Horace Elrod Elementary – the neighborhood magnet school that has been teaching young minds to think outside of the box for decades – is growing. You may have seen the teachers outside in the morning before 7:45, welcoming students into the classroom and helping them out of their cars. On some days, the teaching staff will be dressed in themed attire from the 980s theme or wearing funky socks, because the entire school participates in special days that call for extra pizzazz. Students are encouraged to use their imagination when it comes to creating their own costumes.

Last month, the campus debuted fresh, colorful murals from artist Tara Bradley showcasing both empowering statements and educational topics describing the curriculum of the school. For example, when was the last time you visited an elementary school classroom where neuroscience basics was being studied by second graders? How about fifth graders identifying all of the human muscles and bones?

While children are getting a handy head start when it comes to math and science, they’re getting an extra boost in language arts, too. In the fall of 2015, Elrod became a dual languages campus, so all students entering prekindergarten and kindergarten are now exposed to learning English and Spanish. The dual languages platform is part of the global education theory, wherein adults who are bilingual will have greater chances at success in the 21st century.

According to the HISD website, “In the dual language model, students take their core instruction in both languages, with English language learners acquiring the skills they need for success in schools, and native English speakers becoming bilingual and biliterate. Dual language schools also promote biculturalism through consistent exposure to customs, traditions, and unique traits of other nations and peoples. […] There’s no loss of the native language: students retain their first language while acquiring a valuable second language.” Students at Elrod Elementary will certainly have an advantage in any field they pursue as adults.

When fifth graders aren’t creating robots from Legos or studying nutrition, using semicolons in all the right places and wearing wacky socks, you might find them participating in Genius Hour. Genius Hour is an educational ideology that allows students to continue to delve into subject matter that they’re most passionate about. That means that for a set time period during the school day, the students are doing their own inquiry and research about what they’re passionate about during self-directed learning.

Principal Leigha Curry ensures that the community can track the continued growth and new programs like Genius Hour at Elrod Elementary School by sharing new developments on social media. Follow @Elrod_HISD on Twitter and Elrod Elementary School on Facebook to see your tax dollars and neighborhood young ones at work.