EL PASO, Texas -- Thousands of Borderland students are heading back to the classroom in-person, some for the first time in close to 18 months, since the pandemic. Ysleta Independent School District is among the nine Borderland school districts kicking off the start of their school year Monday.
Ysleta Superintendent Xavier De La Torre said he's "cautiously optimistic" about the start of the school year, but YISD is ready to welcome kids back to the classroom.
De La Torre told ABC-7 social and emotional development will be a big priority this school year.
New positions have been created to focus solely on student's well-being. Counselors and teachers have also been given extra training to help spot when a student is struggling.
“(Teachers) have gotten, as a result of the pandemic, a chance to literally look into the lives of these students in their home. And so they've learned some important things about each child's reality, and what's going on at home, and in their personal lives in some cases, so that they'll be, I think, better prepared to help these kids,” De La Torre said.
De La Torre said teachers will also zero in on learning recovery but also working towards accelerating learning for younger kids.
“We're really excited about our all day universal pre-k program. Our teachers grades, K through three have been trained in literacy camps. So you should see a far stronger student leave our kindergarten program and enter first grade which should improve reading performance by the third grade,” he said.
Teacher's ability to use new technology will also make for a stronger learning environment, De La Torre said.
Safety will remain a priority. Protocols like contact tracing, rapid testing, and disinfecting will remain in place.
Enrollment remains open. For more on information on YISD's back to school protocol's, click here.