More Students Wanted

Students from Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts perform during a Discover Dallas ISD event. (Photo: Joshua Baethge)

Fill Addison’s Loos Field House with representatives from more than 90 Dallas ISD campuses and it can get, as parent Carla Williamson put it, “a little overwhelming.”

Williamson, who recently moved to Dallas, spent a December morning checking out various booths and talking to other parents during Discover Dallas ISD, an event aimed at helping families find the right schools for their students.

“It’s pretty amazing how much they have going on here,” Williamson said. “We have a lot to think about.”

The Loos Field House event featured booths from every school in the district’s northwest quadrant, which includes Preston Hollow. Officials from DISD magnet schools, collegiate academies and “choice schools” were also in attendance.

Last year’s inaugural Discover Dallas ISD showcase was held at the Ellis Davis Field House in South Dallas, and included representatives from all over the district. This year, DISD officials decided it made more sense to hold four smaller-scale events.

“What we tried to do was bring the school fair basically to your own backyard,” DISD executive director of communications and marketing Nicole Mansell said.

The goal was to create awareness for the wide-variety of opportunities offered by DISD that many families aren’t familiar with, Mansell said.

Teachers at the Preston Hollow Elementary School booth noted that the smaller crowd afforded them more time to speak with interested families.

“It’s been going well and we are having fun,” teacher Danielle Katz said.

Anne Frank Elementary assistant principal Patrice Lane touts her school’s dual language program. (Photo: Joshua Baethge)
Teachers Vicki Bias, Araceli Hernandez, Lizzie Kittleman, and Danielle Katz man the Preston Hollow Elementary School booth. (Photo: Joshua Baethge)

Anne Frank Elementary School assistant principal Patrice Lane wanted residents to know about her school’s expanding duel language program and its five stars of distinction. She was also eager to discuss the new Pre-K center that is under construction and slated to open next year.

“We’re excited because we have a lot going on,” she said.

Representatives from Benjamin Franklin Middle School touted their impending International Baccalaureate (IB) authorization. The culmination of two year’s preparation will put them in elite company.

“During the past few months we have provided numerous school tours and student ‘shadow’ requests as parents have rediscovered our school,” IB coordinator James Bryan said. “Our IB program, block schedule, and course options have already increased our student population this year, and we expect our enrollment to increase again next year as we continue attracting scholars from within and outside our school zone.”

In addition to the district’s many campuses, there were also booths offering information on various district sponsored programs, including an upcoming STEM Expo and the office of Family and Community Engagement, which serves as a liaison between DISD and outside resources.

“I guess it’s good that they have so many programs,” DISD parent Maria Gonzalez said. The mother of a seventh-grader and fourth-grader, said she came more out of curiosity than anything else.

“I don’t know if this changes anything for us right now, but at least it seems like we have some good choices.”