Transformation Taking Place at New Amber Terrace Discovery & Design Early Childhood Academy

Hallways are receiving fresh paint and classrooms with new carpet and tiles.Most books from Amber Terrace were taken to other schools; the library will be stocked with Pre-K and early readers for Amber students plus size appropriate furniture.                        (photo courtesy DeSoto ISD)

Hallways are receiving fresh paint and classrooms with new carpet and tiles.Most books from Amber Terrace were taken to other schools; the library will be stocked with Pre-K and early readers for Amber students plus size appropriate furniture. (photo courtesy DeSoto ISD)

DESOTO, TX — This past year, DeSoto ISD decided to re-configure several schools to better streamline services for students, ensure best practices and align curriculum both vertically and equitably.
Three of the changes are of minimal impact to the customers – our students and parents – but are of value in various ways.

TWO PROGRAMS BECOME SCHOOLS

This year, both the DeSoto Alternative Education and the WINGS dropout prevention and recovery programs will instead become alternative schools.
“Both programs have operated under the umbrella of serving all district students with WINGS as a program within DeSoto High School. They will continue to serve the same population of students, but they need the autonomy of being a school,” said Superintendent David Harris. “Both will function under Principal Homer Webb who has been running the alternative school for years. He will partner with Mrs. Kathy Goad, who has been so devoted to serving at WINGS, so assure that the program continues its success.”

DHS AND FC COMBINE AS ONE

The Power of 1: Starting this fall, DeSoto ISD is combining the high school and freshman campus as one school. Having almost 3,000 students under one umbrella will align instruction, combine resources and better meet the demands of the new accountability system. Ninth graders will still take the majority of classes in the freshman wing, including lunch and gym, however with the introduction of the HB5, all students will be under DeSoto High School Executive Principal Thurston Lamb.

LAUNCH OF EARLY CHILDHOOD ACADEMY

Finally, the re-configuration with the largest impact is the changing of an existing elementary school to an early childhood academy.
“We are completely revamping Amber Terrace Elementary into the Amber Terrace Discovery & Design Early Childhood Academy serving all district Pre-K students (age 4 on or before Sept. 1), PPCD students (age 3-5) and employee children age 18 mos. through 3 years in a childcare wing starting in the fall of 2015,” stated Dr. Gabrielle Lemonier, asst. supt. elementary schools.
“We can better serve that population in a specialized learning environment. Research shows serving early childhood students together provides for consistency of instruction, staff development and early academic exposure that will help decrease achievement gaps later in school,” she said.
Due to the specialized nature, campus modifications are being made to bathrooms, drinking fountains, and some railings. Newly renovated furniture from existing district Pre-K classes will move in as Amber Terrace furniture for grades K-5 are re-distributed to district schools that will house current Amber students.
“Our goal is to prepare DeSoto children for school,” said Superintendent David Harris of the district’s early childhood academy. “While many students are being prepared with their parents actively reading to them and teaching them basics of math and language, some children need extra help.”
DeSoto ISD is actively recruiting early childhood students with a vertical program that prepares students for the rigors of school:
● Eagle Advantage Childcare – childcare for students age 18 mos. through 3 years; limited to DeSoto ISD employees and DeSoto City, Dallas County, Texas State and federal, plus DeSoto ISD higher education partners
● PPCD – Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities – provide special education and related services for eligible children with disabilities ages 3-5
● Full-day Pre-K – DeSoto ISD supports both the state eligibility criteria program AND a tuition-based program for area students
Eagle Advantage Childcare will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. the same days as the ISD schedule for employees. A summer program will be considered based on interest. Fees vary based on the age of the child.
Space is limited for both the tuition-based Pre-K and childcare program.