With origins in the rural Duck Creek School, the first school in Garland opened soon after the community's establishment in 1887. Students and teachers met in temporary space until the first permanent building was erected three years later. Garland College, as the school was known, was a subscription school, charging tuition for its educational services. In 1901, Garland voters elected to incorporate as an independent school district, which gave them authority to levy taxes for school improvements. The first classes began in September 1901 in the Garland College building with an enrollment of 130 students. Interscholastic football was introduced in 1906, and the first parent- teacher association formed in 1922. Facilities were remodeled and expanded over the years as needed to accommodate a growing population. This building burned in 1898, but the campus became the nucleus for the Garland ISD when it formed in 1901. The 3 story building was replaced with a two story, which had Grammar School on the first floor while high school classes occupied the second until the Garland High School campus was completed in 1936. This building was again destroyed by fire in January of 1946, and was replaced with the present one story structure.
Garland ISD opened its first school for African- American children in 1922-23. Carver School served students in grades one through eight; high school students had to travel to Dallas to complete their education. Integration of the schools began in 1964 and was completed by 1970. As the Garland area became more urban, the neighboring rural schools consolidated with the Garland school district. In its first 100 years, public education in Garland grew from a six-room building with enrollment of 130 pupils in 1901 to more than 60 campuses with an enrollment of approximately 51,000 students.