First Day of School Brings Superintendent to Walnut Hill

Dallas ISD focuses on instructional time, filling vacancies, safety

Dallas ISD is “minimizing standardized assessments” this year by focusing on hands-on, project-based work rather than taking practice standardized exams each grading period.

Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde says this will add instructional days to the year without adding school days.

Elizalde met local media in the Walnut Hill International Leadership Academy library Aug. 14 for a brief back-to-school press conference with topics including standardized testing, teacher vacancies, and campus safety.

There are fewer than 71 teacher vacancies across the more than 200 Dallas ISD campuses. In each case, principals have arranged to bring on retired long-term subs or have instructional coaches or demo teachers fill in.

“Our goal today was for every single student to have a certified teacher in their classroom, and I think our principals were able to make sure that happened,” Elizalde said.

School safety remains a priority for Elizalde and other leaders. The Dallas ISD board of trustees has invested $210 per student toward campus safety and security.

Each secondary campus is equipped with an on-site officer. In compliance with Texas House Bill 3, the district is working on getting armed security officers at each Dallas ISD campus.

“Safety is way more than a gun on someone’s hip,” Elizalde said.

 “In many instances, it’s about urgency and response and knowing what to do,” she continued. “What I can tell you, as heavy as it is for me to say this, … Dallas ISD officers will never hesitate.”

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