FAIR OAKS RANCH —The doors have opened and the first bell has rung at Van Raub Elementary School, the newest Boerne Independent School District campus.
The learning space, created to ease overcrowding at other schools in the growing community, was funded by a 2016 bond with a $30.2 million budget, but came in more than $2 million under budget.
It’s the initial campus of three new BISD institutions; two more are scheduled for completion by 2019. Classes started Aug. 20.
“I’m pretty excited because it was one of those unique opportunities that we could open the next era of schools for Boerne ISD,” said Principal Jamie Robinson.
School colors, chosen by students and their families, are teal and gray. The mascot is a roadrunner named Raubie.
“Future World Changers” is Van Raub’s theme for the year.
“We really believe the way that we’re doing things here are equipping our kids to be more well-rounded,” Robinson said.
The 98,635-square-foot complex is located at 8776 Dietz Elkhorn Road on 19 acres. Officials said 720 students are enrolled, with a capacity for 850, and 43 teachers have been hired, with room for 73.
Students are drawn from the attendance zones for Kendall and Fair Oaks Ranch elementary schools.
At an Aug. 20 meeting, BISD trustees heard about a “fun new method of learning” at the nascent institution, according to district spokeswoman Jocelyn Durand.
Called “Whole Brain Teaching,” the goal is to “create peaceful classrooms full of orderly fun,” according to a website.
“Some of the programs we’re going to be implementing with project-based learning and Whole Brain Teaching … fit nicely with our district’s vision, as well as our flexible learning spaces and the design of the school,” said Vice Principal Matthew Whyte.
The school is named after Van Raub, a former town established in 1884 on a survey of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway, according to the Handbook of Texas.
The fledgling campus sits adjacent to an old schoolhouse, which will be incorporated into lessons.
“One of (our) goals is to turn the house into an actual classroom to live in that era,” Robinson said.
By attending a workshop or completing a nine-week course, earning an eventual designation as Van Raub Junior Historians, students can become storytellers and keepers of the school’s history.
Other activities and organizations for youngsters include yearbook, choir, sign language and a chicken club, where they’ll learn how to take care of live hens.
Donna Oates taught first grade at Kendall for 15 years, but now will be instructing Van Raub fourth-graders.
“It’s just going to be positive and lots of energy, and it’s going to be student-centered, and so they’re going to feel like we created this environment for them,” Oates said.
Michele Pilot from Kendall and Allison Jensen from Fair Oaks Ranch are co-presidents of the new Van Raub PTO.
“We’re excited to just bring fresh new ideas and make it our own and start lots of traditions and bring a lot of new enrichment programs, and kind of just be that pioneer elementary school to just kick off things,” Jensen said.
The PTO will run the Roadrunner Market, located on the cafeteria stage. Fifth-graders will learn how to work a cash register and manage money.