Back to School: Year begins for students in 5 Dallas ISD schools

It’s the first day of school for a handful of schools in the Dallas Independent School District. It’s also the first day for the district’s new superintendent.

Five schools in Dallas ISD began their school year Monday. They are on what’s called the school day redesign schedule, which gives them an extra five weeks of instruction.

The idea is to increase student achievement and make up for learning loss caused by the pandemic and the disruptions that resulted from that.

Last year was the first year for the school day redesign schedule. The principal at Edna Rowe Elementary said the added days of instruction had a significant impact.

"It’s school day redesign. The last word captures what we’ve been doing," said Principal Aaron Joseph. "What the research says is that teachers and students would like to utilize more time. They would like to slow down and incorporate some of the things at the students’ individual pace, target strengths and weaknesses but also create opportunities of enrichment."

Monday also marks the start of the year for Dallas ISD’s new superintendent – Dr. Stephanie Elizalde. She takes over for Dr. Michael Hindoos, who retired at the end of the year.

She has spent the past two years as the superintendent of the Austin Independent School District. Before that, she held administrative posts at Dallas ISD. So she is already familiar with the district.

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Another 41 Dallas ISD schools start next Monday and the bulk of the schools in the district begin on Aug. 15.

In addition to the five Dallas schools, students in the Athens school district in Henderson County started classes on Monday. 

Athens ISD is one of several rural districts that switched to a four-day week. The early start will help the district fit in enough instruction days and still end the year at the end of May.

RELATED: Rural Texas districts struggling to attract teachers are switching to four-day school weeks