The late July opening of Mary Casey Black Elementary School will allow Brentwood resident Elena Brennan to send her daughter to kindergarten in her neighborhood. Like many northeastern Brentwood residents, Brennan has been waiting for the long-anticipated campus to open.
"It worked out perfectly for us," she said. "We have a lot of parents in our neighborhood taking their kids to two or three different schools. We are excited."
Completed in 2011, the Brentwood Union School District's eighth elementary school campus has been unused for two years due to ongoing economic constraints. Students who live near the school at Farmington Drive and Garin Parkway have been attending Brentwood, Garin and Marsh Creek elementary schools.
But at two community meetings this week parents and students got the chance to see and hear more about the first school to open districtwide in eight years.
"We have a lot to do together to make this a special place for students," said newly appointed Mary Casey Black principal and district alumna Liz Ybarra.
Over the next six months, Ybarra urged parents to help set up the library, join the parents club, become members of the advisory committee or take part in organizing the art programs. The campus will be Brentwood's smallest elementary school with 475 to 525 students and room to grow, noted Brentwood Superintendent Merrill Grant.
"This school has the opportunity to grow," Grant said. "It has the capacity to go to 750 (students)."
To prepare for the opening, the district has created a Mary Casey Black attendance boundary, which is the area east of Brentwood Boulevard from Lone Tree Way on the north side to Oak and Chestnut streets along the south perimeter. All elementary school students living in this new boundary will be automatically transferred to the new school unless a parent submits an intradistrict transfer request by March 1.
On Jan. 23, the Brentwood school board will officially consider adoption of the proposed boundary shift. In the spring, computers, a playground and furniture will be added to the school site, which is a replica of Marsh Creek Elementary.
"It looks like it was just finished yesterday," Grant said. "It is a nice luxury to have the school completed."
According to Ybarra, the campus will have the same programs as other elementary campuses in the district, including those for special education students and English-language learners. There will also be on-site, after-school child care.
"They will be receiving the same quality services they are receiving at their current schools," Ybarra said.
Mary Casey Black will have about 18 teachers next academic year, which Grant said will likely be a very veteran staff. Ybarra said that she and her staff will build a sense of excitement, start traditions and ease student anxiety with some back-to-school events.
Contact Paula King at 925-779-7174.