The staff at Duncanville Independent School District is preparing for a busy week. The school district is gathering its newest teachers for orientation and training.
“This is such a pivotal time in education,” said Duncanville ISD Superintendent Dr. Marc Smith, as he addressed a large group of educators during a program on Wednesday morning.
The newly hired teachers are getting familiar with the school district’s vision and plan to start the new school year. They know the past 15 months of the COVID-19 pandemic have been challenging for faculty, students, and families.
“What we are focused on, of course, is wanting to make sure that our parents and our teachers, everyone, feels comfortable coming back into the school year as it relates to their safety,” said Smith.
Duncanville ISD is one of the earliest heading back to class in North Texas. Schools in the district begin Aug. 1. It will be an adjustment, considering students are returning from virtual learning back to in-person instruction.
“Our focus is to get them caught up. To focus on growth, identifying where they are when they come into our schools, and then trying to rebuild their focus, from a learning standpoint, so we can begin the work of getting them caught back up,” said Smith.
Among other issues administrators are addressing, is monitoring enrollment. The superintendent said the numbers are not quite where they need to be.
“The biggest challenge for us is we need to get our students back in school,” said Smith.
This week’s teacher orientation is about being proactive, staff said. They want to be proactive in planning for a smooth and safe transition back to school.
Administrators say the COVID-19 vaccine is not required to return to classes in Duncanville ISD. However, the school district hosted several vaccine events at the end of last school year, that resulted in more than 200 students getting a shot.
Smith said the school district will likely hold more vaccine events, in the future, based on community feedback.