Bison News

April Edition

Principal Message

Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.

Edward E. Hale

Getting our students, and staff to come together to do this important work is just the beginning but keeping the students and staff together on one page is the process. We work so hard to empower and grow everyone into leadership positions. It takes patience and cultivation to get everyone to share int he vision. This work can be tedious but if everyone shares in the work load then we are working together to build in the success of this program. This work is a team effort.

Autism Awareness Month

Autism is a complex, lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships, and self-regulation. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects people differently and to varying degrees.

While there is currently no known single cause of autism, early diagnosis helps a person receive the support and services that they need, which can lead to a quality life filled with opportunity.

Early Signs

Autism impacts an individual throughout the lifespan. However, research shows that early diagnosis can lead to improved quality of life. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” site. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Speaks later than typical or not at all (nonverbal)
  • Repetition in language or movement, such as repeating the same word or sounds, hand flapping, or any repeated movement
  • Atypical nonverbal communication, including avoiding eye contact, giving few facial expressions, or having a monotone
  • Prefers solitary or parallel play rather than engaging in associative or cooperative play with other children
  • Extremely distressed by changes, including new foods or changes in schedule
  • Preference for predictable, structured play over spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Strong, persistent interest on specific topic, part of a toy, or item



Our Principal, Mrs. Claudia Vega along with Sunset P-TECH student Luis Borja were asked to speak about weathering the storm of COVID. Each were asked to give their perspective of how it has impacted the school, student's lives and the impact it has had on education as a whole. Sunset High School has been hard hit by this pandemic. With a student population of over 2,100 and over 100 staff members, Sunset at one time only had 70-80 students on campus daily. Sunset along with other schools within the district have seen a dramatic drop in academic success. The story will be featured on CBS This Morning in May.


Steering Committee Meeting

On April 7th, our Steering Committee met to discuss the academic progress of each grade level in high courses. We also discussed the current status of college classes and the plans for the summer which include summer school college classes for juniors and seniors and Summer Bridge 2021 for the incoming freshman. Summer Bridge will take place virtually from June 28th to July 2nd. Due to the especially stressful year, this year Summer Bridge will only be one week. There was a update given on current interships applied for and accepted. Our juniors and seniors were asked to apply to Thomson Reuters, IBM and PepsiCo. Dallas Works also opened their portal for 10th through 12th graders. We had approximately 59 students apply for Dallas Works. We currently have at least 45 students moving forward with internships. Dallas Works offers positions from $10-$12 an hour while our other opportunities were $15 an hour or more. Our students will definitely have some extra money this summer. The Workplace Learning Coordinator then rolled out a Workplace Learning update and potential engagement opportunities leading up to Summer Bridge. We want to say a special "Thank You" to our partners for their continued support of our program.

  • Justin Bryant (Dallas ISD HCM)
  • Sandra Vasquez (Children's Health)
  • Blake Chambers (Dallas College)
  • Elizabeth Cheek (UNT Dallas)
  • Cynthia Perez (UNT Dallas)
  • Dr. Garner (UNT Dallas)
  • Marisa Gonzales (DCHHS)

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Advisory Board Meeting

On April 26th, we met with the Advisory Board. During this meeting we gave Spring semester academic report and next steps for high school and Dallas College graduation. As well as our projections for summer college classes. Ms. Robison gave an update on Workplace Learning accomplishments such as internships and the engagement plans for the rest of the semester. Mr. Spencer was able to highlight our 2021 spring student supports which encompasses academic and social emotional supports. We currently have Wednesday tutorials for the high school classes, a Freshman HUB via Zoom for our college classes, the Children's Health Behavioral Health series, the Just Say Yes Peer Mentoring Program and the Sunset P-TECH PALS Peer Mentoring Program.

SPECIAL THANKS to Mr. Hussain, Ms. Kaighan, Ms. Wright, Dr. De La Cruz, President Mong, Ms. Cheek, Ms. Jones, Mr. Tejeda, Ms. LaGrone and Ms. Robison for your participation at the meeting.

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Internship Updates

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We are extremely grateful for the opportunities afforded to our students through internships. We have had a number of opportunities. We currently the following number of candidates who have been offered opportunities for summer employment:

  • Dallas Works: 5 candidates
  • IBM: 31 candidates
  • Thomson Reuters: 10 candidates
  • PepsiCo: 6 candidates

The candidates are preparing paperwork and completing final requirements. The IBM students are expected to complete their Professional Skills badge through the Open P-TECH network. Through this badge students learn about presenting with purpose, collaborating effectively, interpersonal skills, delivering quality work with agility and problem solving. All students that applied obtained skills in building a clean resume, interview skills, company research and financial literacy. Once our candidates have been confirmed they will receive a workshop on Financial Literacy and the Do's and Don'ts in a Professional Environment. Congrats P-TECH students. We will name the students in next month's newsletter. P-TECH students we are proud of you taking advantage of all opportunities.


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Guest Speaker

What is Epidemiology?

On April 15th and 16th, our public health juniors and seniors were able to hear about the fascinating career of Dr. Diana Cervantes, Assistant Professor and Director, MPH Epidemiology Program at UNT Health Sciences. She also did an excellent presentation on "What is Epidemiology?" to give the students an inside perspective on the field of epidemiology. The students were able to ask questions and receive advice on this field of study. In our two career pathways, we often have 70% of them choose Public Health. There are often misconceptions about what public health is and what careers fall under its umbrella. Public Health is a broad career pathway so we want to make sure we are being intentional with the information being given to our students.

Region 10 Workshop for Teacher Education

April 8th our students participated in their last Region 10 workshop. The students took a deep dive into Lesson Planning and Design. They were able to the different aspects of lesson planning and what it truly takes to put together a good lesson that reaches all students. Our teacher education students are now volunteering at Salazar Elementary and they will either work with students are they will be asked to put together a lesson plan for topics given to them by the elementary teachers. We are so thankful to the Region 10 team for their dedication to our students and staff.

Dallas ISD LETTER OF INTENT Preparation

This year has been a very unique year. Dallas ISD Human Capital Management (HCM) normally has an Annual Letter of Intent Celebration but due to COVID and CDC guidelines this was an impossible task. During the Letter of Intent Celebration our sophomore students receive a certificate and they sign legal letters of intents guaranteeing their employment with Dallas ISD as an educator upon the completion of their bachelors degree and teaching certification. They are truly committed to growing their own. Our industry partner did not want our sophomores to miss out on an experience until we return to campus again.

Public Health Advisory Committee Meeting

Each quarter our Sunset P-TECH students are invited to join the Dallas County Public Health Advisory Board. This quarter's meeting met on April 15th. The students was able to hear how Dallas County is dealing with West Nile Virus during COVID, and the Dallas County COVID-19 updates. It is an excellent opportunity for our students to understand the many stakeholders involved in keeping everyone safe.
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Children's Health Apprenticeship Program Presentation

We currently have an active partnership with Children's Health who support the Public Health pathway. We were fortunate to have Jesus Vazquez-Alvarez to speak to our students on April 30th about an Apprenticeship opportunity that begins in January of 2022. The position is a Patient Care Technician with many benefits. The application opens in the fall and the apprenticeship begins in the spring of 2022. Also, Sheila LaWilliams joined from their Human Resource department to tell the students about a host of entry level positions within the hospital for students who may not go off to college or for those who may need to work part time while attending college. This was very useful information to our graduating seniors as they prepare for the next chapter in their journey. We are so proud of these students and their accomplishments. We want to make sure they leave knowing all of their possibilities or at least who to ask.
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Depression Workshop with Children's Health

April 9th, we had our most powerful social emotional workshop on Depression. No one has been exempt from experiencing challenging and difficult times. COVID-19 has impacted every family, citizen and especially our students across the country. No one could predict a global pandemic. It has been especially hard for students who depend on their social lives to thrive. Students have found themselves isolated from everything they know but still having to navigate their education. Across the country, schools are seeing the effects of online learning and we can all agree we were not prepared. Some students are suffering through isolation, death of family members and for some of our Sunset family death of a parent.
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Return of Bison Buddies

Finding Power in Purpose with TX Women's Foundation

Texas Women's Foundation has become a fond engagement partnerships for our young

Criminal Justice Site Visit

Our newest member of the Sunset High School family is the Sunset Criminal Justice Collegiate Academy. On April 30th, CJCA experienced their first site visit from their industry partner, Dallas Police Department. Sunset High School hosted an esteemed panel of guest which included the newly appointed police chief, Edgardo Garcia, Deputy Chief Brian Lusk, Assistant Superintendent Dr. Usamah Rodgers and Executive Director Cheryl Nevels. The Sunset P-TECH team supported Criminal Justice team by giving context to the P-TECH model as they move from being a Collegiate Academy to being a state certified P-TECH program. During this visit, Ms. Sandra Soto and Mr. Durand spoke of the amazing things they have done so far and how they will begin to cultivate the partnership with Dallas Police Department. Mr. Ralph Spencer, Sunset -PTECH Administrator, gave context to the framework of the P-TECH program by explaining the state required blueprint. Ms. Tamara Robison, the Sunset P-TECH Workplace Learning Coordinator, spoke the types of activities that should take place with the industry partner.


Annual Letter of Intent Celebration

Each year our industry partner, Dallas ISD Human Capital Management, hosts an Annual Letter of Intent Celebration. Each year the celebration has grown but like everything else COVID slowed the momentum of this prestigious event. During this event, the Teacher Education students are recognized for choosing teacher education for their career pathway. Sophomore students sign letters that guarantees them a job with Dallas Independent School District upon the completion of their bachelors degree and certification. This program is designed for our students to work closely with the industry partners in hopes that one day they will become future employees. This year Dallas ISD HCM did not want COVID to stop this event entirely. So this year each 10th grade Teacher Education student will receive a gift from Dallas ISD HCM. The gift consists of: a special made box with a Future Teacher t-shirt, a cup and spiral from our college partner UNT Dallas Emerging Teacher Institute, pens, pencils and a special made Future Teacher bag. Dallas ISD wanted to set the tone for this expectation by offering legal letters of intent to join the district. They have definitely stood behind the phrase "Growing Your Own". Thank you Dallas ISD HCM for your continued support.
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Graduation Information

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Our College Acceptances

Janie Macias accepted to The University of Texas at Arlington

Yesenia Tejeda accepted to the UNT Dallas Presidential Scholars for 2021-2022

Maydeli Gonzalez-UNT DALLAS and Texas A&M of Commerce

Jourdyn Hawkins-Texas Women's University

Daniel Betancourt-Southern Methodist University

Ana Ledesma- University of Texas at Dallas

Moses Guevara- The University of Texas at Arlington & Texas A & M University Texarkana

Luis Borja-The University of Texas at Arlington

Enrique Cedillo-University of North Texas at Dallas

Amy Campos-University of North Texas at Dallas

Eliyah Tobias-

Valerie Rangel-St. Mary's University

Abigail Hernandez-Texas Women's University & University of Texas at Dallas

Mario Garcia-Texas Women's University & University of Texas at Dallas