Ware East Texas Montessori Academy student Luis Ramos started his first day of fourth grade Monday with a goal in mind: to learn more English this year.
Luis’ mom, Yesenia Ramos, said her son likes attending the Longview ISD campus, which is now operated by the nonprofit East Texas Advanced Academies.
“I like the way they pay attention to him and help him,” she said. “I was nervous this morning because I had to take my other kid to his first day at head start (at East Texas Montessori Prep Academy). I was sad because he was with me all the time.”
Longview ISD campuses were abuzz with activity Monday as students filtered in for the first day of the 2019-20 school year.
After getting final approval from the Texas Education Agency, Ware and five other schools are now charter campuses run by East Texas Advanced Academies. The other campuses are the prep academy, Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, Bramlette STEAM Academy, J.L Everhart Elementary School and Forest Park Middle School.
The charter campuses provided their students free clear backpacks and school supplies.
The East Texas Montessori Prep Academy also was busy on the first day as all Longview ISD prekindergarten and kindergarten students now attend the campus.
Susana Cadenas dropped off her son, Gabriel Aguirre, at Ware on Monday morning for the school’s head start program.
“He’s scared. He’s never been to school,” she said.
Her daughter, Emilia, started third grade Monday, and even though she said she was nervous, she said she likes learning. But she added that she’ll miss summer because she got to go to fun places such as the zoo and water park.
Ware fourth-grader Samantha Ramirez also already misses summer, she said.
“I’m a bit happy and a bit sad,” she said.
Her third-grade sister, Romina, however, was just sad Monday morning and said she did not want to go back to school — even though she likes art.
Ware hired a new art teacher, Principal Patricia Duck said, so students like Romina can enjoy art classes.
Duck said other new programs on her campus include robotics and Montessori for second-grade students.
“We have first and second grade teachers that are trained in the Montessori method, so we’re really excited about that,” she said, adding that the Montessori method is being added a grade each school year. “There are 11 classes in first and second grade, and all of those classes are mixed age, first and second graders. About half the class is first grade, and about half is second grade.”
Ware is a feeder campus for East Texas Montessori Prep Academy, Duck said.
“I’m so excited for my students to get back. We have worked all summer for this day,” Duck said. “It’s good to see their faces because a school without kids in it, it’s just a building, and so we’re really excited to see our kids back.”