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Does your child have social anxiety? Here's how one Dallas ISD school is focusing on students' emotional needs

“The biggest thing was how do we ensure we are meeting the scholars where they are, not only academically but socially and emotionally."

DALLAS — Students across North Texas are now back in the classroom, and for many that is an adjustment after spending many months in the pandemic learning virtually. 

At H.I. Holland in Dallas, school leaders are switching up their daily instruction, hoping to make it easier for students as they return to class.

“The biggest thing was how do we ensure we are meeting the scholars where they are, not only academically but socially and emotionally,” H.I. Holland Principal Shanieka Christmas McDonald said. “When I think about it, I think same expectations, we are still here to create excellence for all, however we are in the midst of creating a new norm here at Holland.”

So this year the school built in time every single morning to talk about how kids are doing socially and emotionally, before hitting the textbooks.

“They feel good, they feel calm they’re in school because this is where they want to be,” Christmas McDonald said. “So we are looking forward to a lot of great things from our scholars because we know we are not only providing them academics but additionally we are nurturing their social and emotional needs.”

Josefina Berry is a parent and teacher.

“It’s been amazing,” Berry said. “You get to have those unique relationships with your students that I believe every teacher should have. Get to know your students because every child is unique in their own way.”

And the unique approach is already resonating with students. 

“I work really good now. I understand. I learn good,” student Selena Hernandez said. “I actually don’t want to leave this school because I’ve been here since Kindergarten.”

Christmas McDonald has confidence in the young people she leads.

“We are growing an awesome, amazing group of scholars that I have no doubt will lead the future,”  Christmas McDonald said.