New School Year Brings Changes
By BJ Austin, KERA News
Dallas, TX – A new school year begins today for Texas public school students. KERA's BJ Austin says there are a few "new" things on several North Texas campuses.
In Fort Worth, today marks the first day of the new Young Women's Leadership Academy. The District's Clint Bond says it's the school district's first single gender school. Curriculum will focus on math and science, critical thinking and leadership skills. Bond says these new students had to pass a rigorous application process.
Bond: There are interviews with all of the students and their families with the staff. There are only 50 girls in each of the two classes that we are launching the program with. Now, next year we will launch an eighth grade program.
Bond says they'll add a grade each year until the Young Women's Leadership Academy is sixth through 12th grade.
There's also something new at Como Elementary in the Fort Worth. It is beginning an El Sistema program.
Bond: It is being funded by the Goff Family Foundation. El Sistema, as you know, began in Venezuela about three decades ago when there was an economist and a musician there who gathered children in a parking garage to teach them music. And this program has grown into a community and cultural program.
Osvaldo Mendoza, a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory, will be playing several different instruments to greet students as they arrive for the first day of school at Como Elementary.
The Dallas School District has renovated nearly a third of its schools over the summer. Most of that work is done. A handful of projects may stretch into November. Improvements include better air conditioning and improved restrooms.
In Frisco, six new school welcome students today: one high school, three middle schools and two elementaries. School officials expect more than 37 thousand students, that's about three thousand more than last year.
Healthy school lunches are an elevated priority in school across the state. For example, in Arlington schools, lunch today includes chicken Alfredo with a whole wheat bread stick, glazed carrots, green peas, rosy pears or fruit juice.