Principal Walks Students To New School on First Day of Class - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Carter in the Classroom

Carter in the Classroom

A continuing series on education in North Texas

Principal Walks Students To New School on First Day of Class

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    Principal Walks Students to New School on First Day of Class

    It's a tradition at McAuliffe Elementary and Briarhill Middle, designed to make that first day of middle school a little easier. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019)

    All it takes is a familiar face to take the butterflies away. At Briarhill Middle School students first day doesn't begin on campus. They start about a 10-minute walk down the road, at the elementary school they already called home.

    Over coffee, parents catch up, students talk about the summer and everyone waits for Principal Jennifer Mattingly to walk the students to their new school.

    "My little girls went to school here," said Mattingly.

    "They were super stressed about being made fun of, if someone walked them in, so I walk all the teacher's kids and then all their friends and now it's grown into this."

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    Every year on the first day of class she waves goodbye to Mom and Dad and walks last year's graduates on to the next step in their education.

    "We're going to a new school and it's like nerve racking. What if I get lost in the hallways because it's a new school, because it's going to be so big," wondered Zoe Grantham.

    Halfway there, at Unity Park, it happened.

    Principal Mattingly steps aside and the students continue their journey with their new Principal Mattingly, their former principal's husband.

    "We're both from small towns and it keeps the small town vibe atmosphere to it and the kids love it," said Chris Mattingly, Briarhill Middle School Principal.

    His wife Jennifer hugged the kids and her husband and wished them well before the cycle starts all over again.

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    "The second I turn back around, my 600 kids that are waiting for me inside and I have the new journey I get to make with them," said Jennifer Mattingly, McAuliffe Elementary School Principal.

    The students get the confidence of walking through the door with 90 or so fellow classmates and two principals committed to making sure they succeed.

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