Edna Rowe Elementary Renamed Buckner Terrace Montessori School

Remarkable trajectory for once low-performing Dallas elementary school

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Great new schools are taken for granted in some North Texas neighborhoods.

But a once low-performing 57-year-old Dallas elementary school has soared to top of class with help from a $20 million makeover.

And now, Edna Rowe Elementary School has been renamed Buckner Terrace Montessori as the next step in the school’s dramatic improvement.

The East Dallas Buckner Terrace neighborhood near Interstate 30 and Jim Miller Road is soaring, too, hand in hand with the improving school.

Neighbors credit Principal Aron Joseph as a major reason for the school’s success. He credits great teachers, some who’ve been there for years and newcomers who help create the learning environment he desired as a student.

“And that environment was full of fun, full of joy. That environment was full of people who I felt had my best interest at mind,” Joseph said.

He also says a much better facility is part of the formula for making the environment joyful.

Back in 2016, Buckner Terrace neighbors were fighting for a larger share of Dallas ISD school bond money than the $6 million the district offered.

“Community advocacy is not for the weak at heart,” said Buckner Terrace Homeowners Association President Daniel Wood.

The community leaders won the $20 million inside and out upgrade the building received.

A better Buckner Terrace neighborhood was also a goal.

“The neighbors that were coming in, the young couples that were buying in our neighborhood would stay because it was a good option for a school,” Wood said.

In 2016, resident Daniel Olivas was one of those young parents with a 4-year-old son about to start school. He did stay in Buckner Terrace and he’s glad his son attends Edna Rowe.

“It’s amazing. I think it’s brought up the morale, obviously, of the parents, the students and the teachers. So, we’re very happy,” he said. “Our property value has gone up, as well. It brought an influx of new families into the community.”

And now, 400 new homes are under construction in Buckner Terrace. Some of the land was once mentioned for strongly opposed homeless housing. Instead, there is new development that neighbors support.

Wood said it’s coming hand in hand with the better school.

“It’s a prime location and it’s really set for a trajectory, that the community is just going to get better, and better,” Wood said.

At the same time, the school is on a new path toward Montessori instruction that gives students more authority in their own learning.

“We're transforming education as our students know it,” Joseph said.

The official Dallas ISD School Board announcement was Thursday.

“I think it is a success story,” Olivas said.

The change will take effect at the beginning of the next school year. Students in the neighborhood will receive preference but others from outside can apply.

Montessori instruction will begin with lower grades and there’s talk of one day expanding the school for students through 8th grade.

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