KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 18, 2021
By Natalie Cook Clark
Katy ISD returns to school today. The latest Katy school, Haskett Junior High welcomed students for the first time making it the 17th junior high in the District.
New Haskett Junior High students were welcomed this morning by the Haskett Cheerleaders and namesakes, Bill and Cindy Haskett. Photo credit: Natalie Cook Clark
Katy ISD Welcomes Students Back to School
Katy ISD welcomed nearly 87,000 Katy students back to school for fall classes today. The District recently made virtual learning an option for students in grades kindergarten to 6th grade due to concerns over COVID-19. The deadline to enroll was last night by midnight and enrollment numbers haven’t yet been released.
Haskett Junior High Welcomes Students
Katy ISD also debuted their latest school, Haskett Junior High that was voted on in the 2017 bond. The school was built to alleviate crowding at Katy Junior High and Stockdick Junior High. The school is located at 25737 Clay Road.
Katy ISD's newest school, Haskett Junior High. Photo credit: Natalie Cook Clark
Katy ISD Superintendent Dr. Ken Gregorski greeted students this morning at the Districts newest school. This has been the third Katy school to open up since he was named Superintendent in January of 2019.
“Every year is exciting with kids coming back to school,” says Superintendent, Dr. Ken Gregorski. “Kids always say they don’t want to go to school but they do and it’s clear in the energy here this morning.”
Haskett Junior High has approximately 800 students and 87 staff. Its students will attend Paetow High School.
The school’s faculty are led by Principal David Paz who is most excited to start the school’s traditions.
“It’s exciting to build the culture and to create our community presence,” says Dr. Paz. “What are we to the community?”
Dr. Paz started this process early on by being involved in hiring. To build a strong faculty and staff team when they couldn’t get into the school until it was completed posed a challenge that he overcame through fitness.
Dr. Paz led Haskett staff members through a District-wide workout tour of other Katy and faculty meet ups over the summer all to build those bonds that would energize the students.
“We are unique to be able to build something special here,” says Dr. Paz. “First these students will feed into Paetow High School but eventually we’ll get to pass the baton onto high school #10.”
“Something most unique about many of our schools is that they are named after legacies and Haskett was named after two long-standing Katy educators and it’s truly special,” says Dr. Gregorski.
Lives Dedicated to Education
Bill and Cindy Haskett, long-time educators and Katy teachers were at the school this morning to greet students.
“Our hope is for all to have a healthy year free of pandemic symptoms,” says Bill Haskett. “We hope to see energy from the students and the teachers will bring it out. Today has been an amazing welcoming and the parents will see that.”
Cindy Haskett gushed over that some of the Haskett teachers and parents were once her students in Katy.
“It’s very special to establish a different relationship with them,” says Cindy Haskett.
Cindy and Bill Haskett, the namesakes for Katy ISD's Haskett Junior High.
Ironically, the Hasketts also own a huskie. The dog breed serves as the school’s mascot.
The state-of-the-art campus is the first school in the area to have an above-ground solar farm that powers the entire campus on sunny days. It also has leading-edge technology, collaborative spaces for learning, energy-efficient components, learning stairs and other features.
“It’s our first design with a solar farm and we feel it will save a lot of money,” says Dr. Gregorski. “We’ll evaluate and may incorporate it into future designs.”
One of Haskett Junior High's gymnasiums.
Dr. Paz loves the incredible art murals throughout the school as well as the gymnasium with two-tone wood.
Like many industries, Katy ISD has experienced supply shortages and delays because of the pandemic.
“The bleachers haven’t been put in the gym yet,” says Dr. Paz. “We hope to have them by the first volleyball game, but the District has been great at contingencies.”
Katy Parents Worry Over COVID Cases
As of this morning the site reported 205 active COVID cases district-wide with 102 being students and 103 faculty.
Katy ISD continues to monitor the situation. Masks are optional for students and faculty. A large majority of students pouring into Haskett Junior High were wearing masks.
“We’re all in this together,” says Dr. Paz. “We will focus on community and support our parents. We want them to communicate their concerns with us.”
Last night was the deadline for the Katy Virtual School learning option available for grades K-6. The District expects to have the STATS out by the end of the week. Dr. Gregorski reports that only about a dozen 6th graders from Haskett Junior High enrolled in KVA.
As KISD Grows, More School to Come
Haskett Junior High is one answer to the rapidly growing school district. The District projects that the school will have over 1,500 students by 2025.
The next up on Katy ISD’s building schedule is Elementary #44 in Cane Island that is currently scheduled to open Fall 2022.
Elementary #45, Junior High #18 and High School #10 were all voted on and approved in the 2020 bond election.
If the excitement from Haskett Junior High’s welcome this morning is any indication, Katy ISD is happy to welcome their in-person students.
“We’re going to do what we do best and educate kids,” says Dr. Gregorski.