CFISD welcomes an expected 117,000 students on first day of school

August 28, 2019

New Cook Middle School Principal Martin Drayton assists sixth-grade student Jaden Perkins in finding his first period class on the first day of school on Aug. 26.
New Cook Middle School Principal Martin Drayton assists sixth-grade student Jaden Perkins in finding his first period class on the first day of school on Aug. 26.

Aug. 28, 2019—While more than 117,000 students filled the hallways and classrooms of 91 campuses Aug. 26, the first day of classes in CFISD, it was a particularly special day for students and staff at the Leonard Brautigam Center.

Formerly known as the Windfern School of Choice, the special program facility was rebranded after the CFISD Board of Trustees approved the namesake earlier this month. The facility opened the doors at its new location, moving to Jones Road at the newly renovated campus that formerly housed Matzke Elementary School.

Leonard Brautigam, left, was among many school namesakes and Board of Trustees members to help welcome students on the first day of school Aug. 26. In addition to welcoming staff and students to the new Brautigam Center, the school’s namesake also toured the campus in the morning and even brought breakfast for the staff.
Leonard Brautigam, left, was among many school namesakes and Board of Trustees members to help welcome students on the first day of school Aug. 26. In addition to welcoming staff and students to the new Brautigam Center, the school’s namesake also toured the campus in the morning and even brought breakfast for the staff.

“Being back with the students gives you so much energy,” said Leonard Brautigam, who visited every classroom and learning area at the center after spending the morning welcoming students. “I know why I loved education so much – being around the students. They don’t know me but I know what’s in my heart for them and I know how much I want them to succeed.”

One of the center’s highlights is a district career and technical education (CTE) trade building. The facility will house new classrooms and shops with equipment and learning spaces to support academic programs and future certifications in welding, HVAC and electrical trades.

New Cook Principal Martin Drayton, left, and Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent, greet Ranger students on the first day of school, Aug. 26.
New Cook Principal Martin Drayton, left, and Dr. Mark Henry, CFISD superintendent, greet Ranger students on the first day of school, Aug. 26.

“Seeing some of the students who were with us at Windfern and just seeing their eyes wide open with how different this looks [is exciting],” said Martha Strother, Brautigam Center principal. “My teachers are so jazzed [to be in this] beautiful building with state-of-the-art equipment.”

A number of other campuses opened their doors to students following a variety of completed renovation projects to update the schools and improve learning environments.

Safety and security measures put in place as part of the CFISD 2018-2019 action plan continued, while upgrades funded by the 2014 Bond program continued to roll out.

Bridgeland High School students pick up their schedules on the first day of school, Aug. 26. Bridgeland and Cypress Park High School will both house seniors for the first time.
Bridgeland High School students pick up their schedules on the first day of school, Aug. 26. Bridgeland and Cypress Park High School will both house seniors for the first time.

“It’s been amazing,” said new Jersey Village High School Principal Maggie Wiley. “It’s exciting to get all the students back and see all of them. It’s always such a great start and great hope for everyone as we come in with such optimism. I know we’re going to accomplish great things.”

The first day allowed students and parents to see the overwhelming support for CFISD. School namesakes and Board of Trustees members helped welcome students in the morning, while many visited elementary campuses and joined countless other volunteers from community, business and faith-based partners in serving as Bus Buddies in the afternoon.

New Jersey Village High School Principal Maggie Wiley greets senior student Katherine Brackett while visiting her third period Astronomy class on the first day of school, Aug. 26.
New Jersey Village High School Principal Maggie Wiley greets senior student Katherine Brackett while visiting her third period Astronomy class on the first day of school, Aug. 26.

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