GARLAND, Texas - It’s the first day of school for more than a dozen North Texas school districts.
This school year is starting off with safety and security at the top of many parents’ minds following the school shooting in Uvalde. The Texas Education Agency required all schools to perform safety audits.
Garland ISD, the largest of the districts returning on Monday, said it’s taken care of that. The district checked nearly 3,000 doors and trained all of its staff on emergency response.
Parents who were walking their little ones to Ethridge Elementary School for the first day said it's been a topic of conversation at home.
Arlington ISD launches new safety alert system
Security is also a top priority in Arlington ISD. The district launched a new safety alert system and website for parents and students on Monday.
Security Tracker provides real-time information about lockdowns and other emergencies on campuses. It was developed over the summer to help communicate accurate and timely information.
"It’s a seamless approach where our families, our students, our community can receive the latest information whenever there’s a lockdown or any emergency. It’s seamless. They can get it via text, on our website and it is a security tracker," said Arlington ISD Superintendent Dr. Marcelo Cavazos.
But security is not a new priority for Arlington ISD. The superintendent said it may be something getting a lot of attention this year, but the district has had a plan in place and law enforcement partnerships for many, many years.
"This is a continued evolution. We adapt to any security needs, but this isn’t a new conversation," he said.
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Mavs dedicate new basketball court at Dallas ISD school
The Dallas Mavericks helped welcome students back at one of the 41 Dallas ISD schools starting Monday on the district's "intercession" schedule.
The students at Adelle Turner Elementary School were given Mavs-themed clear backpacks, notebooks, dental kits and other goodies as they arrived for their first day.
The Dallas ISD superintendent, Mavs CEO, Mavs dancers, former player Rolando Blackman and current player Dorian Finney-Smith then dedicated a new basketball court that was donated to the school.
It's all part of the team's multi-year Adopt a School program aimed at investing in the future and providing resources to the community to address racial inequities and disparities.
Most Dallas students return to class next Monday.
First day of school across North Texas
Students in 15 other districts returned to class Monday including Duncanville ISD. The others are rural districts including Mineral Wells, Palo Pinto and Quinlan ISDs.
They are among the 21 in North Texas that will have four-day weeks starting this year. It’s a growing trend. There were only six districts with four-day weeks last year.
Some districts made the switch in an effort to attract and retain teachers as school districts across the state are dealing with a teacher shortage.