Dallas ISD Adds 100 New Students, Anticipates More as Hurricane Laura Evacuees Enroll

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Within hours Tuesday, the Dallas Independent School District added some 100 new students to its roster. The district anticipates enrolling dozens more Wednesday.

Thousands of Hurricane Laura evacuees are calling North Texas home and their children will soon join local classrooms.

“We’re behind because the hurricane came when we were about to start school,” Tanika Collins said.

But Collins said she’s finally starting to feel a sense of relief. Her daughter, foster children and nieces are now enrolled in school.

“This is a blessing because, regardless of where we end up as far as our house, we still can have that part secured,” she said. “The kids are taken care of and it’s one less thing that a parent has to stress over.”

After Hurricane Laura, she said she has nothing to go back to. Dallas is now home -- and that adds a sense of stability. One of her daughters is a senior.

“This way they can still graduate, still get your credits and that kind of thing and be able to focus on scholarships and focus on your next steps,” she said.

From dawn to dusk, volunteers from several departments of Dallas ISD set up inside three hotels hosting evacuees to enroll children whose families evacuated. Keisha Crowder Davis said the city of Dallas made the call and Dallas ISD moved quickly.

“I was notified about 12:30 Monday morning,” Crowder Davis said. “So in the middle of the night, it was like let’s mobilize the team.”

Based on grade levels, students will attend one of four schools – Medrano Elementary School, Zaragoza Elementary School, Alex Spence Middle School or North Dallas High School.

“The importance of them coming to get enrolled and for us to provide that support could be a game-changer and life-changer for some of these students,” Crowder Davis said.

Each student received electronic devices for online learning. And for those whose parents choose in-person learning, the district will provide uniforms and transportation. So, while parents figure out life after the hurricane, children can focus elsewhere.

Parent orientation will take place at the host hotels Wednesday at 2 p.m. New students will join their classmates on Thursday.

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