As students and staff arrive each morning at Baker Montessori School, they’re cheerfully greeted with a flock of clucking chickens.
The laying hens bob their heads up and down, trilling softly as they make their way around the large, enclosed chicken run safely housed near the gym. Some begin squawking, having laid their daily egg in the nesting area.
They waddle toward the entry and peck at the ground as a small group of students from Baker — formerly known as Wilson Montessori School — comes in to visit.
On sunny weekends, parents and students gather in the Baker Montessori School garden where they pull on gloves and grab rakes and trowels to remove weeds and leaves from the musky soil.
The students at Baker — formerly called Wilson Montessori School — are learning to grow fragrant flowering herbs and study their uses. Once the flowers bloom, students will cut some of the plants and infuse them in oil or dry them to make spices or teas.
Bellaire High School brimmed with excitement on Saturday as alumni — some of whom hadn’t walked the halls in more than 60 years — joined with current students to say goodbye to their beloved campus.
With the school set for demolition this summer, Cardinals flocked from far and wide for the Final Building Walk Through, co-hosted by the Bellaire Parent-Teacher Organization and the Alumni and Friends of Bellaire High School.
In a ceremony on April 24, Booker T. Washington High School and the High School for Engineering Professions will dedicate its auditorium to alumna state Rep. Senfronia Thompson and kick off efforts to create a community “Vision” project.
Thompson, a 25-term state representative and 1957 Washington High School graduate, has long been heralded for her service to her community as a state legislator.
Thompson will be present at the ceremony in her honor, along with State Senator John Whitmire, State Representatives Jarvis Johnson and Harold Dutton, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston City Council Member Karla Cisneros, HISD District II Trustee Katherine Blueford-Daniels, and Harris County Justice of the Peace Judge Eric Carter.
Neymar Gonzalez could barely contain his excitement.
The Braeburn Elementary School third-grader vigorously clapped his hands as a five-minute countdown launched on the big screen at the front of his classroom.
“Yay! Five minutes until showtime!” Gonzalez squealed. “I’m so excited!”
Similar excitement was felt throughout the school on Friday afternoon as students celebrated the premiere of their school’s virtual grand opening — a specially themed “Bobcat News” segment — with cupcakes and classroom watch parties.
The virtual event officially marked the beginning of a new chapter for Braeburn, which was among four HISD elementary schools that had to be demolished and rebuilt after sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Harvey.
With the first phase of construction 85 percent complete, Bellaire High School is on track to debut three new wings — academic, fine arts, and physical education — when students return for the 2021-2022 school year.
Crews are installing technology in the three-story academic wing, which is nearly complete and expected to be outfitted with furniture in June after students depart for the summer.
Carpet has been installed in the auditorium and ceiling tiles and flooring are now being installed in the remainder of the fine arts wing. Epoxy flooring in the natatorium pool also is underway in the physical education wing.
When Nathaniel Melvin began teaching art at Westbury High School, he was assigned a classroom with no sink. For someone who specializes in building large sculptures and technical art pieces, that was an issue.
He installed one, but even then, the classroom never quite functioned the way he needed it to. There wasn’t enough cabinetry to hold supplies.
Melvin now teaches in a “visual arts studio” specifically designed to meet his students’ needs. Ample power is available via ceiling cables at each art table. There is plenty of built-in storage space. Most importantly — there is not one, but three sinks.
Austin High School seniors Daniel Miranda and Jesus Cantu greeted each other as they made their way through their school’s dining commons, stopping to soak in their new surroundings before the first bell rang.
“It looks futuristic,” Miranda said, first looking up at the contemporary lighting and then down below at the dining tabletops featuring the school’s mustang mascot.
“Futuristic?” Cantu asked with a laugh. “I think you mean modern.”
There are many features that Principal Orlando Reyna finds impressive about the newly constructed Austin High School, but the contemporary courtyard is by far one of his favorites.
“It just looks amazing,” Reyna said, smiling at the thought of it. “I anticipate it’s going to be a popular space for us to utilize and for students to congregate.”
After a semester-long delay due to pandemic-related manpower and delivery issues, Austin High School is finally set to open its doors to students on Wednesday, Jan. 6, following their return from winter break.