Memorial Elementary School Rededication Ceremony to Focus on Proud Past & Promising Future
October 19, 2012
Principal Sarika Pride and the Memorial Elementary School faculty, staff, students and families join the Plano ISD Board of Trustees in inviting the community to a rededication ceremony to celebrate their brand new school at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 8, at 2200 Laurel Lane in Plano. A reception and school tours will follow the ceremony.
Grand New School
The reconstruction of Memorial Elementary School was made possible through the 2008 Facilities and Technology Bond Program. Every detail of the school's design, from the family-friendly entryway to the instructional spaces, latest technology and even the font selected for the school name painted on the impressive foyer rotunda, was carefully selected by the architects, district personnel and Ms. Pride and her “beautification team" at Memorial, including office administration and a group of teachers who worked closely together to organize the décor.
The new school's entryway (above) is designed to be welcoming, family-friendly and conducive to occasional outdoor gatherings. The former school building (below), originally constructed in 1967, was celebrated this spring during a final walkthrough by former students, principals, faculty and parents.
The collaborative effort taken to construct a brand new facility in Plano ISD involves many months of planning and construction phases. The final results are generally "jaw dropping," as was the case with Memorial, according to Ms. Pride. "The staff, students and parents have all had similar reactions when seeing the new school," she noted. One student even asked Ms. Pride where the "pool" was located in the new school, thinking he must be at a resort.
Ms. Pride took great pride infusing a piece of herself into the school design. "It has been an honor to be part of history and putting a piece of who I am into the Memorial community for future generations. That process requires reflection and taking a back seat while focusing on the true intentions for a school - what's best for the students and community. It requires that you put the best of yourself into it."
Each detail of the new school, including the font selected for the school name in the rotunda, was carefully selected to be student-friendly.
A Proud Past
"There are so many people connected to the original Memorial Elementary School," noted Ms. Pride. "During our new school's construction, we reflected on our traditions." Along that vein, Ms. Pride conducted an online survey to gauge sentiment about the school's mascot - the bobcat. Parents, students and staff voted, in a process of elimination, to maintain the bobcat.
The school did update its colors; however, by adding navy to its existing maroon and cream to more closely honors its namesake - fallen military heroes who are Plano ISD alums. Their images will welcome guests in the school's entry hall, thanks to a local Rotarian who gathered the historical information and is preparing a collage tribute.
Proud traditions also include a first day of school flag raising ceremony and discussion about the school namesake followed by a kindergarten walk. During the ceremony, students and staff line the walls and cheer on kindergarten students welcoming them to Memorial. On the last day of school a similar parade is held for graduating fifth graders who are wished success on their future journey to Bowman Middle School.
Focused on the Future
The Memorial Elementary School community embraces its diversity. With a goal of maintaining or exceeding its "Recognized" state rating, this Title I campus succeeds because of "a very creative and dedicated staff," said Ms. Pride of her 60 colleagues, including 40 classroom teachers.
Principal Sarika Pride is pictured visiting students in their classroom.
"We are breaking down barriers," said Ms. Pride, who noted that language development is critical at Memorial, which houses a 50% bilingual or ESL (English as a Second Language) student population.
Programs in place that support English literacy instruction include after-school tutoring by teachers and a parent liaison who teaches English to parents and helps them to register on parent portal, a district application which tracks students' grades, attendance and progress.
Additionally, teachers attend Saturday academies throughout the year to brush up on the latest practices in teaching and supporting English language development.
To involve parents, the school hosts a number of family nights with such topics as literacy, math and science and multiculturalism. "Some of our parents may be new to the United States and not familiar with our customs, so our staff works very closely and effectively to engage parents," said Ms. Pride.
Partners in Education
The new school driveway and entry breezeway are open and inviting.
Sarika Pride calls them the "Big Five," the school's major partners -- the Plano Rotary Club, Medical Center of Plano (a 45-year partner), Chase Oaks Church, Fellowship Church and, most recently, Frito Lay.
The Plano Rotary Club provides mentors, funding for t-shirts and teacher appreciation events and lunches. One Rotarian designs and prints the school's yearbook each year and provides the school with enough copies for each family. Medical Center of Plano and Fellowship Church each donated trucks full of school supples for students this summer. Chase Oaks Church provides mentors, lunches for teachers on professional development days and snacks for students during state STAAR testing. A $10,000 donation made in recent years by Medical Center of Plano continues to support and enrich the school's academic programs.
Frito Lay coordinates and mans the school's annual field day event and helps teachers prepare their classrooms at the start of each school year. Frito Lay brought Chester the Cheetah on the first day of school this year to celebrate the new campus. A host of additional clubs and organizations also assist the school as partners in education.
Walk Down Memory Lane
This spring, approximately 200 former students and staff returned to Memorial Elementary for a final walk through of the original building.
Former teacher Joanne Cox was among those who signed the “Once a Bobcat, Always a Bobcat” mural this spring on the white board now housed in the school's collaborative learning space. View more photos from the walk through in this facebook album.
Guests reunited, walked back in time with a time line of photos down the hallway, took pictures in old classrooms and near favorite murals, signed Memorial’s “Once a Bobcat, Always a Bobcat” mural, browsed archived yearbooks, photos, newspaper articles and scrapbooks dating back to Memorial’s first year and caught a sneak peak of the new building with a slide show and blueprint display in the cafeteria.
Portraits of the school's six principals will be displayed in the school's front hallway. In addition to Sarika Pride, principals include Maricela Helm, Wendy DeSpain, Dr. Louise Davis, Dr. Charles Greer and Dr. Don Dunlap.
eNews Table of Contents
Save the Date
The Plano ISD Board of Trustees invites you to attend a celebration rededicating
Memorial Elementary School
2200 Laurel Lane
Plano, TX 75074
Thursday, November 8
Reception and tours to follow the ceremony
Hi-Tech Learning Environment
Memorial houses the latest technology tools, including touch screen computer monitors for staff, mobile laptop carts in every classroom for students, centrally located collaborative learning space, "white walls" on which teachers and students can write and classroom lessons can be projected and and a school public address system that allows for all school announcements or to contact an individual classroom.
'ROARS' Positive Referral Program
Ms. Pride watches as student Kason looks for a gift in her office for earning a positive referral from his teacher. On her office door is a sign for the school's positive referral program theme: "ROARS: Respectful, On Task, Actively Learning, Responsible & Safe."
Plano ISD Voters Support Capital Bond Projects
The collaborative effort taken to construct a brand new facility in Plano ISD involves many months of planning, including weekly meetings before any ground is broken. The final results are generally "jaw dropping," as was the case with the new Memorial Elementary School, according to Principal Sarika Pride. "The staff, students and parents have all had similar reactions when seeing and walking through the new school," she said. One student said to a teacher, "This is nice but where's the pool?"
Four elementary schools have been completely rebuilt using capital bond funds approved by Plano ISD voters. These schools and their original and new construction dates follow.
Original -1963 | New - 2010
Original -1967 | New - 2012
Original -1954 | New - 2011
Original -1961 | New - 2009