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Everybody likes options and that is particularly true for parents as they look for the best ways to educate their children. That’s where public schools are strongest as they offer a myriad of educational choices for students of varying interests and learning styles.

In District 1 alone, there are many opportunities for parents to find a school that fits their child’s needs academically, socially and culturally. Ask the parents at E.D. Walker Middle School, where approximately 75 percent of students participate in one or more high school credit courses: algebra, astronomy, government, world geography, creative writing, literary genres, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, intro to computer science, speech communications, business finance and marketing.

For the 2017-2018 school year, Walker will have three “schools within a school” which will be academies of choice: two-way dual language academy, visual and performing arts academy and a science technology engineering and math academy. By participating in these courses, students not only gain high school credit in order to enroll in dual credit college courses when they reach high school, but they prepare early to handle the rigors of college. The school has teachers with high school certifications to ensure students are provided the maximum opportunity to succeed in these courses.

Less than 4 miles to the west, students at Thomas C. Marsh Preparatory Academy enrolled in the Leadership Cadet Corp (LCC) benefit from the program that prepares them at a young age to be leaders with an emphasis on integrity, perseverance, teamwork, selflessness, and being role models.

These are great lessons that the LCC instills at this impressionable age and students leave with a greater sense of their purpose and place in the world. There are about 200 cadets enrolled in this three-year program, which takes them from novice cadets to leader of cadets. Rank promotions and A/B honor roll ceremonies occur after each grading period.

The nationally recognized, award-winning LCC teaches students to appreciate and recognize the many sacrifices of service members; apply military leadership principals, and serve others in the community via service projects. For their main project this year, students created welcome baskets for children at the Genesis Women’s Shelter. On Memorial Day, the cadets will place hundreds of flags at the DFW National Cemetery. Additionally, students participate in academic, drill, and physical fitness competitions throughout the year.

With the number of options rapidly increasing throughout the district, it is an exciting time to be part of Dallas ISD. I encourage you to check out the offerings at these and other great Dallas ISD schools.

Other news:

Congratulations to Thomas Jefferson High School student Victor Peña who was part of the winning duo at the inaugural Mayor’s Cup Debate competition. The teams debated the topic of vouchers in education.  W.T. White High School student Ricardo Rodríguez also participated on the opposing team.

Extracurricular activities add great enrichment to students, and more than half of Dallas ISD students are involved in some extracurricular activity throughout the year. Congratulations to Herbert Marcus Elementary student Evelyn Sida and Fatima Martinez; Harry Withers Elementary students Andrew Horton, Brittany White, and Dasia Williams;  Audrey Tabor, Evelyn Hernandez, Lily Bergman, Jatoria Allen, Gianna Gilliam and London Wulff from Everette Lee DeGolyer Elementary; and Carmen Velazquez and Emory Harrington from Jerry Junkins Elementary who won first place in their respective categories at the Lone Star Challenge Competition this month, the elementary equivalent to the Academic Decathlon and Pentathlon.

Students at DeGoyler Elementary are also having a ball competing in the finals of the Dancing Classrooms program, where students learn ballroom dancing. The program builds social awareness, confidence and self-esteem through social dance.

Here’s wishing you each a great, safe summer, and thank you for supporting Dallas ISD schools.

Edwin Flores

—Edwin Flores is the District 1 representative on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees