Irving—Three Irving ISD schools received makeovers on March 30 through a partnership with Parents Step Ahead, Nissan Partners and the district’s Parent and Family Engagement Department. Thomas Haley Elementary, Travis Middle School and Singley Academy were selected for $4,000 grants to purchase supplies to revamp their campuses. Students, staff and family members from each school volunteered their time and efforts to these makeover projects as part of a Family Day celebration.
Those who enter the Thomas Haley Elementary campus will now be greeted with a warm “welcome” greeting painted across the foyer in 24 languages, representing the languages spoken by students.
“When we were introduced to the $4,000 grant, we wanted to find a way to celebrate our campus as a whole,” Henry Taylor, principal at Thomas Haley, said. “We wanted to not only represent our students, but also our parents, teachers and staff members.”
In addition to the welcome painting, quotes of love and encouragement will be on display in the students’ restrooms. Thomas Haley also added a new look to their weather center located outside of the library that will be used during the student morning broadcast. A huge part of the elementary school’s makeover was a planting project in the gardening area supported by the Dallas County 4-H Texas A&M University Agriculture Extension program.
“We will have each grade level out there to tend to the garden,” Yvonne Foy, a 2nd-grade teacher, said. “We have a program at the school we will be starting soon as a part of the 4-H program where the children get to sample the foods we are growing. Last year, we had students who came from different countries who had never had spinach or strawberries.”
“In our gardening area, we wanted to celebrate our diversity as well,” Taylor said. “We looked at planting different herbs that come from around the world. It’s also going to be a big learning center for our kids moving forward.
“Here at Thomas Haley, we believe that our Horn Frogs are learning things today, so they can lead tomorrow. We want to give them skills so they can go out into the world and lead. We want to give them the opportunity to get outside the box for career exploration.”
As a part of Travis Middle school’s makeover, students will receive a new outdoor classroom. Plants in the gardening area will be used for biology, and students will be responsible for the upkeep. In addition to the garden, words and images of encouragement were painted around the school, and vinyl banners were hung on stairways. Décor and furniture were also added to make the campus more inviting to visitors.
To spark the joy of the Phoenix, the makeover project at Singley Academy included students, staff and volunteers creating an eye-catching a Sip and Read area in front of the library. On the north side of the campus, garden planter boxes were revitalized by students and staff members who plan to grow flowers and vegetables. The volunteers, which included the parents and Nissan sponsors, added storage areas to organize gardening items.
“As I’m walking around and seeing our students, our teachers, parents, and our community members working as one accord, it makes me even more excited about this event,” Principal Melanie Kibodeaux of Singley Academy said. “It has sparked so many other ideas down the line where we can find other opportunities to do more throughout the school year”
At a closing ceremony held at Travis Middle School, Thomas Haley Elementary was recognized for the best project and received an additional $1,000 to continue beautification projects.