Balloons, beats and big crowds were on hand at Edna Rowe Elementary School for Dallas ISD's Day One of the new school year.
Math, reading, writing: it's all on the table at Edna Rowe which voluntarily signed up for a redesigned school calendar. There are now more days in the classroom and more time with students.
"We're able to embed club days where we stop instruction and work on enrichment. There's cooking clubs and sewing clubs, providing students the opportunity they may not be exposed to," said Aaron Joseph, principal.
They tried this redesigned schedule last year as one part of the changes aimed at helping students. The campus test scores shot up from a low C to an A. It's a huge turnaround, and parents say the new calendar had a lot to do with it.
"It took a little getting used to but the kids are learning more," said Lizzet Alzada, a parent of two boys at the school. "I feel they got to learn more with the pandemic and the closure they got to regain the time that was lost."
Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde came to see the opening bell. The new leader of Dallas ISD had first-day jitters herself.
"I felt like a little girl myself. I changed outfits three times," she said before sharing she wound with her first choice.
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Elizalde said it was rewarding to see the redesigned school day. She said when she was part of Dallas ISD a few years ago she helped develop the program, and the success Edna Roe has seen with it is rewarding.
Elizalde said it's not, however, the district's magic bullet to success.
"We don't want to do a one-size-fits-all. We want to keep trying to personalize. We want learning to be personal and progress for every single one of our students," she added.
More schools start next week with a different calendar system and everyone else in on Aug. 15.