Dublin teachers, administrators and coaches have spent the past week preparing to bridge gaps in the education system and bounce back academically as the new school year begins Monday.
Smaller class sizes, additional tutorial opportunities and adjusted schedules are among the ways Dublin is focusing on improvement. While those changes are critical to the district's improvement plan, there is a much bigger picture.
"We are enhancing education with a coordinated effort to reach out to the community as a whole," Superintendent Dr. Rodney Schneider said. "Parents, businesses and every part of this community play important roles in developing our students when they're not on campus. Our philosophy is to give these kids the greatest foundation possible. There are a lot of people that help make that happen."
Campus principals told board members earlier this month that state and benchmark test scores show signs of improvement in some weak subject areas, and although students and teachers have made great strides, there is still work to be done before the district is back in acceptable state accountability ratings.
When Schneider took over as superintendent in January, he spoke of a shared vision of students, teachers and staff to provide a first-class education that prepares students for a 21st century global market.
The hispanic demographic has often come in on the low end of test scores, and teachers are overcoming language barriers and other obstacles to ensure no child is left behind.
Last spring, the school district opened its computer labs for public use and sponsored English lessons and computer literacy workshops that proved popular and beneficial.
Elementary School Assistant Principal Norma Briseņo now hosts a weekly radio program on Spanish speaking radio stations to keep parents informed about their child's education.
The district also hosted a parent involvement conference last year with presentations from teachers and Texas Christian University education scholars. More than 300 parents attended.
They are not just inviting parents to school conferences; teachers and principals also visit parents at home to discuss students' progress and district standards.
"If they can't get to us, we need to get to them wherever they are," said Schneider.
Another way DISD is helping mold well-rounded students is by implementing Rachel's Challenge. The district hopes the bullying-prevention program will spark a chain reaction across town.
"I think the important thing is that it's a well-rounded approach to changing and improving education. We have administrators working with principals who are working with teachers and coaches who are working with parents to support everything we're doing at Dublin ISD," Schneider said. "The schools will continue improving while enhancing the community. It's everyone working together for a brighter future."