KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
June 9, 2023
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy students are on summer break, but Katy ISD is working on the future. Two new elementary schools will welcome students in the fall, two secondary schools are under construction and more schools are planned to meet the Districts growing need.
Artist rendering of Youngblood Elementary School. Photo credit: KISD
Two New Schools Open this Fall
Katy ISD will open two new elementary schools in the fall. Youngblood Elementary School will be the District’s 45th elementary school and will be located at 25600 Longenbaugh Road. While Faldyn Elementary School, the 46th elementary school will be at 25615 Clay Road near Haskett Junior High.
“This process is hectic,” says Lisa Kassman, Executive Director of Facilities. “There are a lot of things to manage from the contractor, technology, staff, furniture, and more. We’ve also had to work with Harris County on school positioning based on traffic layouts.”
While the future Youngblood Bulls and Faldyn Foxes are on summer break, the District is hard at work getting the new schools ready to open. Construction will complete in July for both campuses and work is going on seven days a week and both projects enter the home stretch.
Youngblood Elementary is projected to open with about 820 students and will include families from the North side of Elyson, Winward, Katy Crossing, Marisol, Katy Prairie Estates, and the Sunterra communities.
Faldyn Elementary is projected to open with 1,200 students and will include families from The Katy Lakes Estates, Katy Manor, Porter Ranch, Katy Pointe, Camillo Lakes, and the Heritage Park West communities. Also of these numbers are expected to change as the start of school approaches.
Both elementary schools are modified repeat builds meaning that they are similar floorplans to recent Katy elementary schools like Robertson, McElwain, and Bethke. The biggest setback for both projects has been the generator. Currently generators are taking 72-96 weeks to come in so the District will be renting generators until the ordered ones arrive.
Part of the process with a modified repeat is to survey principals and staff from recent schools to get feedback on design. Youngblood and Faldyn will debut a new collaborative space that will have a divided partition. This new feature is a direct result from staff feedback.
A new collaborative space at Faldyn Elementary. Photo credit: Natalie Cook Clark
Another challenge with Youngblood is that the District had to start from scratch with raw land. They fixed the roads and included turn lanes for both the elementary and new junior high.
Both school principals are working diligently to prepare staff and create a fun and unique culture for each new campus.
Youngblood Elementary Principal Charlotte Gilder has some experience with opening a new Katy school. She opened Tom Wilson Elementary as an assistant principal and is working closely with McElwain Elementary their principal to help transition students coming from that school.
Youngblood Elementary Principal Charlotte Gilder shows off her new office. Photo credit: Natalie Cook Clark
“The beauty of opening a new school is it’s the time to get to ask for things we’ve wished for,” says Gilder, who just finished serving as the Principal at Schmalz Elementary. “The things we don’t get at opening, we will get over time.”
Gilder describes herself as being a counselor in the body of a principal and already has big plans and dreams for her Youngblood Bulls.
“I want parents to get in and walk around the school their kids will be going to.,” says Gilder. “I’m working on brining the hype and all things Youngblood.”
Gilder has already been utilizing the convenient play on the schools name as Youngblood Elementary School spells “Y.E.S.”
The Learning Stairs under construction at Youngblood Elementary school. Photo credit: Natalie Cook Clark
For now, while construction is still in full swing, Gilder has been using McElwain Elementary School to give new staff tours. Her staff has also been utilizing Zoom to start to meet and prepare for the new school year.
“I’ve strategically recruited people who are passionate,” says Gilder. “Students want to know that they are loved, fed, and have a fun day. We will make sure that happens.”
Incoming Youngblood families participated in a survey that chose the mascot, the Bull and then another survey to help decide on the kind of mascot design. Students will name the bull after school starts.
“Starting a new school is an exciting time for everyone involved,” says Michael Schwartz, Faldyn Elementary Principal. “When brining staff together from not only a variety of Katy ISD schools but also those from out of the district and even out of state, creating a positive school culture is on everyone’s mind.”
While Youngblood will mostly bring families from McElwain, Faldyn is unique in bringing families together from five different schools so Schwartz stresses the level of importance he is putting on culture and prep.
He, his secretary, and financial clerk have been working out of the temporary office at Robertson Elementary since early spring and staff will be doing teambuilding activities this summer. The instructional coaches are already meeting with grade-level teams to plan for the first grading period.
“We will be hosting a community open house on Saturday, August 5, from 11:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.,” says Schwartz. “We want to welcome our new PTA, and buy spirit wear.”
The event will also have food trucks and other activities for families to enjoy.
Meet the teacher is planned for August 14th, but will have staggered times to accommodate the 120 families set to open Faldyn.
This is Schwartz’ first time opening a school.
“It has been an interesting experience, getting to interact with different departments and learning how everything happens, from playground equipment, furniture, all the supplies and materials that need to be ordered, and the process of designing our logo, there is a lot to be responsible for,” says Schwartz.
He feels that the largest reward will be seeing all the hard work come together in August as Faldyn welcomes new staff and students.
Katy ISD to Open New Junior High, High School in 2024
The 2024 academic year will welcome two new secondary schools.
Junior High #18 and High School #10 will welcome students Fall of 2024 and are currently under construction.
The two schools will be near each other with the junior high going at 25747 Longenbaugh Road and the high school to be at 7800 Katy Hockley Road. They will both be near Youngblood Elementary, creating a three-school complex.
The newest Katy ISD high school will also have a natatorium similar to that of Paetow High School.
November Bond Election
The November Katy ISD bond election will seek four new schools in addition to numerous renovations and technological requests. As the Katy ISD continues to grow because of its area’s growing development, they need more schools to meet the need.
The new bond will include funds for elementary 47, 48, 49, as well as junior high 19.
School may be out, but Katy ISD is still hard at work preparing for the next academic year and beyond.