At Grapevine Elementary School in Grapevine-Colleyville ISD, the students in Julia Patterson’s third-grade class were already in full learning mode on the first day of school on Aug. 15.

In a nutshell

After going around the room and introducing themselves, students were instructed to pick a dot on the floor to sit on and get ready to hear Patterson read from a book titled "Our Class is a Family."

While the students in Patterson’s classroom listened intently to the story, quiet was also the name of the game in the hallways just outside.

Numerous classes of students filled the hallways, which were decorated with pictures of wild animals and safari decorations to reflect this year’s theme of being wild about engagement. As the students headed to and from various classrooms, there was little to no talking as they practiced the correct way to walk without disturbing others.

“We’ve got about 530 kids in pre-K through fifth [grade],” Principal Nancy Hale said. “We’ve gained a little bit [of students] from last year.”

Put in perspective

While other schools and districts are dealing with the one-two punch of high teacher turnover and teacher shortages, Hale said Grapevine Elementary’s staff has seen little turnover.

Of the approximately 60 staff members—which include teachers, administrators and support staff—Hale said they only have three new teachers this year.

Quote of note

“We’re very lucky,” Hale said. “Our teachers come in, and they love it.”

Grapevine Elementary is celebrating its 29th birthday this year. Hale has been the principal for the past five years.