Specialized Elementary Schools: A Time for Students to Shine
December 8, 2020 — Midland ISD offers families choices for how their student is educated, and among the options are three unique campuses that give students a jumpstart on discovering exciting careers.
Bowie Fine Arts Academy, Pease Communications & Technology Academy and Washington STEM Academy all draw students from across Midland to offer the opportunity to gain deep experience in a specialized area of study. Each school serves students from kindergarten through sixth grade.
Pease's focus on communications and technology opens doors to a wide array of educational opportunities. Photography, graphic design, news reporting, computer basics, 3D printing and robotics are only a few of the areas in which students gain hands-on experience. The campus has its own broadcasting studio, where students become on-air talent and work behind the scenes.
"Everything we have here at Pease is what I could only dream about when I was a kid," said Gabriel Salgado, who is in his sixth year as Pease's principal. "Students learn life skills that give them a head start on their careers, no matter what field they might enter."
Pease students learn the language of coding as early as kindergarten, and all students take Spanish through sixth grade. Their Spanish credits are transferable to high school.
"Parents love that Pease students learn so many immediately applicable concepts," Salgado said. "They want their children to keep up with the innovations in technology, and we make sure students are in lockstep with these changes."
At Bowie, the fine arts are central to the student experience. Students are immersed early in art choir, piano, dance and theater; in fourth grade, they have the opportunity to expand into orchestra and band.
"Our students feel successful every day," said Principal Melissa Horner. "Creativity flourishes here, and our teachers and staff are strongly committed to making the Bowie experience a time for students to shine."
Students perform for the public several times each year and work with MISD's high schools on events such as musicals and the annual Veterans Day show.
"We have tremendous parent involvement because they realize that they are partners with us in student success," Horner said. "It really feels like family."
Perhaps the best kept secret at MISD is Washington STEM Academy. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics are firmly at the core of education here.
"We inspire students to feel great and teach them how to do great things," said Principal Wayne Squiers. "Our staff works hard to create an environment that students love to be involved with during the day."
A featured part of the Washington environment involves environmental science. The campus has its own greenhouse, garden, rain collector and a weather station that feeds data directly to students as part of the school's lessons in meteorology.
Like at Pease, students start to learn coding in kindergarten, and the school has a team that produces video announcements.
"When people learn about Washington STEM Academy, they are shocked by the sheer number of science and technological learning opportunities students encounter here," Squiers said. "Science is fun, and we have fun every day."
Students enrolled at these schools are chosen through a lottery. As Schools of Choice, families anywhere in the Midland ISD community can apply. The window to apply for the 2021-22 school year opens today. Parents who wish to enroll their student in Pease, Bowie or Washington can apply at midlandisd.net/apply.