Bell's Ringing: School children’s summer ends early - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Bell's Ringing: School children’s summer ends early

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Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 9:30 pm

Thousands of Brownsville students are headed back to school today on the first day of classes across much of Texas.

School is beginning about two weeks earlier than usual for the Brownsville Independent School District, which this year became a District of Innovation, joining hundreds of other districts across the state in adopting rules that allow for an earlier start date among other changes.

About 4,500 students attend BISD schools at 54 campuses across the city. Additionally, IDEA Public Schools operates three Brownsville campuses, accounting for hundreds more students. Other charter school districts, including Harmony and Jubilee, also have a presence in the city.

The nearby Los Fresnos Consolidated Independent School District also heads back to school today.

But BISD is by far the largest area school district with approximately 7,000 employees.

The district has been busy all summer getting schools, school buses, food service departments and other operations ready for today so that the new school year gets off to a smooth start.

BISD held its annual back-to-school rally Tuesday morning in the Rivera Early College High School gymnasium, putting an exclamation point on the enthusiasm district employees are feeling for the start of the school year, the first under new Superintendent René Gutiérrez.

At an annual school administrators’ conference in late July, enthusiasm for the new school year was evident.

“Everybody is upbeat and ready for the challenge that is coming to us,” Lopez Early College High School Principal Dahlia Aguilar said. “We’re looking forward to a great 2019-2020 school year. All the schools have great people … right down to the food service and the custodians and all the beautiful students that attend our schools.”

School board member Erasmo Castro attended the conference, as he does many BISD events. He said all sorts of good information was presented, adding, “I really think we’re of the right path with the new superintendent and his great administration.”

Pace Early College High School Principal Rose Longoria said a theme for the conference was networking.

“We have so many resources among us,” she said. “We all talked about how we’re going to step it up. We got to talk to each other. It was very productive.”

This year, BISD is consolidating the former Resaca, Longoria and Victoria Heights elementary schools into nearby schools in central Brownsville.

The schools were among the oldest in Brownsville and enrollment had been declining. Now their former students, about 300 per school, will attend nearby schools that except for one are newer.

Former students at Victoria Heights on East 13th Street are now zoned to Perez Elementary on Shidler Street just off Paredes Line Road. Longoria Elementary, 2400 E. Van Buren, will send its former students to J.T. Canales Elementary on International Boulevard. Resaca Elementary, 901 E. Filmore, will split its former students between Sharp Elementary on Palm Boulevard and Putegnat Elementary, 730 E. 8th St., the descendant of the original Brownsville Grammar School and built in 1915.

glong@brownsvilleherald.com

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