"Tour Days" Promotes Public vs. Private Schools

Tyler schools want you to give them a second chance, or at least a second look. Tuesday was the start of "TISD Tour Days". Anyone is invited to visit any Tyler Elementary School through Thursday. But, it's not just another open house.

Normally, Joey Seeber is busy serving as Tyler's Mayor. But Tuesday morning, he was a tour guide promoting the school his kids attend. One of the parents in Seeber's tour group was Karen Gray. Her daughter currently attends a private preschool. But she may be in a TISD classroom next fall.

"We've enjoyed the private school. She attended Stepping Stone and it is a marvelous school. She's learning all the prerequisits she'll need in kindergarten

TISD Tour Days is new. It's the first major effort for the district to attract private school parents to public education. Dr. David Simmons says his schools are their own best advertisement.

"I want them to see that our schools are safe. I want them to see that there's a positive learning environment. I want them to see the dedication of our staff that each day go to work. We have some outstanding private schools. I think we also have an outstanding public school system. We just want to make sure parents know their options."

After the tour, Karen Gray was sold.  Her daughter will be at Andy Woods in September. But it's just one parent, one new student. And TISD still faces a lot of competition not far from these halls.

Stephen Parr, reporting.