"There's no place like home" was the slogan on the T-shirts of Bayshore Elementary School teachers and staff as they welcomed students to the new Bayshore on Jan. 4. For the first time in over 15 months, the Bayshore family is together under one roof, and the first day "back home" was quite a reunion.
"It is absolutely beautiful," Bayshore enrichment specialist Sandra Warren said of the new facility. "It's perfectly suited for the needs of Bayshore students and the community."
The former Bayshore, located at 301 Fairfield, was heavily damaged following Hurricane Ike, and students were relocated by grade level, with their same classmates and teachers, to five other La Porte ISD elementary schools.
When it was determined that the damage was such that students and staff would not be able to return to the old Bayshore, LPISD quickly began planning to provide a new school for residents of the Shoreacres/southeast La Porte area. The new Bayshore is located at 800 McCabe Road.
Parents who walked in with their children on the first day in the new school expressed their excitement about the new facility.
"It's great," said Megan Williams, mother of second grader Michael Williams. "I know the kids have been real excited. It's nice, it's new, and they deserve it after everything they've gone through this past year."
In addition to enjoying the new building, parent Heather Thompson is happy "because I don't have to go to two schools now." Her three children-fourth grader Tatelyn Hartwell, second grader Kara Thompson and kindergartner Clay Thompson-are once again on the same campus.
"We like it," added Brittani Chapman, whose daughter, Madison Chapman, is a Bayshore second grader. "She was excited. She's been up since early this morning!"
"Awesome!" was the word Madison used to describe the new school.
As parents signed in at the front office and then stepped into the main corridor, their first view was of the archway entrance to the library. The archway was created with bricks from the former Bayshore and includes the cornerstone from the original school.
Several fourth- and fifth-grade students helped direct children to their new classrooms, located in grade-level pods off the main hallway. Many students enjoyed breakfast in the cafeteria, which is separated from the gymnasium by walls that can be retracted to create a large multi-purpose space for assemblies and other gatherings.
Teachers were all smiles as they greeted their students and showed them their new classrooms.
"I think it's beautiful! I love the space-it's going to take a while to get used to the long walk to the gym!" teacher Scottie Anderson said with a laugh. "I think it's going to be wonderful once we get acclimated."
"I like it very much," agreed teacher Sara Woods. "It's gorgeous. We're just so excited to be together again."
Bayshore students in kindergarten through fifth grades moved to the new school for the remainder of the 2009-2010 school year. Isela Montes, executive director of elementary education, explained that children in the prekindergarten and preschool program for children with disabilities (PPCD) programs remained at their host campuses so that they did not have to make the transition to a new school. In early spring, principals and administrators will begin working on placement of special programs for the 2010-2011 school year, she said.
The dedication ceremony for the new Bayshore is planned for 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 14, in the school cafeteria. The public is invited, and parents and other interested citizens will have the chance to tour the new school.
Activities will also include the official leveling of the cornerstone by the Grand Lodge of Texas, hosted by La Porte Masonic Lodge #857, at 4 p.m. A shuttle service will be available from Bay Forest Golf Course, 201 Bay Forest Dr., beginning at 3:30 p.m.
Tours of other new LPISD facilities made possible by the community's support of the 2005 bond program will be available during open houses scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15. Citizens will have the opportunity to visit the new Instructional Technology Center, located on the Baker Sixth Grade Campus; Support Services Center, 2015 Sens Road; Agricultural Science Center, 2015 A Sens Road; and the Physical Education Center and renovated competition gym on the La Porte High School campus. Bayshore will also be open for tours during this time.
For more information, please call the LPISD Communications Department at 281-604-7001.