For the past year, the Zimmer family — Craig, Meghan, Wyatt and Paige — have seen the reconstruction of Stein Elementary as they go to and from their home, just a few blocks away.
On Aug. 16, they were among the first to see the school, now …
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On Aug. 16, they were among the first to see the school, now named Rose Stein International Elementary, at its official unveiling, the day before students return to school all over Jefferson County.
“We saw the whole process firsthand almost every day,” Craig said. “We’re really excited to see it finally open, especially since we have a kid entering kindergarten at the school this year.”
For the ribbon cutting ceremony, Principal Esther Valdez was joined by Superintendent Jason Glass, Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul, Ward 2 city council people Scott Koop and Sharon Vincent, state senators Andy Kerr and Rachel Zenzinger, and representative Brittany Pettersen, school board members, staff, and community members.
“You all have accomplished something special in changing the learning environment of this community,” said school board member Ron Mitchell. “Now the real work begins. You have a great school building, and now you have to build a great school.”
The school, located at 80 S. Teller St., was originally called Stein Elementary, until it was closed in 2014 because of overcrowding. In the spring of 2014, the school district approved a $1.1 million plan to combine Alameda’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program with O’Connell’s IB Middle Years program, creating a 7-12 school at Alameda, moving Stein students to O’Connell and emptying Stein.
The school underwent a $3.4 million construction and renovation project: including new windows and doors, LED lighting throughout the building, a new playground, and new paint and carpet.
“We’ve incorporated flexible design and more technology into the school,” Valdez said. “So often families and children in communities of poverty are often made to feel marginalized and unheard, but we want this community to know your children are seen and heard. We invest in them, and they will be a success.”
Not only does Rose Stein now offer preschool education, it is also a part of the IB track, allowing students access to career focused education options from primary all the way through high school.
But the school wasn’t just designed with the students in mind. It considered the community at large, and worked with the nonprofit Metro Care Provider Network to retrofit a classroom and turn it into a clinic to provide more affordable health care for the entire area.
Outside the school during its opening, there was a palpable feeling of achievement and excitement, and Valdez and Glass were met with a roar of approval when they cut the ribbon.
“Now, come see your new school,” Valdez said, and threw the doors open.
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