SAN ANTONIO – The Boerne Independent School District is one of the fastest growing school districts around our community and on Wednesday, they returned to class.
And the first day of school is always exciting.
“We have one campus at Kendall and there, the Knights, their staff dresses up, dressed in knight regalia on a red carpet, welcoming their students to campus,” Bryan Benway, Boerne ISD Director of Communications said.
But this year, there are some changes for the district.
“We’ll have an SRO (school resource officer) at each of our 12 campuses, and that’s something that we’ve never had before. So we’ve added that, and we’re also looking a lot more into enhanced mental health capabilities for our students, making sure that we have additional counselors, additional psychologists to make sure that we’re getting them both, not only their safety in the classroom, but for their mental health safety as well,” Benway said.
School security is obviously a top priority.
“We have a committee that we’re working with to make sure that we’re doing the things that we need to do. We’re having an external audit from someone that’s not involved with our school district, so somebody is going to be coming in and doing a complete security audit of our buildings to make sure that we get another set of eyes that’s outside of the district, as well to help us look into those safety and security upgrades and features,” Benway said.
And while safety is important for any school district, it’s important for one as fast growing as Boerne.
“If you go to the previous year, we gained a thousand students from the end of the 2021 school year to the end of the 2022 school year. And so, that growth will only continue. We’re projected to double in size in the 2031 school year to over 20,000 students. So what that means is, we have a long-range steering committee,” Benway said.
With the growth in students and families, also comes growth in new programs as well.
“Our students in this P-TECH program, which is Pathways and Technology, Early High School, we really feel that that’ll be a great connection to the San Antonio area, with all the tech jobs, all the safety jobs that are going into that area. We feel that our students are going to be a very good fit to hopefully work at some of those tech companies and work at some of those security companies in the future,” Benway said.
The district has recently placed an added emphasis on hands-on learning.
“We really are focusing a lot more on our CTE programs, our career and technical programs, because we want to make sure that we’re giving our students the capabilities to get some of these great jobs as they leave high school and enter college,” Benway said.
The district is also working to create more dual-language opportunities at its grade schools.
“We’re looking at a lot more dual-language programs. So currently, we have four dual-language programs in our elementary schools,” Benway said.
Boerne ISD said regarding staffing, they are good to go, despite the apparent teacher shortage and they credit that to their ability to keep up with inflation.
“We always seem to have a lower number of job openings here in Boerne than in other parts of our area. And we feel that’s because we have raised employee pay, not just teacher pay, but we’ve raised staff pay since 2017 over 15 to 16%. We’ve also increased other compensation benefits, like health care insurance and those types of things. So we really do feel like we’ve done a good job to try and combat inflation,” Benway said.