The back to school blitz continues across North Texas as thousands of students return to the classroom and some students at a school in Keller will be greeted with everything from a yellow brick road to a Disney castle.
This year, students at Eagle Ridge Elementary School at the Keller Independent School District will be greeted with several monumental surprises as their entire school has been transformed into colorful works of art and wonder.
“I think it is so important for us as educators to meet [students] where they are,” teacher Jill Kersh said. “Kids live in a world of wonder and if school is drab and uninviting – they don’t engage nearly as well as they could.”
“If kids want to come to school, that’s half the battle,” principal Stacy Blevins added.
The students are greeted from the moment they walk into the door with a yellow brick road from "The Wizard Oz" that leads into a hallway where they will find a giant Harry Potter entrance to the library. That is only the beginning. Every classroom has been painted and elaborately decorated with themes that show the personality of the teacher.
Room themes include Super Mario Bros., Disney, forest adventure and a castle.
Many of the large decorative pieces in the school were paid for by a grant, but many teachers wanted to take their classrooms to the next level and paid out of pocket with the PTA donating money as well.
“I haven’t ever been as proud of them as I was this summer because some teams came together and they painted each other’s rooms,” principal Blevins said. “They helped each other decorate. I think not only has it transformed our building, it’s transformed our staff.”
“I would just come up in the summer and work 4 or 5 hours here, 4 or 5 hours there and it was just so much fun to do,” Kersh said.
Local high school students, spouses and parents joined the effort to spruce up the school.
Beyond the spectacle of the upgrades, teachers and administrators hope this will inspire students to do their best work.
“We know if their hearts and minds are taken care of first, then kids are going to learn and that is our ultimate goal,” Kersh said. “I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel excited. I want them to go to sleep at night excited to come to school the next morning and walk in the doors on fire to learn.”