ESSER Spotlight: Special calendar offers unique enrichment opportunities 


Dallas ISD is receiving federal stimulus dollars known as ESSER funds to help the district recover from challenges caused by the pandemic and accelerate learning. One way Dallas ISD is using ESSER funds is to help support an extended school year at 46 schools, including Boude Storey Middle School.

Special education teacher Pamela Appiah-Opoku has a passion for gardening, one that is not limited to her free time. Some of her favorite memories from her eight years at Boude Storey Middle School come from her involvement in their community garden, which she helps to maintain along with other teachers, teaching assistants and interested students.

Thanks to Boude Storey’s school day redesign calendar, she now has extra time to work on the crops for harvest.

As one of only five Dallas ISD schools following the School Day Redesign calendar, Boude Storey’s year starts at the beginning of August and ends in late June with several days set aside for planning, leading to more enrichment and acceleration opportunities.

“Normally, the students would have to stay after school during the week to participate in their various extracurricular activities, but with the School Day Redesign, there is time already built in where students can attend all their various clubs,” Appiah-Opoku said. “Our administration was adamant about making sure that the clubs were not just meeting to meet but were being intentional about our time and making sure that we have hands-on activities for the students.”

Appiah-Opoku has seen exciting results in the gardening club. Not only have they successfully harvested their own produce, but their students have also learned to make recipes like lettuce wraps and homemade salsa. Best of all, Appiah-Opoku said there is “something for everyone.”

Boude Storey has plenty of options for curious students, from a financial literacy club, which teaches budgeting and other real-life money concepts, to a good vibes club, which emphasizes positivity. The school also provides mentoring opportunities and encourages students to explore their heritage and history.

“It’s very family-oriented,” Appiah-Opoku said. “We’re always doing something for our kids to get them excited, like there have been different types of carnivals and concerts, so there’s always something fun going on for both the staff and students to look forward to.”

As far as Appiah-Opoku is concerned, any school in Dallas ISD is worth considering. Of course, she is partial to her own community and its enriching special calendar.

“I would just say for Boude Storey, we have great administration and great staff, who are really eager to help our students learn, and we’re just seeking excellence here,” she said. “So if excellence is what you’re after, then Boude Storey is your place.”


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