New Schools: Sycamore Springs Elementary / Sycamore Springs Middle School
At its meeting Feb. 27, 2017, the Dripping Springs ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved new elementary and middle school attendance zones that will go into effect in August of 2017. The new zones incorporate the district’s two new schools: Sycamore Springs Elementary and Sycamore Springs Middle School. The approved attendance zone configuration was labeled as “Option 3A” during the process.
As compared to the current district boundary map, the approved elementary attendance zones make several key changes, which are highlighted below. See final attendance zone map for a complete overview.
• Moves the Highpointe neighborhood from Dripping Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs MS to Sycamore Springs Elementary/Sycamore Springs MS
• Moves the Sawyer Ranch and Vistas of Sawyer Ranch neighborhoods from Walnut Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs MS to Sycamore Springs Elementary/Sycamore Springs MS
• Moves the Rimrock neighborhood and a few streets south of Darden Hill Road from Walnut Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs MS to Sycamore Springs Elementary/Sycamore Springs MS
• Moves several neighborhoods along 1826 from Rooster Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs MS to Sycamore Springs Elementary/Sycamore Springs MS, including Goldenwood, Reunion Ranch, Friendship Ranch, and Bear Creek, as well as several individual streets
• Moves some streets off Nutty Brown Road from Rooster Springs Elementary/Dripping Springs MS to Sycamore Springs Elementary/Sycamore Springs MS
The new feeder patterns will have students from Dripping Springs Elementary and Walnut Springs Elementary matriculating to Dripping Springs Middle School, while students from Rooster Springs Elementary and Sycamore Springs Elementary will attend Sycamore Springs Middle School.
The process to determine new elementary and middle school attendance zones began last fall as a committee worked with the district’s demographer to develop options for boundaries. Six public forums were held from November through January, public input was collected, and additional options were developed. All options were analyzed, taking into account future enrollment projections. In all, five options were presented to the public.
“Our district population is not distributed in such a way that everyone can attend the school closest to their home, which led to some agonizing decisions for us,” said Superintendent Bruce Gearing. “The bottom line is we are fortunate that every school in Dripping Springs ISD provides an outstanding education to the children of our community. I would like to sincerely thank the committee and community for their involvement in making this process as transparent as possible.”
The Board also approved a one-year plan to “grandfather” incoming fifth- and eighth-graders who are zoned to the new schools but would prefer to remain at their current campus. In order to aid parents, siblings of grandfathered fifth- and eighth-grade students also will be given the option to remain at the same school as their sibling for one year. District transportation will not be provided to grandfathered students.
Principals for the two new schools were hired last summer and currently are working on staffing plans. Dr. Dru Robinett is the principal at Sycamore Springs Elementary and Mr. Dan Diehl will lead Sycamore Springs Middle School. Both schools will hold welcoming events for students and families assigned there this spring and summer. Websites for the schools are available at:
Sycamore Springs Elementary School: www.dsisdtx.us/sses
Sycamore Springs Middle School: www.dsisdtx.us/ssms
Attendance Zone Maps
The committee is to develop recommendations to be presented to the Board of Trustees for the re-organization of elementary and middle school attendance zones to ensure to the extent possible that the following parameters are met:
- Optimize school facility usage to accommodate projected growth patterns throughout the District.
- Avoid the need to redraw attendance zones until additional schools are brought online.
- Design attendance zones that place students in schools in closest possible geographic proximity of their residence.
- Avoid dividing sub-divisions when possible.
- Utilize the following capacity amounts when planning for schools:
- Elementary 850
- Middle School 1,200
- Develop effective feeder patterns minimizing splits within elementary campuses
- Consider commuter patterns within the district when possible.
- Minimize impacts on Transportation when possible.
The administrative committee working with the demographer to develop options consists of the superintendent, both assistant superintendents, current elementary and middle school principals, principals of the new elementary and middle schools, the Director of Transportation, the Director of Communications, and two Board members.
Looking Ahead to Future Schools
In addition to developing new attendance zones for
the 2017-18 school year, district administrators and demographers are
looking ahead to the impact on boundaries that future schools will have.
The district currently owns property that has been tentatively
earmarked for Elementary School #5 on Ranch Road 12 at E. Mt. Gainor
Road. As a point of reference, the demographer has drawn up some
potential "catchment areas" that may be used for future attendance zone
discussions. Considering that many factors will come into play in the
coming years, these are not proposed boundaries, but they do help in
visualizing possible changes in years to come.
Naming the Schools
Dripping Springs ISD will be opening a new elementary school and a new middle school in the fall of 2017. The schools, which are located on Sawyer Ranch Road, are connected to achieve efficiency in areas like mechanical systems and kitchen, to minimize the building’s footprint, and to allow for collaboration between the two schools. They also share a Center for Learning and Innovation, although elementary and middle school students will use different floors. Separate entrances, instructional areas, cafeterias, gyms
and offices will exist for the two schools.
As per Board policy, a committee was formed to develop a recommendation for names for the new schools. The committee solicited names for the schools from a variety of sources, then considered the suggestions before deciding on a recommendation of three names to the Board for each campus (school), which may be the same name for both schools (such as Dripping Springs Elementary and Dripping Springs Middle School).
Hundreds of suggestions for school names were gathered in late October and early November. The committee reviewed suggestions and presented three recommendations to the Board Dec. 12; they were (unranked): Kirby Springs Elementary and Kirby Springs Middle School, Sawyer Springs Elementary and Sawyer Springs Middle School, and Sycamore Springs Elementary and Sycamore Springs Middle School. Sycamore Springs and Kirby Springs were actual natural springs within the district boundaries; Sawyer Springs referenced the location of the campus on Sawyer Springs Road.
On Jan. 23, the Board voted on the names Sycamore Springs Elementary School
and Sycamore Springs Middle School
The following links provide additional information.
Local Policy CW
List of Actual Springs Names Located in District
New Schools Naming Committee Members
Monthly construction updates are presented at Board meetings and posted on the construction website