycles, especially in adolescents. On Monday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m. the Board will hold a Public Hearing regarding the considered times for the community to come express their views. The meeting will be held in the Board Room at 200 E. Belt Line Road.

In addition to optimal student learning, the district has also taken into consideration the bus routes and daylight savings times, as well as extra-curricular activities, work schedules, nutritional needs and much more. Also considered is the instructional time at school with the state requiring 76,500 minimum minutes of instruction each year. Each school day will be 450 minutes per day based on the current approved 172 days of school for a total of 77,400 minutes per year.

Should the district pursue and approve a District of Innovation plan that includes an alternative school calendar for 2017-18, the times may change if additional days are added.

Essentially we are flipping the elementary and high school schedules while the middle school ends 15 minutes earlier.

Considered New Start Times:

Early Childhood Academy


7:45 a.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Elementary Schools

K to 5th grade

7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Middle Schools

6th to 8th grade

8:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

High School

9th to 12th grade

8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Doors open times:

  • Elementary Schools - 7:00 a.m.
  • Middle Schools - 7:30 a.m.
  • High School - 8:00 a.m.


The district will hold a second Public Hearing immediately following to hear from the community regarding the pursuit of the District of Innovation designation by TEA (Texas Education Agency).

A District of Innovation is a concept passed by the 84th Legislative Session in House Bill 1842 that gives traditional independent school districts most of the flexibilities available to Texas’ open enrollment charter schools. To access these flexibilities, a school district must adopt an innovation plan, as set forth in the Texas Education Code chapter 12A.

DeSoto ISD has chosen to explore and pursue this opportunity for flexibility to create new opportunities for and better serve our students. A link on the district website provides the timeline DeSoto ISD has laid out along with links to informative presentations, agendas of public meetings, and resources provided by TEA and the TASB (Texas Association of School Boards).

Exemptions from mandates could include:

  • School start date
  • 90% attendance rule
  • Class-size ratios
  • Site-based decision-making processes
  • Certain student discipline provisions
  • Use of planning and preparation periods
  • Teacher appraisal requirements and certifications
  • Age-based placement for Pre-K
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In the competitive arena of education, DeSoto ISD has stepped up to create the best opportunities for every DeSoto ISD student.


“We offer every major program of choice for students today including iSTEAM, fine arts, medical, business and law, two college degree programs, leadership academies, linguistics, and more!” stated Superintendent David Harris.

So how do you get into a magnet program?

  1. Apply online by the deadline – one per student, you can prioritize your programs of choice
  2. Be sure to upload your current report card and address verification.
  3. Fine Arts auditions in February – prepare your audition based on your field of performance.
  4. Watch for March notification of program acceptance.

Applications for eleven (11) DeSoto ISD Magnet Academy programs opened Monday, December 19, 2016. The elementary and middle school applications close January 23, 2017, at midnight. DeSoto High School applications - Early College High School, Collegiate Magnet Program, and IB - close on January 30, 2017, at midnight.

As a selective enrollment district, students from outside the district boundaries are eligible to request enrollment. If they meet academic, discipline, and attendance criteria and space is available (DeSoto ISD students are first priority), they can be granted enrollment. Selective enrollment students are held to strict guidelines for grades, discipline, and attendance and can have their enrollment revoked if these guidelines are not met.

The iSTEAM3D Magnet Academies will utilize available slots through the lottery process which will include The Meadows Elementary, West MS, East MS, Curtistene S. McCowan MS, and DeSoto High School. The lottery will take place in early March after preference is given to students moving up from a program below.

“We know students learn at their optimum when they are engaged in what they are passionate about learning. We are building capacity for every student to succeed in the field of their dreams – and giving them the resources to succeed in college and the workplace,” stated Dr. Harris.

What are the DeSoto ISD Magnet and Innovative Programs?

Currently, DeSoto ISD has 15 magnet and innovative programs for students. It’s what every parent wants – a learning experience that engages their child, supports his or her interests, and opens pathways to success. Simply put, we are giving students and their parents the power of choice - based on personal interests and passions to take ownership in their educational experience.

  • Collegiate Magnet Program (Associate Degree at DHS)
  • Early College High School (Associate Degree at DHS)
  • International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (DHS)
  • West International Male Leadership Magnet Academy (Gr. 6-8)
  • East Medical Magnet Academy (Gr. 6-8)
  • McCowan Fine Arts Magnet Academy (Gr. 6-8)
  • Northside Business and Law Magnet Academy (Gr. 3-5)
  • Ruby Young Medical & Environmental Sciences Magnet Academy (Gr. 3-5)
  • Woodridge Fine Arts Magnet Academy (Gr. K-5)
  • Cockrell Hill Linguistics Magnet Academy (Gr. K-5)
  • Frank D. Moates Blended Learning Magnet Academy (Gr. 2-5)
  • LOTTERY - DHS iSTEAM Magnet Academy (Gr. 9-12)
  • LOTTERY - iSTEAM3D Magnet Academies (All three middle schools)
  • LOTTERY - The Meadows iSTEAM Magnet Academy (Gr. 1-5)

For more information, visit and click on Magnet Programs!

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DeSoto High School added two All-State Choir Members — Brayla Cook (Junior) & Juliana Simonfalvi (Freshman) - after the January 7 competition in Waco! Brayla made the All-State Mixed Choir in Alto 1 (the top ensemble in Texas). Juliana made the All-State Treble Choir as a Soprano 1 (the top female ensemble in Texas).

DHS has only had two All-State Choir members in the past; 1995 - Treylyn Merritt and 2014 - Marcus McGarity. Juliana Simonfalvi's mother, Rebecca, was All-State in band for DeSoto ISD in 1993!

DHS had five students total qualify for the Area event, and one of those students also qualified for the band Area event. Samuel Orta, qualified for Area in both band (flute) and choir (Tenor 1). Byron Hanspard, Jr. qualified for Area in choir (Bass 2) and Montavion McKinney qualified for Area in choir (Tenor 1). We are proud of all 45 singers from DHS who participated in the All-State process this year.

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Northside Elementary 2nd grade teacher Megan McCutchen-Mitchell was nominated for the LifeChanger of the Year award from National Life Group. LifeChanger of the Year is an annual program that recognizes and rewards K-12 education professionals.

LifeChangers must be K-12 educators, teachers, administrators or any member of a school’s staff who makes a positive difference in the lives of students. If selected, she could win up to $10,000 and additional funds for her school.

Mitchell, who was the 2016 DeSoto ISD Elementary Teacher of the Year, launched several community enrichment programs at her classroom to increase student’s experiences and expand their exposure to real world settings.

The selection committee will select 15 national winners and a Spirit Award winner. The national winners are based on the individual’s nomination and includes their ability the make a beneficial difference in the lives of students, high moral and ethical standards, and leadership.

The LifeChanger Spirit Award recognizes the community that shows the most spirit for their nominee through comments, shares on social media and recognizing the nominee at the campus.

“We encourage all DeSoto ISD and the community to take a moment to comment, post, share, like, tweet and pin in support of Mrs. Mitchell using #LCOY,” stated Dr. Lori Mathis, Principal of Northside Elementary. “We can earn $2,500 for Mrs. Mitchell, and $2,500 for the school!”

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On December 10, several DeSoto East ACE Afterschool students collaborated with Project Still I Rise and participated in the Gift of Knowledge Program, sponsored by Coamerica Bank.   

Comerica Bank provided 100 low- to moderate-income students each with $50 savings accounts for having successfully completed an online financial literacy training curriculum – Comerica’s Money $ense program. The financial literacy training equipped students with skills necessary to manage their savings accounts and make wise financial decisions in the future. 

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Despite the cold on January 7, fans and dignitaries turned out the honor the four State Titles won by DeSoto High School teams in the 2016 calendar year – Boys Basketball, Boys Track, Girls Track, and Football (6A-D2) in the DHS Dyer Gymnasium.

With food trucks out front serving warm food, guests entered to a mix of the band and a DJ, spot lights and an atmosphere of excitement! K104 DJ Lady Jade kicked off the event with the introduction of the four teams down the red carpet with cheerleaders and fans cheering them on. Once all were seated, the JROTC presented the Colors and senior Eric Adejuwon led the invocation before Principal Arista Owens-McGowan and Athletic Director Larry Davis welcomed all guests. Superintendent David Harris introduced our dignitaries, guests watched a special video message by Board President Carl Sherman, Jr. and heard from Board Vice President Aubrey C. Hooper.

DeSoto Mayor Curtistene McCowan and the City Council proclaimed the day State Champions Day and presented each group with a copy of the proclamation. Congratulations followed from Senator Royce West, Rep. Helen Giddings, Rep. Yvonne Davis and County Commissioner John Wily Price.

Each of the four coaches spoke briefly, thanking the community, our dignitaries, the district teachers and administration, the fans, parents and especially the players for their dedication and hard work to achieve each championship – Football Coach Todd Peterman, Girls Track Coach June Villers, Boys Basketball Coach Chris Dyer and Boys Track Coach Donald Miller. District football alumni – notably Ro Parrish and Corey Borner – congratulated each team, but especially the football team for accomplishing what each previous team had strived to achieve.

Finally, WFAA and Chevy had two special presentations with Chevy representative Jeff Sorrells of Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet announcing the news: DeSoto had won team of the week for Week for 15, but was also named the 2016 WFAA Chevy Team of the Year! The Football Team captains and Coach Peterman accepted the award.

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Texas Trust Credit Union and DeSoto ISD have teamed up to provide DeSoto ISD students the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of basic banking.  Through the Student Teller Education Program (STEP), Career Technical Education (CTE) students will earn a grade by working with a Texas Trust Lead Teller at the DeSoto High School branch during specifically designated hours.

DeSoto High School’s CTE program provides a variety of programs to fit student interests and needs. There are currently programs in Business and Industry, Public Services, STEM, and Arts & Humanities. Within these programs, students proceed through multiple levels of instruction and training: introduction level - 9th grade; basic information - 10th grade; and advanced level and practicum level courses during the 11th and 12th grade.

The students that run the Texas Trust Credit Union DeSoto High School Branch are Business and Industry students that have completed the prerequisite courses and are now eligible to take the Business Practicum course. This course will allow them to receive first-hand experience in the industry and better prepare them for college and the workforce. To receive their final course grades, they will be evaluated by both the Texas Trust Credit Union employee and their DeSoto High School teacher of record. 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly reopened Texas Trust DeSoto High School Branch was held the evening of October 25. Parents, teachers, school administrators and City dignitaries joined Texas Trust employees and student interns for the celebration.  

“We so appreciate partners like Texas Trust who go above and beyond to support our students and families,” stated Superintendent David Harris. “This is such a great opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience while still in high school.”

Texas Trust DeSoto High School Branch is open Monday through Friday from noon to 1:15 p.m. for opening accounts or transacting business. The DeSoto logo Texas Trust Spirit debit card can be obtained for any checking account, and every swipe of this spirit card gives back to the district. The card can be used at any TTCU branch including DHS or the ATM at the DeSoto Wal-Mart gas station.

For more information, contact Texas Trust Credit Union at (972) 263-5171 or DeSoto High School at 972-230-0726.

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The DeSoto High School Library hosted the campus Literacy Club, Collegiate Magnet Program students and Northside Elementary students for a special book signing by Dallas educator and author Shondra M. Quarles. The signing was part of the Teen Read Week Promotion to promote the 2016-17 Eagles Read Campaign.

Quarles, who has a passion for teaching, was inspired to become an author by her students. She wrote Kindergartner Wisdom because she was enthralled by their perceptions of the world. Her next book, Kinder Tales, is currently in the making. She also wrote The Teacher Who Didn’t Want to go to School, dedicated to educators around the world who make sacrifices to serve better the students they teach.

Quarles obtained her bachelor’s degree from the University of the Southwest in Early Childhood Education. She co-authored an action research project titled Chasing Core Knowledge: Where to Find the Time which was published by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

Students were able to hear from Quarles about becoming an author and as questions about the process.