South Dallas Proud: Expanded all-day learning center and new STEAM academy will give more opportunities to families


Change is coming to South Dallas schools! An expanded all-day early learning center and a new state-of-the-art STEAM academy are just the latest building blocks in an effort to grow Dallas ISD’s South Dallas initiative, providing more and better services to this vital community.

First up, in addition to continuing to serve our K-5 students, JJ Rhoads Elementary is expanding to become an all-day early learning center, and will begin serving both Pre-K3 and Pre-K4  students in 2020-21. With extended hours of 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate working parents, Rhoads will offer music and art as part of its after-school programming. Renovations are planned for the building, but Rhoads will remain open and will continue to serve its students.

In the 2021-22 school year, the neighborhood is gaining a new state-of-the-art S.T.E.A.M. academy to serve 675 students when the rebuilt H.S. Thompson Elementary reopens. The new school will be large enough to accommodate all the students now at Rhoads as well, and will focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math, aimed at preparing students for success in the 21st century.

Once the higher grades move to Thompson, Rhoads will have room to offer wraparound services as well as community partnerships and resources. Meetings will be held to gather community input.

Rhoads will have two principals on site in the coming school year, the current JJ Rhoads principal, Chaundra Macklin, and the newly named H.S. Thompson principal, Crystal Owens. See Macklin’s greeting here and Owens’ greeting here. They will be working together to ensure a smooth transition for our students.

These changes, coupled with the conversion of  Martin Luther King Jr. Learning Center into a pre-K through 8th grade school for the arts, are part of the district’s whole-cloth plan to better serve students in the South Dallas community. Visit our web page to stay updated.


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