Inside look at Walsh Elementary

Lauren Nelson, Senior Editor

Aledo’s newest elementary school Walsh Elementary opened last year before the start of the school year. Walsh Elementary was opened amidst Aledo’s rapidly growing population and overcrowding of the elementary schools, and named in memory after its gracious land donors, Mary D. and F. Howard Walsh and the Walsh family. Although most Aledo residents know about the new school; not many know about its kind-hearted and motivated staff, and the technology and new wave of knowledge that Walsh Elementary holds.

 

Walsh’s most notable characteristic is its updated technology. They have a STEAM room and several science labs, one in which students can watch the electricity flow in a yellow pipe when the lights turn on. In that science lab, pipes are colored to show what the pipe is carrying, for example, a blue pipe carries water. In the center of the classrooms, there’s a station where students can project their work onto a screen to show their peers. But with the abundance of technology in the classrooms and school overall, some may wonder if all the technology in and out of the classroom prohibits students’ creativity from growing.

 

“I think we do a good balance of technology and creativity,” said former Walsh principal Sheri Coll. “I think because of that it still makes students accountable but it also makes students creative.”

 

Another standout characteristic of Walsh is its updated and sophisticated structure. In the gym, on nice sunny days, they can open up one of the walls so the students can also go outside and enjoy the weather. The building is abundant with windows that filter light in so that the school gets enough natural light, but never too much. There are stations set up all over the school with white boards and seating, where students can visually portray ideas and concepts. Teachers can also be seen teaching or reading to students at these stations. Inside the classrooms, seating is set up into pods of about four. All furniture moves as well, so teachers can rearrange their classrooms with ease to fit the lesson they’re teaching.

 

Walsh’s beautiful structure and interior, as well as its updated technology, are not the only things that set Walsh apart from other Aledo and Fort Worth ISD schools. The way kids learn at Walsh is unparalleled to any other school in Aledo.

 

“We do what’s called personalized learning, so in the classroom the teachers have to look at each individual student and plan for them,” said Coll.

 

Walsh’s interim principal Kerry Cooper thinks this type of learning is best preparing students for our rapidly changing world, even though none of the other AISD schools that the students shall be moving up to implement this type of learning. She believes the students are adaptable, and that’s what they’re teaching them in the end.

 

“We’re preparing children for jobs that aren’t even invented yet,” said Cooper.

 

Both Coll and Cooper believe it is just a matter of time before all schools will be similar to Walsh. As students change, learning and the school environment must change too. But not every school district has the funds to update their technology or build entirely new and updated schools. Because funding is a constant problem in schools all over the United States, Cooper believes people need to advocate for more government funding.

 

“I think parents need to stand up to their state representatives and tell them why [schools] need money,” said Cooper.

 

Walsh is a new and exciting venture not only for Aledo, but for former principal and interim principal, too. Both agree that Walsh is unlike any school they’ve been to, but not only because of the structure and technology. The staff and students themselves are a diverse bunch, coming from all parts of Texas and even the United States.

 

“I’ve opened up three schools… Walsh is amazing,” said Coll. “I love the people and the climate and culture here. We’ve taken people all over Texas and invited them to work [here].”Lauren Nelson