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Area schools start year Monday

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 12:00 pm

Summer break comes to an end on Monday, Aug. 19, for students in the Bandera and Utopia independent school districts as school bells ring for the start of a new school year.

Students in Bandera ISD will see new principals and assistant principals at several schools and will begin and end their school days at different times than last year.

The elementary school day in BISD will start earlier, at 7:55 a.m. daily, and end at 3:25 p.m., which lengthens the school day by 10 minutes for elementary students, giving them the same amount of time in classes as secondary students.

Middle and high school students in BISD will get their days started at 8:10 a.m. this year and end at 3:40 p.m.  That’s 15 minutes later than the starting and ending times last year.

BISD has earned the standing as a District of Innovation, which allowed it to modify its class schedule this year to better address the needs of the community, officials said.

The new schedule allows the district to end its first semester before Christmas break and to end the school year before Memorial Day, both of which were seen as beneficial changes.

BISD also has expanded its Digital Classrooms, featuring laptop computers for each student in the class and teachers trained to get the most instructional value out of those computers.

A newly developed Core Values and Vision Report will guide the work of the district and, if successful, improve student outcomes as well.

“There is a great deal of excitement about beginning a new year in Bandera ISD.  We are committed to our vision to be a small-town district creating a worldwide impact,” said Superintendent Dr. Jerry Hollingsworth. “Come learn, grow and create something great with us.”

Dr. Kenneth Vogel has come in as he new principal at Bandera High School this year, while Ray Blanco is the new assistant principal at Bandera Middle School, Dixie Moseley is the new principal and Dr. Jason Lenz the new assistant principal at Alkek Elementary, and Sarah Denny Verstuyft is the new assistant principal at Hill Country Elementary School.

Patrick Sizemore, who began serving as principal at Bandera Middle midway through the year last year, will start his first full year as principal on Monday as well.

Bandera ISD enrolled 2,278 students in the 2017-2018 school year, the Texas Education Agency reported.  It hopes to increase enrollment this year, but that count won’t be established for several weeks.

The district will host open houses for parents of secondary school students to meet teachers and walk through their children’s schedules on Sept. 3 for Bandera Middle and Sept. 10 for Bandera High.  Each session will run from 5:30-7 p.m.

Utopia ISD is in Uvalde County but its boundaries spread into the southwest corner of Bandera County, allowing it to enroll numerous Bandera County students.

Also serving students in Bandera County is the Medina Independent School District, which starts its year on Aug. 26.

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