Sunset Bison News

January/February Edition

Principal's Message

We are beginning a new semester. Let's take some time to reflect on what we did well and maybe not so well last semester and build a solid plan to finish strong this semester. Remember.." What kind of competitor see's the finish line and slows down ALWAYS FINISH STRONG"

Gary Ryan Blair

Nearing the Finish Line

To the Seniors:

As we begin the last semester for our seniors, our first, our babies...we will never forget the day you entered wide-eyed and excited, full of energy. Unsure of where this journey would take you. Though the road has been tough and sometimes very challenging, you have made it to this point. So in the last stretch to the finish line remember we are here to continuously support you and ensure you succeed. When you grow too tired to read one more page or type one more paper, we whisper to you "finish strong and BE GREAT"





On January 11th-15th, our UNT Dallas seniors participated in UNT Dallas second semester orientations to ensure they were fully prepared for the new semester. These efforts are led by Mrs. Elizabeth Cheek, Executive Director of UNT Dallas to ensure students understand the expectations of the university. Mrs. Cheek does an excellent job of working with the students to ensure they are aware of resources and who to contact with issues during the semester. Working with the students remotely has had its challenges but UNT Dallas puts many supports in place such as College Success Hour, tutorials, Study Groups/Buddies, and assisting them with creating semester-long plans. As we near look ahead at the last semester with our seniors it has been a real pleasure working with this partnership to support our first cohort.


Microsoft Certification

It is the goal of this program to have every student leave with three certifications (Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) in order to become more marketable after graduation. We have been working to ensure every student has the opportunity to gain these certifications even during this time of remote learning. Certiport has created a means of testing virtually right from the comfort of the student's living rooms. We have started this process and offered several testing dates for students. Students were given study materials to access in order to prepare. Virtual Microsoft Bootcamp dates will be coming soon. Stay tuned. Though it is a little more difficult to teach Microsoft Suite skills virtually, it is not impossible. We encourage students to study on their own and attend the boot camps when they are offered.

Virtual Exam Dates:

January 6th, 8th, 11th, 27th, and February 11th

Upcoming Test Dates:

March 27th and April 24

IBM Digital Badging

The Benefits of an IBM Digital Badging

Open P-TECH is a digital learning platform that was specially created and curated for teachers and students (ages 14-20 years old). It is intended for a younger audience but open for anyone to use. Open P-TECH also offers free digital credentials once the learner has completed a course. The digital badges can be displayed on your resume/CV or LinkedIn profile. The digital credentials show employers and colleges/universities that you have the basic knowledge in different topics found within the platform. Lots of the courses are around emerging technologies and professional skills (example: Mindfulness). Each year of the program, P-TECH students are expected to earn one badge. Each IBM internship candidate is expected to earn the Professional Skills Badge before beginning the opportunity.

P-TECH Digital Badge Plan

9th grade - Mindfulness

10th grade - Professional Skills

11th grade - Design Thinking Job Preparation

12th grade - Artificial Intelligence Job Preparation

Open P-TECH Is Live! Get the tech and professional skills of tomorrow, today!

Steering Committee Meeting

On January 13th, we continued with our monthly Steering Committee meeting. Each month we give our academic and workplace learning updates. As of the month of January:

College Academic Progress

  • UNT Dallas- 99% of our 51 seniors passed their college classes

  • 1/51 failed

  • 77% of the Juniors passed their Dallas College Classes

  • 9th Grade will begin classes this semester

  • 51/76 Seniors are on track to receive their Associates Degree

  • 10th Grade 67% passing rate

We also took this time to thank the Industry Partners for their contributions and presence during the Senior Drive Thru.

We returned to the Engagement Plan we prepared together to get volunteers and dates for engagement opportunities for the students. Partners were reminded of the plan and given a link to sign up or pass to others in their organization. The next Steering Committee Meeting will be February 24th at 10am.

Advisory Board

On January 25th, our Advisory Board met for their quarterly meeting. During this meeting, we update the Board on academic updates, Workplace Learning activities, and potential opportunities. The Board has been pivotal in providing Sunset P-TECH with support and resources. We would like to extend a special THANK YOU to Sunset P-TECH Advisory Board Members and Partners, Dr. Philip Huang and the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. Karen Kaighan and the Children's Health System and Ms. Guwan Jones and the Baylor Scott and White Health System for all of the leadership and work you do to support our city and county during this Coronavirus Challenge. Our next Advisory Board meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 26th at 1:30 pm.

Region 10 Planning and Engagement

We want each of our students to gain cutting-edge workforce development during their P-TECH journey. Though teachers have been around since the beginning of time, the industry of teaching has changed dramatically. We want our students to excel in their education courses but we also want them to receive exemplary workshops and high-level engagement. We have worked for the past year to build a relationship with Region 10 ESC, one of the 20 regional service centers established for the purpose of delivering professional development and a range of other innovative solutions. On January 5th, we met with Kristen Hebert, Assistant Director of Teaching and Learning to discuss interactive workshops with our future educators. Based on our meeting and the syllabus from our Teacher Education students, Region 10 designed workshop series to support our students in their courses.

Sunset P-TECH Teacher Education Pathway Workshop Series:

February Learning Session

  • Feb 11th Discovering Your Why?
  • Feb 22nd Panel Discussion: Overview of education and how it’s changed over time

March Learning Sessions

  • March 11th Understanding Curriculum
  • March 25th Best Practices in the Different Content Areas

April Learning Sessions

  • April 8th Lesson planning & Design
  • April 22nd Classroom Management


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Junior Resume Workshops

As part of our workplace learning plan, every student develops a resume, participates in workshops to understand how to interview and the workplace environment. Our juniors participate in a junior hub on A days to help maintain their academic success for their college classes. Normally they are on the Mountain View College campus but during online learning all instruction is asynchronous. To help the students balance the work they particpate in a Zoom on those days. We have also embedded workplace learning workshops. On January 7th, the juniors constructed their resume in preparation of upcoming internship opportunities. IBM, a P-TECH industry partner, offered a resume template for the students to help build a professional resume. Many of these students will then use these resumes to apply to the IBM and Dallas Works internship opportunities.

Dallas County Public Health Advisory Board Meeting

This is our first year with our new industry partner, Dallas County Health and Human Services. On January 21st, the Workplace Learning Coordinator and three Public Health juniors (Jayde Hawkins, Jesus Galaviz and Leslie Godinez) attended DCHHS quarterly Public Health Advisory Board meeting. Through this partnership it gives our students a chance to learn about the field of Public Health and how it impacts the community. Of course, the largest topic discussed was the current pandemic and how they are working to help Dallas County get registered for COVID vaccines. The students were able to learn about how the pandemic has affected community partners such as SPCA. In our debriefing, the students expressed their surprise that the pandemic was even affecting how shelters and pet organizations were not able to care homeless pets and were faced with putting them in volunteer homes for now. Lastly, the students learned that city officials were faced with how to get transportation to help economically disadvantaged members of the community get tested or vaccinated. These students will then take the information back to the other public health students to help form a future public health project.
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Thomson Reuters Boot Camp

Our on-track seniors had the opportunity to apply for a Thomson Reuters summer internship. During the week of January 11th-15th, the Workplace Learning Coordinator, offered workshop sessions to help prepare the students for this opportunity. Each student had the opportunity to get resume feedback, conduct company research, Interview 101, and dressing for success. The students were already participating in UNT Dallas Orientation sessions each day from 12-1 pm so the workshop was offered immediately after to help get them back in gear after a long Christmas break. We also offered a Stemuli Academy Zoom day to complete the Thomson Reuters modules offered to learn more about the company and the different departments. Sunset P-TECH students are ready for ANY opportunity.
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IBM Internship Opportunity

Our juniors and seniors had the unique opportunity this summer of gaining a once-in-a-lifetime virtual internship with a major Fortune 500 Corporation. Everyone across the globe has heard of IBM. IBM is a P-TECH industry partner for Dallas ISD. They are offering over 800 positions across the globe for P-TECH students to work with their company in various departments. So for the coming months students have been going through the application process and working on their interview skills. The Workplace Learning Coordinator has worked with the students by offering various workshops and opportunities for one-on-one coaching in preparation for this opportunity. Though we know every student will not get the job, the experience has been priceless. Each student still wins by learning firsthand how to prepare for such an opportunity. Many people do not learn these skills until their adult years.
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Dallas Works Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program

The city of Dallas offers a summer program allowing high school students to work with reputable companies through the city to gain hands on experience as well as leadership development. This will be Sunset P-TECH's third year working with this program. Previously we have had several students earn spots in the program. We will not allow COVID to slow our progress. We are encouraged all of our students to apply for this opportunity. Our 10th and 11th graders were encouraged to apply to Level 3 which builds professional mentorship and leadership into the opportunity. Our 9th and 12th graders had the opportunity to apply to Level 2.



(January 30th) We were in full recruitment season from November 7, 2020 to February 7, 2021. It is tradition that we host a Open House at UNT Dallas so the incoming students can learn about the program and feel the excitement of being on a their future college campus. We had to change traditions due to current CDC guidelines and the restrictions of COVID. So Sunset P-TECH hosted it's first Virtual Open House.

Students and parents were welcome to join the Zoom platform for the following topics:

  • The Academic Classroom Experience
  • The Workplace Learning Experience
  • The Student Activities Experience
  • Q&A Session

The best part of this orientation was our Senior students helped with the planning of this event which is vital part of the leadership development that we embed into the program.

Huge thanks for the guidance and leadership

  • Maria Sanchez (Senior)
  • Daniel Betancourt (Senior)
  • Mario Garcia (Senior)
  • Stephanie Treto (Senior)
  • Enrique Cedillo (Senior)
  • Yesenia Tejeda (Senior)

Black History Month

The Diverse History of Historically Black Colleges and Universities

While Jewish and African American communities have a tumultuous shared history when it comes to the pursuit of civil rights, there is a chapter that is often overlooked. In the 1930s when Jewish academics from Germany and Austria were dismissed from their teaching positions, many came to the United States looking for jobs. Due to the Depression, xenophobia and rising anti-Semitism, many found it difficult to find work, but more than 50 found positions at HBCUs in the segregated South.

Originally established to educate freed slaves to read and write, the first of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities was Cheyney University in Pennsylvania, established in 1837. By the time Jewish professors arrived, the number of HBCUs had grown to 78. At a time when both Jews and African Americans were persecuted, Jewish professors in the Black colleges found the environment comfortable and accepting, often creating special programs to provide opportunities to engage Blacks and whites in meaningful conversation, often for the first time.

In the years that followed, the interests of Jewish and African American communities increasingly diverged, but this once-shared experience of discrimination and interracial cooperation remains a key part of the Civil Rights Movement.

The first licensed African American Female pilot was named Bessie Coleman

Born in Atlanta, Texas in 1892, Bessie Coleman grew up in a world of harsh poverty, discrimination and segregation. She moved to Chicago at 23 to seek her fortune, but found little opportunity there as well. Wild tales of flying exploits from returning WWI soldiers first inspired her to explore aviation, but she faced a double stigma in that dream being both African American and a woman.

She set her sights on France in order to reach her dreams and began studying French. In 1920, Coleman crossed the ocean with all of her savings and the financial support of Robert Abbott, one of the first African American millionaires. Over the next seven months, she learned to fly and in June of 1921, the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awarded her an international pilot's license. Wildly celebrated upon her return to the United States, reporters turned out in droves to greet her.

Coleman performed at numerous airshows over the next five years, performing heart thrilling stunts, encouraging other African Americans to pursue flying, and refusing to perform where Blacks were not admitted. When she tragically died in a plane accident in 1926, famous writer and equal rights advocate Ida B. Wells presided over her funeral. An editorial in the "Dallas Express" stated, "There is reason to believe that the general public did not completely sense the size of her contribution to the achievements of the race as such."