Since Waxahachie Global High School made the move to the former Ninth Grade Academy enrollment has the potential to prosper with an abundance of space ready to be filled by STEM students.
Initially, the STEM school was going to be housed in the former Waxahachie High School, but the Ninth Grade Academy was a little more ideal, explained Waxahachie Global High principal Ken Lynch. He noted a few factors such as minimal renovations and the opportunity to expand enrollment but still maintain the small-community feel compared to the large space available at the old high school (now Coleman Junior High).
“We’ll be easily ready to go by the time school starts,” Lynch assured.
The most significant renovations completed at the Billy R. Hancock building were the computer labs in the 100 hallway. A total of eight classrooms were converted into four large computer labs — three being PC and a single Mac lab.
Another of the big changes comes to the science department.
At the former Global campus — which now houses the new Wilemon STEAM Academy —there were four science teachers and only two classrooms. Now, each teacher will have his or her own science lab to teach in.
“The campus is a much bigger footprint," relayed Lynch after explained the school has the opportunity to cap enrollment at 650 in the new building, as opposed to 400 in the former. "There’s really only one extra classroom, but because the building is so much bigger, we can utilize it to grow."
Lynch did mention that registration for the 2018-19 school year is still about 50 students shy of a full freshmen class.
Another significant change for the students will be in the cafeteria. With 240 seats, the students will fit two lunchtimes into the block schedule — down from four lunch periods in years prior.
When comparing the Wilemon campus and the Billy R. Hancock building, Lynch pointed out the difference in the interior. “It had an old-fashioned education look, which made it special. Walking into this building, it’s much more modern kind of a look,” he equated.
Looks aside, Global had long outgrown the Wilemon campus. “We had 30 students in a classroom that was designed for 20. And here, we can put 30 kids in a class, and we still have space,” Lynch relayed. “These classrooms are huge, especially compared to the little ones.”
The robotics class and computer integrated manufacturing class, also known as CIM work with industrial, expensive equipment. Currently, students in the courses utilize one CNC machine, a wind machine and a variety of gadgets. Now with a $100,000 grant from the DART Foundation, students in these courses will work with modern technology with another CNC machine as well as a waterjet cutting device. “They’re pretty amazing,” Lynch said.
Lynch shared that the grant money went explicitly to engineering due to the substantial shortage of personnel to do the job. “With engineering, the tools are costly, and it’s not like you can buy them at Harbor Freight. Getting a big grant like this is huge and really allows us to purchase things that you’d use in a manufacturing place,” Lynch explained.
The industrial equipment eliminates the gap for students for when they are placed in the work environment.
The former agriculture shop will house the equipment for engineering and robotics.
There was some minor work completed in the shop area, and blue and gold paint was added in the building to freshen it up. Teachers personalized their classrooms with newly painted walls, as well. Other student organizations will be on campus the week of Aug. 13 to add more of a Global essence to the walls to welcome the students.
One aspect Lynch is excited about is housing the 18- to 23-year-old special needs students. “I’m actually pretty excited about this as our kids will be able to help them with community service projects,” he elaborated.
But what it all comes down to, even outside of the new facilities, between 91-96 percent of students who graduate with associate's degrees, or new toys, is the family atmosphere of Global High School, explained Lynch.
“I think the biggest experience more than anything else is really not the science or engineering but all the kids really relate to each other. […] It is the family atmosphere because we are small enough that they know just about everyone at the school and all of the teachers. It’s really different,” he elaborated. “We don’t have cliques. Everybody pretty much gets along and isn’t like any school that I’ve ever been to.”
When it comes to the future of Global, Lynch said in the next school year a business and health science track will be implemented. Throughout the year, Lynch is looking to hire personnel to lead those two departments.
For more information on enrollment and programs incorporated at Waxahachie Global High School, log onto https://global.wisd.org/.
- - - - - -
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450