• 79°

A working program: Bob Hope School expanding

Some big changes are coming to Bob Hope Charter School.

The school, which is separated into two campuses, one in Port Arthur and one in Beaumont, has experienced tremendous growth over the years and now has purchased a facility on Texas 73 that will house the high school grades.

Currently, prekindergarten through 5th grade is housed at 4301 32nd St., grades 6 through 12 are at 2849 Ninth Ave. The Beaumont location, 7720 Park North Drive, holds prekindergarten through third grades.

And now, with the new purchase, the Ninth Avenue location will serve middle school grades 6 to 8 and the high school students will be at the new site when ready.

“We always want to offer parents a choice,” Superintendent Bobby Lopez said. “We’re not in competition with anyone.”

Lopez easily touted the school’s academic success, saying last year they earned an A accountability grade and preliminary reports show they are set to earn another A.

“Our program is really, really working,” he added.

The middle-high school will see an enrollment of about 800 students in the 2019-2020 school year and the Beaumont campus will see about 500 students.

The elementary campus

Drivers along 32nd Street near the elementary campus have likely seen a set of modular classrooms under construction.

The campus opened to 260 PreK-2nd grade students in the 2016-2017 school year and continued to add grades and students each year after. Now they’re looking at 680 students and, thus, the need for more classrooms.

“Parents have really bought into our model and our unique culture,” Lance Elizondo, the new campus director, said of the dual-language Montessori school. “What parents see is the high accountability and our student achievement.”

Lopez calls it “transforming a community.”

Walking outside, Lopez pointed out security and safety of students is important, saying a high fence will be constructed. There is already a path for students to enter the modular area.

Lopez spoke about the curriculum that includes violin lessons that, this year, will begin with first graders. Next, viola and cello will be added. He said the workings of the brain are phenomenal and a child is capable of learning at a young age. As they get older the window of opportunity closes — this is why it is easier to learn a second language as a child.

The school offers lessons in dual languages — one day in Spanish the next in English. But these aren’t the same lessons repeated; they are continuous. Parents like the dual language lessons so much that school leaders are going to add a third language — Mandarin Chinese.

The new school year is quickly approaching. Staff return to work Aug. 7 and students on Aug. 14.