Dr. Jerome Stewart, superintendent of the Midlothian Independent School District hosted an event called Coffee with Dr. Stewart on Wednesday morning at Walnut Grove Middle School.

Parents and members of the Midlothian community were invited to attend an information session to discuss the plans for Midlothian Heritage High School and to address any questions that parents may have.

“We wanted to invite you all here today to give you a brief overview of our plans concerning Heritage High School,” Stewart said. “At this point and time, the school will only consists of freshman, with the possibility of becoming a 9-12 high school as the needs arise.”

Stewart was not able to give a timeline or a projected school year that may happen, and said those decisions would be based on the needs and continued growth of the district.

“We are in a growing community,” Stewart said. “With that comes the need for more schools. However, it would not be wise for us to jump right in and house all four grade levels. Right now, the immediate need is for our freshman students, and as we look to the future, we will make judgements based on the demographics we receive from our demographer.”

Throughout the presentation, those in attendance were encouraged to ask questions. One parent was concerned about the zoning of the district, and how much it would be affected as the new high school grows. Stewart said the board has not looked very closely at redistricting students, because they feel that's several years away. But he did assure the audience that when the time came to make such decisions, the community would be made well aware and given an opportunity to share concerns.

“At this point and time, the issue of redistricting is several years away,” Stewart said noting that the possibility would be greater once Heritage High becomes a full high school. “When that time comes, this will be something the community will be allowed to weigh in on, and the board will make the final decision.”

Midlothian Heritage High School Principal Krista Tipton was also on hand to introduce herself to the group and to address any direct questions parents may have. She said her philosophy is to make Heritage High a great place for whatever students are there.

She said one way they plan to do that is by allowing for a staggered schedule. This will give freshman the opportunity to participate in sports or other extracurricular activities without it disrupting their schedule.

“We want to make this experience the best one possible for all students,” Tipton said. “We understand that we will have students who are taking part in activities over at Midlothian High School. We have provided some flexibility in our schedule that would allow us to transport those students over to the high school in enough time to prepare for their activity.”

Tipton also said she understands the importance students being allowed to showcase their school spirit by participating in pep rallies, but she didn't think it was a good idea to transport the students over to MHS every Friday to attend the rallies. She said they have come up with what she believes to be a great alternative to that.

“I'm not sure that taking the kids over to MHS every Friday is such a good idea,” she said. “We want them to experience things like that, but at the same time we don't want their to be a lot of academic disruptions. Therefore, we are going to look into holding pep rallies on campus and possibly transporting students to MHS for specified pep rallies.”

In addition, Tipton said she understands that students have been concerned about the yearbook process and how the transfer will affect that. She said they have concluded that one half of the yearbook will contain MHS information and the other half will contain MHH information.

Tipton also informed everyone that she is providing tours for members of the community who would like to see the new high school. She said the tours are available once a week and people can take part in a tour by calling MHHS at 972-775-8296 ext. 1117.

The Coffee with Dr. Stewart event was the first of nine to take place throughout the spring. All coffees will be held from 10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at the following locations: Jan. 10 at Longbranch Elementary, Jan. 21 at LaRue Miller Elementary, Feb. 5 at T.E. Baxter Elementary, Feb. 14 at Frank Seale Middle School, Feb. 26 at Mt. Peak Elementary, March 5 at J.R. Irvin Elementary, March 21 at Midlothian High School and March 25 at J.A. Vitovsky Elementary.

For more information about the upcoming coffee events, call 972-775-8296.

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