HIGHLANDS – The Chamber of Commerce returned to their regular monthly luncheons last Thursday, after a long hiatus due to the COVID Pandemic.
The featured speaker was Goose Creek CISD Superintendent Randal O’brien, who told the audience about a number of initiatives and projects to be accomplished in the coming school year.
Due to continued population growth, the school district is adding three new schools and other support facilities. O’brien said there are currently 23,000 students, 1800 teachers, and a total of 3200 employees in the system, with 28 current schools.
In addition the district runs 650 bus routes daily, with 242 buses.
Currently the district is not requiring anyone to wear masks, due to the Governor’s orders. But since the CDC has said students should be masked, O’brient said the district is encouraging all to wear them. He said the state has threatened a $1000 per student/per day fine is they mandate masks. He said this could amount to $3 million per day if enforced. New schools include Green Junior School on Wallisville Road, San Jacinto Elementary, Pumphrey Elementary, an Education Service Center, a Robotics Facility for all grades, and a PreK Early Childhood Center.
The latter has an innovative approach to learning which O’brien is very enthusiastic about. If successful, the district will actually have 3 of these Centers when done. Based on Brain Science studies that O’brien has taken, the new centers will be more “experiential” than educational. The first central center will have 16 classrooms. It was designed by Exhibit Concepts and Huckabee architects to the district’s specifications.
O’brien said that all of this new construction is part of the needed growth strategy, since 5500 new homes are under construction and the district expects a surge of new students in the future.
Other advanced educational approaches that O’brien discussed were the establishment of 10 Career Academies, so that students have a choice of careers that they can prepare for while still in high school.
Academics are bolstered by Dual credit programs, where a student gets college credit for his course work, and AP courses.