The start for school in North Texas is just around the corner. Some Mesquite ISD freshmen are getting help making the transition from middle school to high school in the district's “On the Block” program.
"I was very nervous and I was very scared and shy,” said Cassandra Ballard, the West Mesquite high school freshman. "Not getting bullied and knowing that the teachers are here to help you and you have everybody to talk to and you're not here alone.”
About 250 students will start smaller classes for two weeks to get their feet on their ground. Students will take classes like Algebra and Biology. Teachers will cover lessons they would teach during the first six weeks.
"The program is transformational,” said Dr. Mona Lincoln, district administrative officer and program designer . “Students start on the first of school, very introverted, shy and really afraid, and then on the last day of the program, they come out of their shell and it's just amazing to see how they've blossomed."
The program started last year on three campuses, and every student passed core classes their first semester. Since then, the summer program expanded to all high school campuses in the district.
"We are so excited because we have doubled the number of students we have touched last year,” said Lincoln.
Even as new kids on the block, the students are setting their goals to the next level.
"They let you review so you're not blank after having a full summer of fun,” said student Tyler Gullion. "It's growing up, it has to happen."