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New School Year, New Plans For Dallas, Fort Worth ISDs

Bill Zeeble

School starts today for many students across North Texas. We find out what’s new and different at some of the biggest districts.

In Fort Worth ISD, a successful program designed to turn around low performing schools now falls under a first of its kind partnership.  Five leadership academies are now part of a partner agreement with Texas Wesleyan University. A 2017 state law provides extra education dollars designed to encourage such relationships. That’s helpful because Fort Worth’s schools in the Leadership Academy Network cost an extra $1 million per campus, according to Priscila Dilley, the network's senior officer.

“Now that the partnership is in place,” Dilley says, “the schools are eligible to receive about that much money so we can continue the initiative and then with the partnership with Texas Wesleyan, layer additional resources and leverage their expertise to be able to enhance the model.”

In Dallas ISD, spokesperson Robyn Harris says there are new academic programs, like seven additional dual language schools, and two new transportation apps.

“We listened to what our parents and families were saying,” Harris said. “They needed more information on how to track their student, where the school bus was. So the My Stop app will allow parents to do just that.”

Harris says there’s another transportation app, Bus Bulletin, that alerts users if a bus is running late.

On this first day of school, one more transportation reminder — the law says drivers must slow down in active school zones.

Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.