Select number of students who receive special education services enjoy a second ‘first day of school’

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Happy faces were seen at the entrances of select Dallas ISD schools yesterday morning, as students receiving special education services at specialized self-contained classrooms were given the option to return to their campuses to begin working with their teachers. This was the first time the students saw each other in person after months of virtual learning due to the pandemic.

“It is important for these students to be back because they need the consistency of the daily routine that the school can provide, as well as the support for the academic and social skills they need to develop,” said Heather Massie, SPED teacher at L.L. Hotchkiss Elementary School. “I am excited to see my students and I know they are excited too.”

For parents such as Estella Zamarripa at Hotchkiss Elementary, this transition from home to the classroom has been easy because parents and teachers have worked together to make sure students are ready. She said her student is in good hands and trusts the safety protocols implemented for students and staff.

“It was important for me that my son went to school because, as much as I can do at home, he benefits from having his friends and peers,” Zamarripa said. “I feel great that Dallas ISD, and especially the teachers, offered us the opportunity to be back in school.”

“We are excited to welcome this first group of students with disabilities back for in-person instruction after months of missing them,” said Elizabeth Casas, assistant superintendent of special populations. “The district has worked hard to prepare our schools and classrooms to make sure they are safe for students and staff. While distance learning still remains an option, we are happy to provide families with the choice now that Dallas County has lowered the COVID-19 threat level to orange.”

Other students who receive special education services but who are not in self-contained classrooms will continue to participate in the distance learning model.

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