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McElwain Elementary Works Hard to Establish Bonds and Traditions After Rough First Year


August 25, 2021

By Natalie Cook Clark

Katy ISD’s McElwain Elementary opened last year in the height of the pandemic. They founded a strong community through creativity and learning. They celebrated back to school this year with their first ever all-school assembly.

McElwain Elementary Principal Euberta Lucas leads all the students in the school's very first school assembly. Photo courtesy: KISD

Katy students at McElwain Elementary started last academic year virtually having never walked through the new school’s doors. Last week they celebrated their second year with the school’s first ever all-school assembly.

Six Houses, One Family

“We planned to go strong with assemblies to build that united community and all that changed,” says McElwain Elementary Principal Euberta Lucas.

Instead, the school and its staff implemented strong connected homerooms and held grade level meetings via Zoom.

Something unique at McElwain is their school “House” system. Katy families often compare it to what is seen in the Harry Potter books, though those in the education community will recognize it as being modeled after the Ron Clark system.

“Our house system is six houses, one family,” explains Lucas. “I want our culture to be welcoming, helpful—we’re a family.”

First All School Assembly

Last week, McElwain students and staff celebrated back to school with their very first in-person assembly.

“It was so nice to have everyone together in the gym,” says Lucas. They proposed four names for their Owl mascot. The homerooms were voting last week.

Last year, due to COVID protocols, students were isolated to their homerooms. Now due to some of those restrictions being lifted students are able to mingle among their grade level at recess and specials.

“Last year we really missed our parents and volunteers being able to come into the school,” says Lucas. “Volunteers really help getting things ready for the year in the libraries and students love the Watchdogs.”

The McElwain PTA was able to still help by picking up projects, doing them at home, and then returning them to the school.

Following their Namesake's Example

McElwain Elementary strives to live up to its namesake, Peter McElwain. The location of the school is also fitting for its name, as Peter McElwain developed a Facilities and Planning Department, as well as the process that enabled Katy ISD to keep pace with the growth.

“It is great to see so many more young Owls in the “Nest” this year enjoying in person learning,” says Peter McElwain. “It was also great to have the ability to welcome parents and family members in to tour and to visit the school.”

Darlene and Peter McElwain. Photo courtesy of KISD.

McElwain Elementary is located in the Elyson community, one of the fastest-growing developments in Katy ISD.

Peter McElwain was part of the Katy ISD team that designed and constructed 25 elementary schools, nine junior highs and six high schools, along with several comprehensive renovations and additions at existing campuses.

He and his wife, Darlene greeted students at this year’s “Navigate the Nest” school tour and the first day of school.

“He believes in honesty, hardworking, friendliness—what we want for our students,” says Lucas. “People came to our dedication because of Peter and to support him.”

The McElwain Owls follow a simple statement, “A love of learning builds the wisest nest.”

The students, teachers, and staff are excited about the year ahead as they enjoy some that was missed last year, while staying safe.

“It is such a tremendously exciting and vibrant learning environment,” says McElwain.


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