Adams Middle School preps for first students
Adams Middle School preps for first students
Posted on 10/12/2017
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Principal Cynthia Webber stands in Adams Middle School during construction

As a principal, Cynthia Webber usually spends her time overseeing students and teachers. Without a school to call her own this year, however, she’s busy planning her dream team of educators and defining a campus atmosphere.

That’s because Mrs. Webber serves as principal of Adams Middle School, which is currently under construction near Eaton High School and Schluter Elementary School. The campus, Northwest ISD’s sixth middle school, is scheduled to open in August 2018, leaving Mrs. Webber, who most recently served as principal of Haslet Elementary School, with routine checks of its construction progress and lots of planning for major and minor details alike.

With no physical building to call her own yet, Mrs. Webber’s office is temporarily housed at Wilson Middle School, where she’s becoming acquainted with the school layout and the day-to-day operations of a middle school.

The temporary home away from home actually has an added benefit: Adams makes use of a modified version of the district’s newest prototype design for its middle schools, most recently used to build Wilson. Some minor updates have been made to the design, such as its entrance and second-floor connections, but the overall footprint remains largely unchanged.

“Being at Wilson is helpful as it allows me to consider different ways to implement instructional strategies in our building once we open, since we share a similar design,” Mrs. Webber explained. “I also get to interact with students who will attend Eaton High School, just as our school will, and get a pulse of the middle school community.”

Though the layouts of the two middle schools are similar, there is at least one noticeable update in the school’s athletics area.

“My goal for the culture of Adams is to focus on collaboration and working together.”

Sarah Stewart, the district’s executive director of construction, said one of the unique features new to the Adams variant of the prototype design is the use of glass that dynamically changes based on sunlight exposure.

“All the gyms in Adams Middle School feature dynamic glazing windows, which automatically tint based on the lighting conditions outside,” she said. “If you’ve been to our Outdoor Learning Center, you may have seen these in use at the Great Hall.”

The features Mrs. Webber is most looking forward to are the school’s collaboration abilities.

Adams, like Wilson, includes collaboration spaces for students to work together on assignments that may require group efforts outside of a typical classroom structure. Additionally, the school has connectable classrooms, where teachers can work together for a lesson by moving partitions to create a larger learning area – a feature that may come in handy for special events.

“That’s perhaps the most exciting thing about this design, because my goal for the culture of Adams is to focus on collaboration and working together,” Mrs. Webber said. “Our school will value differentiated learning, which means respecting the fact that sometimes learning happens in a quiet classroom, but sometimes it happens by working with classmates in an area you can be a little louder. These collaboration spaces, located in our hallways, provides ample room for students to come together and work in that kind of environment.”

Construction workers build Adams Middle School

About 200 construction workers are at the Adams Middle School site on any given day to ensure the school meets its scheduled August opening. As the physical work goes on, Mrs. Webber and district secondary curriculum officials are planning everything else that makes a school what it is.

Part of that planning includes meeting with a committee to provide suggestions for colors and a school mascot, which will then be voted on by area students who may attend the school. Then, in the early-to-mid spring, attendance boundaries will be drawn to populate the school’s roughly 1,000 students across sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Northwest ISD annually adds more than 1,000 new students, and more than 23,000 students currently call the district home. As one of the state’s fastest-growing districts, schools are constantly being planned, with principals such as Mrs. Webber planning their way through the process. For her, that’s part of the exhilaration of founding a campus, but she’s ready for her own students again.

“I’m ready for a building full of kids,” she said. “We’re going to be a focal point of the community, and I can’t wait to work with our community and our neighbors at Eaton and Schluter.”

This story originally appeared in the October 2017 issue of Northwest Navigator magazine.