It may still be July, but starting Monday, tens of thousands of El Paso children will be getting ready for the first day of school.
The Socorro Independent School District opens the 2012-2013 school year July 30.
ABC-7 visited O'Shea Keleher Elementary School Thursday morning as dozens of teachers gathered up school supplies and arranged their classrooms in anticipation of the first day.
There may be a noticeable increase of students in the hallways at O'Shea, and across the district. District officials said the SISD's population is expected to increase by 1,200 to 1,500 students, bringing the total to around 45,000. That makes SISD the second-largest district in the area, passing Ysleta ISD.
Another change at O'Shea and five other elementary schools is the conversion to refrigerated air conditioning. Many classrooms in O'Shea, Campestre, Rojas, Hueco, Myrtle Cooper and Benito Martinez are now equipped. Officials say the installation will continue through the fall.
There are other physical changes, as well.
"There's new lighting, new ceilings, the walls are being painted (and) they're getting new furniture," said Pat O'Neill, the interim superintendent. "It's a complete refurbish of the school."
Another change from last school year is the lack of leadership. Dr. Xavier de la Torre exited several weeks ago to take a job in California. O'Neill said SISD continues to uphold student achievement goals as the board narrows its search for a superintendent.
"The search is going very well," O'Neill said. "We're down to two finalists. Next week, several members of the school board will visit the home districts of our two finalists."