I am a former PTA President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Arts in Education Chair of my neighborhood school, Hedrick Elementary.
Regardless of whether have kids who attend this school, I want to share with all of Lewisville that this school is a very special place, tirelessly serving the community in which I live. Its office staff and teachers are truly dedicated to taking care of children from so many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and ability levels that it would make your head spin! I know this because of my many years there, getting to know the staff, the children, and the parents.
Changes are coming to this school in the next year. Hedrick Elementary is an older campus, built in 1973, and they are tearing it down soon, along with the middle school to which it is connected. The problem is, the school district wants to rebuild the middle school ONLY, while splitting up and busing all of the 600 plus elementary kids from OUR neighborhood to four to five other LISD schools! They want to do this even though they admit that it is possible, both physically and financially, to rebuild both schools in the same location. It is merely the strong preference of the school district to rebuild the middle school without rebuilding the elementary.
Hedrick Elementary is an interesting study in culture, right here in Lewisville. Some of my children attended other elementary schools in LISD and my experience is that Hedrick is truly unique, in positive ways that are difficult to describe or quantify. Its diversity goes well beyond just a bilingual campus, serving families who come to our city from many, many places around the world.
So many of its families do not feel that they have a voice in their own children’s schooling or they simply do not speak English well enough to advocate for themselves and their families. But they are also part of our community here, even if they cannot speak up or even do more than say hi to you in English. Their children are as precious to them as mine are to me. And I can tell you from long and vast experience that this neighborhood school is central to their kids’ well–being and to the ability of their parents to get them to school every day, to participate in their school activities, for the kids to be able to be in their own neighborhood and with their own friends, just like everyone else. Just like my kids can.
You don’t have to have a kid at Hedrick Elementary to care about the kids of our community. I don’t have a kid there anymore. But for many families in Lewisville, Hedrick Elementary is central to their family stability and to the educational progress of their children. If you have it in you to advocate for elementary school kids in Lewisville, Hedrick Elementary students and families need your help! You can contact the LISD Board members. You can also come to the LISD Board meeting next Monday night (Jan. 9) at 7 p.m. and fill out a speaker card (show up no later than 6:45 p.m. to fill out a card and you can speak for three minutes). Do it because LISD can and should rebuild this elementary school. These kids don’t deserve to lose their right to a neighborhood public school so that a middle school doesn’t have to share the space. LISD should not be spending millions on athletic field houses and extra rooms at high schools while taking away an entire school from kids who need it. It is possible for them to rebuild both and that is what they need to do, because that’s what the kids and families of our neighborhood deserve.
Sorrel B. McCarthy
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