New School Year Brings A Lot of Changes

Hundreds of thousands of students across Texas head back to school Monday.  Some with new start times, others at new campuses and some with new rules.  Below are some highlights to changes in school districts around North Texas.

In the Dallas Independent School District, the district is opening four new campuses built under the 2008 bond program. The district now includes Wilmer-Hutchins Elementary School, George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School, in the City of Addison, Ebby Halliday Elementary School, and the brand new building for the Kathlyn Joy Gilliam Collegiate Academy, formerly housed at the Nolan Estes Plaza.

The district also added four repurposed campuses including Kennedy-Curry Middle School, Wilmer-Hutchins High School, and A. Maceo Smith New Tech High School. The fourth campus, the Barack Obama Male Leadership Academy, is the first all-male public school in Texas.  To gain admittance to the school the students must have good grades.  Once enrolled, students can take Latin, Mandarin, Spanish and aviation classes in addition to traditional courses.

Also in the DISD, students at 40 schools will each free breakfasts in their classrooms this year thanks to a program funded by Walmart. The kids will be offered the breakfasts at their desks before class is scheduled to start.

The Fort Worth Independent School District is opening four new campuses this year including Rosemont and John T. White elementary schools and Jean McClung and Benbrook middle schools.

The Irving Independent School District isn't starting classes until Wednesday, but on Monday they are showing off their latest addition to the district.  Lady Bird Johnson Middle School is a green, net zero campus. "Through efficiency technologies and on-site power generation the use of renewable energies allows the building to produce as much energy as it consumes." The school is the largest net zero public school in the country, the first net zero middle school in the country and the first net zero school in Texas.

The Plano Independent School District is welcoming students to a brand new high school, C.A. McMillen in Murphy.  The new school opens Monday with 1,200 students in 9th and 10th grades.

Kids in the Joshua Independent School District also get a free breakfast, but on Monday only. The district sponsored the breakfast designed to get kids off to a good start on the first day of school.

Students in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District start back Monday, but with new start times.  Elementary schools ring the first bell at 7:40 a.m. with High Schools not far behind at 8:20 a.m.  Middle schoolers don't have to report until 9 a.m.

In Grapevine, students, parents and teachers were warned of extra delays getting to Grapevine High School due to construction near Mustang Drive and state Highway 26. Also in the Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District, they are ditching the block scheduling in favor of a typical 7-period day.

In the Rockwall Independent School District, four new principals are taking over at Rochell, Jones, and Shannon elementary schools as well as Rockwall Quest Academy.

The Kaufman Independent School District is changing the dress code.  Students in the district will now be permitted to wear cargo shorts and shirts with a college logo to class.  The change was made late this year and not included in the 2011-12 student handbook.

The Decatur Independent School District in Wise County is taking applications for substitute teachers until Friday.  Applicants must have at least two years of college experience.

In the Cedar Hill Independent School District, the district is welcoming 98 new teachers.  The district's 8,200 students will also attend classes for an extra half-hour per day this year.

The Northwest Independent School District is opening two new elementary campuses on Tuesday.  The schools are located in The Parks at Willow Ridge development and in the Sendera Ranch development.  Each school will have an estimated enrollment of around 400.  The district is said to be the second-fastest growing district in the state and they expect to enroll 1,400 new students this year.

In Arlington, the police will pay a bounty for anyone who alerts them to truant students. "You Earn. They Learn. Stop Truancy." allows anyone to call Crime Stoppers and report a truant student. Those callers, who can remain anonymous, will be paid $20 for their trouble. However, if the student is a habitual skipper, the reward goes up to $40.  Crime Stoppers' phone number is 817-469-TIPS.

Did we leave anyone out?  Let us know in the comments below.

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