The doors of Michael M. Boone, Highland Park ISD’s fifth elementary school, finally opened for in-person classes to smiles from students and parents queued for a “first day” like never before.
“Seeing their faces is really our first glimpse to see how ready they are to be back. Kids came in confidently this morning excited,” principal Amanda Reyes said. “I saw happy parents that felt confident, too, which makes me feel good too.”
Boone, HPISD’s first new elementary campus to open since 1949, is the district’s only school located within Dallas city limits.
“I was blessed to have gone here as a child and go through the Highland Park schools, and I’m forever grateful for that,” campus namesake Michael M. Boone said. “Being part of something that renews and continues for next generations is very meaningful and want to see Highland Park continue to flourish.”
As with all the other campuses in the district, Boone opened for virtual classes in August before finally opening for in-person learning after Labor Day.
“I’m really looking forward to the children just having the opportunity to be in school with their friends this semester,” Boone parent Heather Owen said.
During the week before Sept. 9, students visited campus to meet their teachers in person and get a better feel for what the classroom environment will look like.
“The relationships with your teacher are very important. Students don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care,” said Jon Dahlander, district chief of staff and director of communications. “The great thing about having them face to face today is that they will get to know their teacher a little bit better than through a computer screen.”
District leaders set safety precautions, including mandatory social distancing, plastic partitions in classrooms, and requiring students to use hand sanitizer and wash hands at least twice a day.
“We’ve been in constant consultation to get ready to be as safe as we possibly can, and we will continue to follow up to monitor situations every day,” Dahlander said. “We are going to stay on top of this. One thing we’ve been learning along this process is flexibility.”