Old age realizes the dreams of youth – Kierkegaard
Elrod Elementary in Brays Oak Management District is old. That is to say, the physical structure built in 1964, is old. The facility has endured hurricanes, tropical storms, and the unrelenting passage of time. In over half a century Elrod has planted deep community roots while shaping young minds. However, despite its physical age Elrod is an exceptional institution of youthful vigor. It is a hidden jewel within HISD because of some very special programming, special staff and teachers, and an especially energetic leader in Principal Leigh Curry who noted the school is, “Definitely, a diamond in the rough.”
The first thing I noticed about Principal Curry is her infectious enthusiasm about helping educate our future leaders. She sees all of her pupils at Elrod as success stories waiting to be told. The students have a wonderful advocate in Ms. Curry, who has been at Elrod for 4 years.
Elrod has some very special attributes that make it truly stand apart. First, all classes from kindergarten through third grade are dual language. Students receive instruction in English and Spanish. The goal at Elrod is for youth to achieve basic fluency in both languages.
“We want to set up kids for success,” noted Curry. If English is not the primary language spoken at home this program is surely very helpful.
The second special attribute of Elrod is the amazing Medical Magnet program that is truly unique. Elrod was already a STEM school (Science Technology and Engineering Magnet) and has now become a Medical Magnet facility, funded through a grant with Baylor College of Medicine and partnering with Memorial Hermann. Their special focus is giving students “the opportunity to explore a diverse set of medical topics and professions in a research-based learning environment. [A] distinctive and rigorous curriculum is taught to every student across all grade levels. In addition to the HISD schedule, an academic plan includes iLaser weekly Science Laboratory, Health classes, Fresh Fruits and Vegetables program, and research methodologies in the Library.“
Additionally, there is an on-site clinic for the pupils where they receive vaccinations and even basic medical care. Integrating an on-site clinic with a science-based curriculum creates an amazing opportunity for the students at Elrod and their parents. Approximately 80% of the student body is zoned to Elrod while 20% come to Elrod for its unique curriculum and special programming.
Curry commented, “We have a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, and they help write curriculum for our students centered around health and science. It helps reinforce to our students that can pursue a career in health and/or science.”
A few key board members have also been key contributors helping the Medical Magnet Program become realized at Elrod. The board and Principal Curry are now working to bring success to a bond initiative on the November ballot. Elrod has seen some recent exterior improvements via murals championed by Ms. Curry, but real improvements to the infrastructure of the school will need funding. Remember Elrod in the Brays Oaks Management District when you head to the polls in November. If approved, this bond will help improve the environment in which these programs shine so brightly.