It has been a year of progress for Tyler area schools. Although setbacks are inevitable, most East Texas school districts saw impressive leaps forward.

 

Tyler ISD

One of the biggest victories for Tyler ISD was the end of a nearly 50-year fight for unitary status. In August, a federal judge lifted the desegregation order against the district, which dated back to 1970.

The district also made good on its promises to make significant improvements to its state accountability ratings. In just two years, the district went from 11 schools being listed as "improvement required" to just three. The school board believes 2017 will be the year that all campuses meet or exceed requirements.

The district also opened its new aquatic facility, which they hope will provide a venue for decades of competitive swimming in East Texas.

On the 15th anniversary of 9/11, students and teachers reflected on how their lives have changed and shared their concerns.

Most recently, Tyler ISD responded to long gestating concern about the state of its aging high schools, and is gearing up to call for a spring 2017 bond election.

 

Tyler Junior College

Tyler Junior College celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2016, marking its 1926 founding with a kickoff celebration in August, with special homecoming events and more.

Also during the year, the college sought to ensure that every student in its tax district could attend college by expanding its successful TJC Rusk Promise Program to all schools within its tax area, giving thousands of students the opportunity to commit to two years of college tuition free.

The school became the first junior college in the state to offer bachelor level degree programs.

Unfortunately, the college also suffered a rash of gun-related incidents between September and November.

 

UT Tyler

After more than 18 years at the helm, UT Tyler President Dr. Rodney Mabry announced his plans to step down. Although he was set to retire, Mabry never slowed down.

As the campus wrapped up the end of its previous 10-year plan, they also took the first steps in its new one with the purchase of more than 120 acres destined to become its new east campus, which they hope will one day house a research park.

The college also broke ground on a $56 million College of Business and Technology, pointing to its rapid enrollment growth as its scraped against the 10,000 mark.

 

Bullard ISD

Students at Bullard returned to school in August to a completely transformed district, with the completion of a bond package that saw improvements to facilities at every grade level.

 

Whitehouse ISD

Voters in Whitehouse vowed to do better for their students by approving a $95 million bond package, which will see the replacement of its dilapidated Junior High School.

 

Lindale ISD

Lindale ISD committed to ensuring every child has enough to read with it Little Readers program. The district teamed with the Lillie Russell Memorial Library to provide a free book for each month from birth through second grade.

 

All Saints

All Saints Episcopal School celebrated its legacy, while shaping its future.

The school welcomed new Head of School Mike Cobb amidst the hustle and bustle of its 40th anniversary.

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Cory is a multimedia journalist and member of the Education Writers Association, Criminal Justice Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. He has appeared on The Murder Tapes, Crime Watch Daily and Grave Mysteries on Investigation Discovery.