Students across North Texas return to school

Hundreds of thousands of children head back to class on Monday, which marked the first day of school for most large school districts in North Texas.

Additionally, for the young students in Van, Texas, near Tyler, Monday was the first time they'd been back since a tornado ripped their town, demolished their school and ended their school year.

The Dallas Independent School District welcomed back more than 160,000 students. That number includes students in new 3-year-old classes on eight campuses.

Also, students this year can attend two new choice schools in the district.

A middle school on the campus of D.A. Hulcy focuses on science technology, engineering, mathematics and arts. And what used to be Fannin High School is now the Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship Academy.

The principal turned to businesses for input on what skills students needed.

“They needed students, workers and interns to be really articulate communicators. They needed them to think innovatively and really out of the box and be creative and collaborative,” said Principal Sarah Ritsema.

About 125 ninth graders will attend the IDEA school.

There will be more Pre-K students attending the Fort Worth Independent School District this year. The district made room for more than 1,500 additional children.

Some students in the district will also meet the sole finalist for the superintendent position. Dr. Kent Scribner will welcome students at Diamond Hill and Moss Elementary schools.

The Arlington school district opens four new schools this year. They are Patrick Elementary, Core and Jones Fine Arts Academies and the new Science and Technology STEM Academy at Martin High School.

The Arlington superintendent plans to visit these four schools and eight others on the first day.

But the students in two North Texas school districts have one extra day of summer. White Settlement and Northwest ISDs start classes Tuesday.

Northwest ISD in North Fort Worth will open its first new high school in six years. Only freshmen and sophomores will attend V.R. Eaton High School this year. New grade levels will be added each year until the first class graduates in 2018.

The first day back for Van ISD students was engaging for students and emotional for some parents.

An EF-3 tornado hit Van on May 10. Two people died, 40 were injured and more than 200 homes were damaged or destroyed.

The school district’s temporary campus for intermediate students in second through fifth grades includes 26 portable classrooms and even a makeshift playground.

It will take two years to rebuild a new school from the ground up after the tornado destroyed J.E. Rhodes Elementary.


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