DALLAS - Dallas ISD and Fort Worth ISD students were among the dozens of districts that welcomed students back to school on Monday.
The Dallas Independent School District started off the new school year with about 155,000 students. Many of them will notice improvements to their campuses.
Thanks to the 2008 bond program, the district has completed 14 new schools. Many others have also seen upgrades, renovations and expansions. And there was another bond program in 2015 so those additions will continue.
Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa started off his morning by greeting kids at the Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center. He said the focus of this year is ensuring the best teachers are working in low performing schools.
“Our biggest challenge academically is that we have a few schools that have fallen off on performance, and we want to get those right,” he said. “Part of it was that they didn’t have quite the teacher that we needed in the classroom. So we’re going to be talking to the board on Thursday on how do we improve that at those campuses.”
Dallas ISD has a hotline for parents with questions related to the start of school. They can call 972-925-KIDS any time between 7:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
In Fort Worth, more than 86,000 students went to class for the first day. One of them was Jack Docker, who is looking forward to being a 5th grader.
“For one, they get to go on a special camp trip and they get to go on an overnight trip,” he said.
“We are excited. It’s been a great summer, but we’re ready to get back to our friends. Mom is ready to get back to a routine. But mostly we are ready to see what this year has in store,” said his mom, Laura James.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price is a big advocate for education. She pointed out what happens in the classroom has a ripple effect that impacts virtually everything else in the city.
“Educating students is the key. It reduces crime, reduces poverty, makes a better workforce. It really touches all areas of the city,” she said. “When businesses want to move here, they are looking at where all the workers’ kids will be in school. It’s critical that we have strong schools and strong neighborhoods.”
Students in districts like Arlington, DeSoto, Grand Prairie, Irving, Mesquite, and Rockwall are also returning to class.
It's expected to be a hot first day of school for them, with temperatures near triple digits, and no rain in the forecast.