Legacy principal gears up for new school’s opening

Legacy Elementary School’s first employee is already at work ordering desks and interviewing teachers for the school, which will open in August in North Lubbock.

“It’s exciting; it’s a little bit overwhelming,” said Cheryl Booher, principal of Legacy.

She was named the new principal in the fall semester and moved to the Casey Administration Building to start planning for next year this semester. Shannon Morrison took over as the principal at North Ridge Elementary School, where Booher had been principal for several years.

Making hires and ordering supplies may be exciting — particularly library books — but Booher said she believes this will be the only time she has to outfit a brand new school.

“It’s the only time I’ll ever have the opportunity to do this,” she said.

Legacy will open next fall with prekindergarten students through second-graders. Each year the campus is open, a new grade level will be added until the school serves students pre-K through fifth grade.

That may give the school a different atmosphere for some time, Booher said.

State-mandated testing doesn’t begin until third grade, so next year, no teachers or students will have to worry about that, Booher said. But she said it will be exciting because teachers will be more focused on teaching their students. And with such young students focused mainly on learning to read, it will be a school very focused on that skill for a few years.

Another difference will be going from 800 students at North Ridge to 200-250 at Legacy, Booher said.

Because there will be more teachers added to the staff each year, she said it could affect the dynamic of teacher relationships.

“I think it’s going to be maybe a little challenging to keep the family, team atmosphere,” she said.

Ordering furniture for all of those students is interesting because of a change in the way students are being taught. Booher said classrooms today are focused on collaborative groups, so there is an emphasis on getting tables and collaborative learning centers over individual desks. This allows students to work together to learn using technology, she said.

Even though the school won’t have third-, fourth- and fifth-graders next year, Booher said she is ordering the furniture because it is all part of one bond package. She said she expects buying in bulk could save money on the furniture.

She said she may not buy as many library books for the older students in the first year, instead adding books for older students as the budget allows in the upcoming years. Over time, she hopes the PTA will be able to help stock the library shelves with lots of reading material.

While Booher said she is enjoying preparing the new school, she misses seeing students. Many of her students next year will be moving into the school from North Ridge, and she is looking forward to seeing them again.

In the last few weeks, a Gifted and Talented Summit was held at Casey Administration Building.

“My ears perked up when I heard all of those little voices in the hallway,” Booher said. “I miss the kids.”

Morrison said Booher has really great ideas, puts her students first and has an upbeat outlook.

“Her strength is the relationship piece, getting to know people,” he said.

Morrison said since many of the students heading to Legacy next year already know Booher, he believes she, her students and their parents will have an easier time.

“That should make the transition very smooth at Legacy,” Morrison said.

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