DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - It may be an early end to summer, but students entering Edna Rowe Elementary School in Dallas ISD paid no mind. There were smiles ear-to-ear on Aug. 1 as students walked through a balloon arch entrance.
Edna Rowe Elementary School is one of five in the Dallas ISD with a redesign calendar, which starts in early August and ends in late June.
It's supposed to help combat learning loss from the coronavirus pandemic and the summer slump.
Debra Pike is the Assistant Principal at Edna Roe Elementary School who also has a daughter there. She said the calendar benefits them both.
"She really needs the interaction, especially after COVID," Pike said, referencing her daughter. "She didn't get a lot of social interaction when she was younger. So, this chance, with the longer school year, she will not only be able to learn more from her teachers but also her peers," she said.
It was also the first day of school for Dallas ISD's new superintendent, Dr. Stephanie Elizalde.
She joined the district after recently serving Austin ISD.
On Monday, she stopped by the school to welcome students back. She said she felt just as nervous as the kids.
"I've got butterflies in my stomach!" She said. "For those of us that do this type of work, every single first day we still get butterflies in our stomach."
She says though the early start to school in untraditional, she's happy to have the support of parents and teachers who voted on this decision.
"These cannot be successful implementations with a top-down approach. It needs to be ground up. And so, you must have buy-in. Also, there's no one right answer. It's 'what is right for that community?'" she said.
She said early data shows the lengthier year has made a big difference for Edna Rowe.
"The Spring Climate survey here at Edna Rowe was #1 in our district," she said. "So that says the redesign is something that the school is really benefiting from."
Dr. Elizalde also said positions in Dallas ISD are currently about 97% filled and that the district will be working over the next few weeks to get that number to 100.
She also said they are not opposed to bringing in some teachers that may not officially have their certification yet but have the potential to be great teachers with extra support from the district.
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