Dogan Elementary School students, staff and community members gathered on Monday to officially dedicate the school’s new 86,000-square-foot building, which was built with $19.6 million in funding from HISD’s 2007 bond initiative.
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The event, which included student performances, a classroom tour, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony, was conducted in both English and Spanish in order to highlight the school’s new dual language emphasis.
“At Dogan Elementary we celebrate a community of two cultures,” said Principal Tarrieck Rideaux, first in English and then in Spanish. “We are most fortunate to have an all new dual language program which allows our scholars to leave Dogan completely bi-literate.”
The dual language structure offers foreign language immersion for English-speaking students and a bilingual program for Spanish speakers.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was not able to attend in person, but called in to the event and spoke to the group live from her office in Washington, D.C. Attendees also heard from HISD Elementary Schools Officer Sam Sarabia, Houston City Councilman Jim Davis, and HISD District II Trustee Rhonda Skillern-Jones.
“This school is lovely – truly a 21st century learning environment,” Skillern-Jones said. “The foundations learned here will go with these kids for a lifetime. I’m really pleased to see that they have chosen bi-culturalism as their theme, because it is so important to today’s children. I’m confident we’ll see some great leaders coming out of this school.”
The school was designed to accommodate 750 students and features natural light, bright colors, and integrated technology. It was opened for the 2013-2014 school year.
“It is great to see so many coming out to support the kids,” Councilmember Davis said. “We need to make sure that we embrace our community schools. It’s hard out there, and kids need to know that we love them and care for them.”
After the tour and ribbon-cutting, guests were invited to a reception in the school library where they had the opportunity to visit with the project architect, the school support officer and other community members.
Third-grade teacher Angelina Rodriguez Steward emceed the celebration and said she was optimistic about the new school’s impact on the neighborhood.
“The building is amazing; it’s beautiful,” Steward said. “I’ve seen the community grow and transform right along with the building. It’s more than just a building – it’s opportunities for our scholars,” she said.
“Parents deserve the biggest thanks for supporting and breathing life into the neighborhood through this new school,” Sarabia said. “Dogan sits in the middle of the historic Fifth Ward, a neighborhood that’s continually changing. So we’re very excited to have a brand-new building and to be making Dogan a poster child for dual language.”