Hybrid Dallas ISD Campus Coming to Oak Lawn/Turtle Creek

In 1926, Stephen J. Hay Elementary was built after voters approved a $2 million school bond. Ninety-five years later, the school will once again be the site of something new.

The Stephen J. Hay Building, located on Herschel Avenue in the Oak Lawn and Turtle Creek area, was eventually first office space for the district, and then the home of the Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School before it moved to its current site near Fair Park. But when it was designed by Thomas J. Gailbraith, best known for his work on the construction of the Hall of State and other Fair Park buildings., it was built to last – and by 2007, had been recognized as historical by both the city and state.

“The ‘new Stephen J. Hay Elementary School in North Dallas’ was a sixteen-room brick school building costing $97,500, according to a building permit taken out the week before construction,” said the application for the state historical marker. “The Dallas school board purchased the remaining lots 1-10 from L.R. Smith to use as the school’s playground. Today, the entire block is intact and looks much the same as it did in 1926.”

“This school year has given us the opportunity to reimagine the school experience.”

Angie Gaylord

What won’t look the same next year is the concept that will once again bring students to campus – a hybrid campus. The concept will sound familiar to families in this pandemic-driven climate, but has been in the works for more than a year: students will learn remotely part of the time, and on campus the rest of the time.

Last May, trustees Edwin Flores and Dustin Marshall were enthusiastic about the model, with Marshall pointing out that it might allow the district to attract new families – including those that are outside the district.

“Innovation has become a hallmark of DISD,” Flores said.

The Hybrid Future School, which will open next fall for students in fourth through sixth grade, with additional grades being added in the future.

“This school year has given us the opportunity to reimagine the school experience,” said Angie Gaylord, deputy chief of the Office of Transformation and Innovation. “While we know many students and families prefer the traditional learning environment, we have seen how some students thrive in a blended learning model. This is part of the district’s larger mission to a provide best-fit school for every student.”

Olga Romero

Students will be on campus twice a week, and learn remotely the rest of the week, with school staff working with families to make sure that they have everything they need to embark on the new (yet familiar) venture.

“While on campus, scholars will problem solve and create in small groups,” the district said. “Students will design projects based on their own unique interests and needs while developing and demonstrating competencies. During remote learning, scholars will have pacing flexibility and engage in discussion boards, blogs, and pre-recorded webinars and lectures.”

Lenore Kirk Hall Personalized Learning Academy principal Olga Romero will move to the new school as principal.

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Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, former Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. She's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy.

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