I n May of 2012, the Poteet community passed a 23.4 million bond election to improve the school and increase educational opportunities for students throughout the district. With a 75% passing rate, voters overwhelmingly supported the plan to expand the elementary building, improve the athletic facilities, build a new junior high cafeteria, expand the intermediate building, provide additional parking and improve traffic flow. I am so pleased to say that on Monday, August 18, 2014 I was in attendance at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Elementary expansion. I was totally blown away when I walked through those doors. I stepped into a very large, bright, air conditioned, secured front entrance. To my right I could see through to the nurse’s office and to the left was a security window where visitors check in. As a parent of a little Aggie, this security is exciting. I had a chance to meet with Mr. Castillo, Superintendent of Poteet ISD, and we discussed the motive behind the Elementary expansion.
Mr. Castillo said, “The expansion had a lot to do with the fact that we are growing. We also wanted to get all the kids out of the portable buildings and into a safe building. We wanted a secure entrance, with the nurse readily accessible to the parents, and one of the biggest things is we needed to get the area where the kids are picked up and dropped off, off the street.”
This has been an issue for quite a long time, and I really have to hand it to the administration and teachers for doing such a great job of keeping the kids safe before the expansion.
Once buzzed in, you enter a grand foyer where awards and books are on display. To the left you step into the reception area of the administration offices. Space is so important in these areas. Everyone, parents and staff, have plenty of room to move around without having to be on top of each other. The offices within are big and easily accessible. To the right is the nurse’s center. I say center because, well, it is. Before ground broke for the expansion, the nurses were housed out away from the main building in a 20+ year old portable building. Although it was spacious, it was inconvenient access for students, teachers, and parents. Then when that building was torn down in 2013, they were moved to a smaller room located at the center of the school. Convenient for students but not so much for parents. The new space for the nurses is right up front and the setup is extremely functional. You are greeted with a large area for students to wait and be tended to. A small hallway leads to four other rooms, a bathroom, a sick room, a kitchen area, and a testing room. The nurses were grinning from ear to ear knowing that this space will help them treat our children more effectively.
There are twelve new classrooms, five for Pre-k and seven for kindergarten. These classrooms are very large and inviting. When I saw these rooms I knew my son, who was not excited for school to start, would change his mind.
Although all the improvement to the district are yet to be completed, Poteet is definitely moving in the right direction. A recent study done by professors at the University of Salford in Britain concluded that 73% of the variation of student performance had to do with their environment. I believe that Poteet has provided their elementary students with the best possible learning environment. I know that as a parent I am extremely pleased with the safety and functionality of the school. What a great way to kick off the new year.