Dallas ISD Set for Virtual First Day of School

Superintendent Michael Hinojosa is expected to talk about the first day of school at 3:30 p.m. That live press conference will be seen in the player above.

Dallas ISD students and teachers on Tuesday are set to finally start a brand new school year.

Students will start classes solely online with many teachers using their actual classrooms as their home base to make the transition a little less jarring.

“Especially with kids not being in school for so long, teachers are really excited to see the kids, but concerned that that engagement is not going to be there,” Conrad High School Algebra teacher Abby Rufer said. “I’ve been trying to incorporate ways that we can still make the participation in the class as much as it would be in the real classroom as possible.”

NBC 5’s Larry Collins reports from inside Dallas ISD’s new Eddie Bernice Johnson Elementary School in Wilmer, where teachers have put a great deal of work into making their classrooms ready for the start of school on Tuesday.

Rufer said she hopes to use the technology to help students connect.

Dallas ISD teachers on Tuesday face the challenge of keeping their students engaged while social distancing measures are in effect, NBC 5’s Larry Collins reports.

“Really utilizing things like ZOOM breakout groups or other interactive features that kids can still have conversations with each other and lead the learning rather than them just watching a video which I don’t think is very conducive to learning,” Rufer said.

She hopes to involve her students in the planning process itself to gauge what works for them.

“I know kids are frustrated with the unknown and also the technology just like adults are,” Rufer said. "I think there is a bond in just saying we’re in the same boat here so, let’s just do our best to kind of stick with it together and laugh about it. I think that’s important.”

NBC 5 viewers shared their home classrooms ahead of the first day of school for the area’s largest school districts.

Rufer said one of the benefits of starting school after Labor Day, she was able to see what worked and what didn’t work for other school districts.

“I’ve heard a lot from people who have already started. Not just in Texas, but relatives in education that I have or friends in other states and how that’s going,” Rufer said. “I think especially related to math. A big part of what I’ve been hearing is helping kids find a calculator and stuff like that has been really challenging.”

Dallas ISD in-person classes are set to begin on Oct. 5, but based on recent leveling out of Dallas County COVID-19 cases, the district is now planning to open its doors specifically to students moving to a new campus one week earlier, starting Sept. 28.

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