Many Galveston County teachers have already returned to their campuses and the throngs of students soon will follow.
The spring and summer were particularly active for area school districts as they made changes to everything from administrations to opening and closing of different school buildings. Some school districts changed class schedules for their various campuses.
Several districts even took advantage of recent legislative actions to begin school earlier than usual.
As parents and students buy school supplies and anticipate the first day of school, here are some of the changes coming to area school districts:
Texas City ISD
Texas City ISD is one of several county districts set to begin its school year Aug. 21, which is earlier than usual.
“The normal rule is that you cannot start school until the first Monday after Aug. 24,” said Melissa Tortorici, spokeswoman for the district. “Most districts end up starting the Monday after that date.”
Texas City can begin classes earlier because it recently earned status as a “District of Innovation.”
State lawmakers in 2015, through House Bill 1842, amended the education code to create Districts of Innovation.
The change allowed school districts to modify some state requirements to better meet the needs of their students, school district officials said.
Such districts can be allowed exemptions on educator certification, teacher contracts, first and last days of school, the length of a school day, class sizes and some purchasing and contract requirements, education agency officials said.
Along with the earlier start date, the district’s campuses will have different start and end times compared with last year, Tortorici said.
Calvin Vincent Early Childhood Center will run from 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. each day. Heights, Kohfeldt, La Marque, Northside and Roosevelt-Wilson elementary schools will run from 8 a.m. to 3:35 p.m., while La Marque Primary will begin at 7:50 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m.
Levi Fry Intermediate will begin at 7:30 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m. Blocker and La Marque middle schools will begin at 8:25 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.
La Marque and Texas City high schools will start at 8:35 a.m. and end at 4:10 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson disciplinary alternative education program runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:05 p.m.
The district also will be home to a new superintendent as Rodney Cavness replaces Cynthia Lusignolo, who retired.
District officials also announced a spate of new administrative and leadership promotions at its schools in Texas City and La Marque, but all of the positions were filled by current Texas City school district staff.
Major changes came for Galveston ISD when trustees in February voted to close Coastal Village Middle School and move Scott Collegiate Academy to the newly renovated Weis building, later renaming it Collegiate Academy at Weis.
The move to close Coastal Village came after three of the district’s five middle schools — Coastal Village was one — were rated as “improvement required” in the most recent Texas Education Agency assessment. Repeated failure to meet state demands for improvement can have a range of consequences for public schools, including intervention by state education officials.
To further address the issue, trustees consolidated Weis and Central middle schools into one Central Media Arts Academy and named a new administrative team to pull the schools out of improvement required status.
Other changes for the district include new start and end times for the campuses.
Galveston school trustees earlier this year approved a new daily schedule for the district schools.
Under the new schedule, elementary students will begin school at 7:30 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. each day. Secondary students begin at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.
Crenshaw Elementary and Middle School are given special consideration and will start at 7:45 a.m. and end at 3:15 p.m., Superintendent Kelli Moulton said.
The first day of school in the district is set for Aug. 28.
Santa Fe ISD
After becoming a District of Innovation, Santa Fe ISD also will begin classes Aug. 21.
Other changes to the district include new start and end times at the schools. Elementary students will begin school at 8:20 a.m. and end at 3:45 p.m.; middle schoolers will start at 7:15 a.m. and end at 2:50 p.m.; the high school will run from 7:10 a.m. to 2:35 p.m.
District officials named Brooke Newell as the principal at Kenneth E. Little Elementary and Nancy Flores as principal at Dunbar Middle School to account for administrative positions, said Tammy Dowdy, spokeswoman for the district.
Dickinson ISD also joined the ranks of county schools that became Districts of Innovation and will begin Aug. 21.
This year, the district will expand its STEM Academy to sixth grade after opening fifth grade last year. A total of 220 students will participate in the STEM classes this year, Dowdy said.
Clear Creek ISD
While Clear Creek ISD is starting Aug. 21 after applying to be a district of innovation, no other major changes are expected, said Elaina Polsen, spokeswoman for the district.
Classes will begin even earlier than Aug. 21 at Friendswood ISD. The new school year begins Wednesday, district officials said.
In addition to an earlier start to the year, class start and end times are also changing for the district’s schools, Dayna Owen, spokeswoman for the district, said.
Cline Elementary will start at 7:40 a.m. and end at 2:40 p.m.; Westwood Elementary and Bales Intermediate will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3:05 p.m.; Windsong Intermediate will start at 8:15 a.m. and end at 3:20 p.m.; Friendswood Junior High and Friendswood High School will begin at 8:45 a.m. and end at 3:50 p.m., Owen said.
The changes came after trustees in June voted to approve Thad Roher as the superintendent to replace longtime Superintendent Trish Hanks, who retired after the school year. Roher was a deputy superintendent for the district before his promotion.
Connie Morgenroth replaced Roher as the assistant superintendent of business and operations.
Classes will start Aug. 28. District officials did not provide more information about any changes for the school year.
High Island ISD
District officials did not respond to a request about changes.
High Island ISD will be under new leadership after former Superintendent D’Ann Vonderau resigned after admitting to leaving a loaded handgun in a district vehicle used to transport students, one of whom found the weapon while en route to a sporting event.
High Island Principal Amanda Jackson had been serving as principal and acting superintendent since May 19 — when Vonderau was placed on administrative leave — until late June when the school board appointed veteran educator Travis Grubbs acting superintendent.
Jackson remains with the district as student counselor and curriculum director.