With the second six-week grading period now underway, more Tyler ISD students are back in the classroom. District-wide enrollment numbers show 80 percent of students are in face-to-face instruction with 20 percent opting to Learn@Home. That is an increase of 2,651 students back on campuses since the beginning of the school year. Administrators view the increase over the first grading period as a step in the right direction for getting all Tyler ISD students back onto campuses.
“We are excited to see more and more students returning to our classrooms,” Superintendent Dr. Marty Crawford said. “As the community has seen, the District’s health and safety protocols are working. The number of active COVID-19 cases has remained below 1/10th of a percent, or a rate of .001, since the beginning of the school year. As of date, through contact tracing there is no confirmed spread of the virus in the school system. It’s time for students to come back.”
Dr. Crawford explains that although the rise in In-School learners to 80 percent is something to celebrate, it is time for all students to head back to school saying there is nothing better than an effective teacher in front of students. The academic, social, mental, and physical benefits of in-person school far outweigh the virus risks.
One area of enrollment that has seen a decline across the state this year is in Pre-K and kindergarten programs. Although Texas does not require students to attend school until they are six years old by September 1, studies continue to show the academic and social skills students learn during these formable years helps to set a strong foundation for future academic success.
“Although Pre-K and even kindergarten (under the age of six) are not mandated attendance programs under state law, it is so important for students to start strong,” Dr. Crawford said. “By getting a jump start on concepts such as letters and phonics, as well as sharing and following rules, students in Pre-K and kindergarten tend to be better prepared and focused for when the more challenging curriculum begins.”
Tyler ISD early education programs include Head Start (English only), Free Pre-K (Bilingual and English) and Tuition Pre-K (English only). Seats are still available in Austin, Bell, Clarkston, Dixie, Douglas, Griffin, Jack, Jones, Ramey, Rice, and Andy Woods elementary schools. All families interested in Head Start or Tuition-Free Pre-K must begin with contacting the Head Start office at 903-262-1180 to find out which program they qualify for and how to enroll, or they may visit tylerisd.org/headstart. Families interested in Tuition Pre-K (spots available in Andy Woods, Jack and Rice elementary schools) can contact the campus directly.