Narrowing the Focus

Grade configuration is one mode within a community’s educational culture that seeks to define who learns best where. Different studies have investigated which configurations are most effective at supporting the academic and social needs of students. No one “right way” exists. In Brazosport ISD, when faced with the need for new schools, and an opportunity to focus on the crucial skills for early childhood learning, the district studied the possibility of creating a school specifically for kindergartners and first graders. Why was this important? What would it do to support the rich culture of the district? Designing a new school for early learning enables the district to focus on literacy and numeracy while creating fluent students. Moreover, it furthered Brazosport’s dedication to the belief that every child should be future-ready.

Instead of opting for a simple school replacement strategy, Brazosport ISD researched the best options to support their district’s goals, identified the needs of their primary children, and decided to create a new 750-student school designed specifically for early learners. Freeport Elementary School teachers will design instruction to increase engagement and function as facilitators in an environment rich with technology integration. The school itself will be an instructional tool for innovative teaching and learning with a Wet Lab and a Tech Lab accessed directly from student collaboration areas and opening onto an outdoor learning patio, offering amazing discovery and virtual field experiences. A math-integrated gym will amplify the abundance of learning opportunities in the building. The flexible media center, at the heart of the building, features a kiva and Makerspace, supporting the intentional expectation for student creativity. The furniture – all on casters – allows for ease in reconfiguring the media center for a variety of instructional needs. Brazosport ISD is also investing anew in its teachers. Collaborative professional learning studios are provided in each wing and a literacy library will maintain crucial instructional tools, including leveled reading materials that support early learners. Working to create an educational culture focused on early learners ensures that Freeport Elementary students will be at the heart of all lesson design with room to make, do, explore, and achieve.