By J.D. Herman
”Teach the children so it will not be necessary to teach the adults.” – Abraham Lincoln
Johnson Elementary, named for Beulah Johnson, an educator and community supporter in the district, has been educating young minds in the East Aldine Management District for 51 years. The school is now in a new home on a new campus, and with that comes a new beginning for a very worthy, old endeavor – teaching our children and supporting our community through education.
After 50 years Johnson Elementary had outgrown the original building and needed better accommodations and larger facilities for its students. The new campus is just a short drive from the original location, but with a half century of educating area families, the move was accompanied by a sense of loss. Some parents and grandparents of current students attended Johnson Elementary and many were very sentimental about the old school house being torn down. This sparked a wonderful idea by Abel Garza, the Assistant Superintendent of Community and Government Relations for Aldine Independent School District. Mr. Garza created a program to distribute commemorative bricks from the old building to Johnson Elementary alumni and other stakeholders within the community.
It is this sense of caring that fuels the school’s success. Pamela Riggins–Johnson or, as the students say, “Principal Johnson,” has been with the school for 4 years and says it is the remarkable family participation that makes Johnson Elementary so special. “Of all the schools I have been with and worked with, we have the most incredible family support,” says Principal Johnson. “Parents are highly involved, coming to eat with their children and participate in campus activities, and I am never at a loss for parent volunteers when needed.”
Besides the support from family, students at Johnson Elementary also benefit from incredible community and corporate support. Exxon helped fund a “Day of Caring” beautification project at the old campus and supports the science curriculum with experiments and presentations that encourage interest and curiosity of the students. During the summer months, the school is able to continue programming through a sponsorship with the YMCA.
Do you have a local business? Johnson Elementary is always looking for partnerships within the East Aldine Management District that support youth education which in turn benefit the entire community.
On an academic note, the student body also shines bright with 24 students noted as rising stars by Rice University in the areas of math and science. Johnson also has one of city’s best youth soccer teams, having won first place in HISD tournaments 2 years in a row.
Looking forward into the spring of 2019 and beyond, Johnson Elementary will be hosting a Family Engagement Night on March 28th. The evening will be an opportunity for parents to come out and play games with their children in a setting that promotes family interaction. Board games can encourage math and critical thinking and stimulate parents and children to work together in a positive stress free environment.
The future’s bright at Johnson Elementary. Principal Johnson attributes this to a caring community, and a devoted staff. “Our teachers and school staff are wonderful, committed educators and that commitment helps our continued success.”
Here’s to the next 50 years!