It is that time of year again. Teachers are returning to school to prepare their rooms. Kids are putting the final touches on their back to school wardrobes. It’s back to school time!

Bridge City ISD is expecting many changes for this coming school year in many areas. Clearly, many facility changes can be expected as the district continues to recover from Hurricane Ike. Additionally, despite being rated Recognized by the Texas Education Agency for the second year in a row, the district plans to push for instructional improvements as well.

Inside classrooms, students and parents can expect some very exciting technology changes. BCISD utilized stimulus funding to substantially upgrade instructional technology in classrooms. All classrooms in grades 3 through 12 will now be equipped with interactive whiteboards, projectors, and document cameras.

BCISD Superintendent, Dr. Jamey Harrison, believes these resources will be beneficial to student learning: “We want to improve the manner in which we teach kids with these new tools. Our teachers are very excited about having these resources available to them. Kids today are so accustomed to technology, we have to adjust our way of teaching to their way of learning. These tools will help us accomplish that.”

Every classroom will be equipped with this technology package in grades 3 through 12. Classrooms in Pre-K through 2nd grade will be equipped with similar tools once the new elementary school is completed. “We are excited about building cutting edge instructional technology into our new elementary school,” says Harrison. “Once construction is completed, all of our kids will have access to these dynamic teaching and learning tools.”

And speaking of the new elementary school, the district is moving forward with the planning stage of this project. The plan includes demolishing Hatton Elementary School and building a new campus to merge both Hatton and Sims schools into one Pre-K through 2nd grade campus at the Hatton site.

Harrison states the design process is going well: “Our architect, Mark Magnuson, has done a tremendous job of including all of the input from our committee into the design. This school is going to be a tremendous asset to this community. We hope to be ready to bid the project sometime in late September.”

Completion of the project should take approximately 15 to 18 months. The district hopes to move into the new campus at mid-term of the 2010-2011 school year.

“We certainly hope to meet that time frame. We have not yet begun demolition of Hatton because we are still waiting on FEMA. We have been given all of the funding information. However, if we begin any demolition work prior to the FEMA paperwork arriving, we will lose our FEMA funding. As soon as we are given full clearance from them, we will be ready to get started.”

Until the new construction is completed, Hatton and Sims students will continue to attend the modular campuses the school brought in following Ike.

All other campuses have undergone improvements as well. Harrison explains this summer has been extremely busy. “We have completed approximately $6 million of construction and repairs in about 10 weeks. Teachers, students, and parents will come to schools that look much better than before Ike. It was a terrible to get there; but, once we complete the new construction, our facilities will be far better than before the hurricane. In fact, we believe our facilities will rival any district in the state.”