Photo courtesy of Dallas ISD

By Raven Jordan

The Dallas Education Foundation recently celebrated Dallas ISD arts educators at its second Heart of Teaching Gala on Nov. 1.

The foundation is Dallas ISD’s nonprofit philanthropic partner that invests in student advancement.

Instead of having their students perform, the gala was designed for arts teachers to showcase their own talents; including dance, mariachi and instrumental music while raising funds for students across the district.

For several teachers [like Hope Crockett] , a dance teacher at Wilmer Hutchins High School, and South Oak Cliff’s head band director William Allen, this was their first year attending the gala. 

Both say the Dallas Education Foundation benefits their students because the funding for arts programs is needed.

“A lot of our students in the district go without, and we don’t want to feel as if our students won’t be able to excel due to not having enough financial support,” Allen says. “So, the money being used to go towards our arts program [when I say arts, I mean music]. We need more instruments, so we’re trying to grow our programs.”

Crockett says she’s glad Wilmer Hutchins dance program arts in the district are on the foundation’s radar now.

“Oftentimes, fine arts get forgotten about, so I think it was very impactful and I’m glad that we are on their radar. What a lot of people don’t know is we have the largest fine arts, especially dance, programs in the state of Texas.”

The educators also pointed out how the arts can translate to other classes and provide an outlet for students to express themselves.

Everyone in attendance either worked for Dallas ISD formally or were a product of Dallas ISD in one of the fine arts programs and were able to mix and mingle in a different setting than the classroom.

“It was impactful just to see so many people just believing in the works of the teachers of Dallas ISD when it comes to performing arts, especially with the emphasis on instrumental music and dance, and just speaking with the people that were there to help donate their stories,” Allen says.

The Dallas Education Foundation also showed appreciation to teachers from Raul Quintanilla, T. W. Brown, Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, Conrad, Carter, W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy, Bedford Law Academy, Zan W. Holmes E.D. Walker and Bryan Adams.

All proceeds from the gala directly fund innovative teaching grants that equitably integrate the arts and instruction, according to Dallas ISD. This year’s Heart of Teaching Campaign is taking place now through Dec. 31.