On August 15th, Estacado High School becomes the first high school to welcome all ninth graders. The campus is the first to participate in LISD's grade re-configuration plans. Only quandrant four schools (those that feed into Estacado) will be effected by grade reconfigurations this year. The rest of the schools will follow suit next year.
At Estacado, construction is underway on new classrooms, schedules are being drawn up, and faculty can't wait. Principal Paul Frazier says, "I am excited. Actually I was ready three or four years ago so I'm very excited."
Each star that hangs in the halls of Estacado High School has a picture of a student that's gone on to college. Principal Frazier hopes grade configuration changes will help add many more. He says, "For our ninth graders, there will be opportunities to get involved academically, socially and of course athletically, to develop lifelong friendships and the sooner you do that, the better off you'll be."
First it takes some changes. New plumbing in the bathrooms, a new science lab, and a new engineering classroom; but the biggest change is in mindset. LISD Deputy Superintendent of Secondary Education, Fred Hardin, says, "It allows us an opportunity to become more in line with educational trends across the nation. The schools are going to be able to address needs of kids in a much greater sense." Frazier adds, "I'm a firm believer, once we get the kids in the building and they get used to it, they're more likely to stay here."
Estacado has already been serving a select group of 9th graders for the past three years. An incoming senior, Ester Rios is one of them. She says, "It's easier to come at an early age. It helps your environment and it helps you grow up and mature a lot easier." Ester offers this advice for incoming freshman: "Don't be scared. It's really an easy change and it helps academically and it preps you for college and even more it brings you friends and encouragement."
Grade changes will add 200 new students at Estacado. They've hired ten new teachers. Construction may not be complete by the start of school, but they're happy to work around it for a couple of months.
Recall, last year voters passed a $98.8 million bond package. $55 million is being used to build two new elementary schools and for the expansions and renovations of high schools like Estacado.
The following elementaries will now be grades K through five:
Sixth through eighth graders will go to either Alderson or Dunbar Junior High. Estacado will be grades nine through twelve.
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