Katy ISD begins new school year as students return to class—and a new school

By George Slaughter, News Editor
Posted 8/18/22

Each new school year means a brand-new challenge, rich with new opportunity. A time for achievement. A time for purpose.

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Katy ISD begins new school year as students return to class—and a new school

Posted

Each new school year means a brand-new challenge, rich with new opportunity. A time for achievement. A time for purpose.

And, for Katy ISD, a new elementary school.

Robertson Elementary, 7400 Innovation Drive, is the district’s 44th elementary school. It is situated in the Cane Island subdivision, where much of the district’s growth has been taking place in recent years. Superintendent Ken Gregorski said the school, which has an enrollment of about 700 students, relieves the enrollment pressure off nearby Bryant Elementary. Last year, Gregorski said, Bryant had an enrollment of about 1,300 students.

Gregorski said four more schools, two of which are elementary schools, are being built now. He said the district ended the 2021-22 school year with an enrollment of about 91,500 students and expects to have an enrollment of about 100,000 students by 2030. Last year the student population grew at 5%, Gregorski said.

Gregorski said it was a special day at Robertson.

“Any time we open a new school, it seems like that anticipation of kids at Christmas,” Gregorski said. “They’re so excited, they come in, and we’ve worked so hard to build it up, we’ve held open houses. It’s just a fantastic experience. It’s wonderful to see kids smile and back in school again.”

School resumes in Katy amidst a renewed focus on safety, lingering in part following the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Gregorski said the district’s buildings had state of the art security systems. He said the district was blessed that the community has supported bond issues that helped make these security measures possible.

Gregorski described the district’s police as first-class, and that there would be more of a police presence than at any other time he’s been with the district.

This focus on safety also extends to communicable diseases such as monkeypox. Gregorski said the medical staff treats monkeypox like COVID-19 or any other communicable disease. He said the district follows state guidelines and works with other local health officials as needed.

In response to a question about student cell phone usage, Gregorski said students are asked to turn off their cell phones during learning time. Parents who need to reach their children during school hours are asked to contact the school office.

For the first day at Robertson—home of the Bulldogs—parents and students came through the front door to meet Gregorski, principal Martha Pulido, school namesakes Steve and Elaine Robertson, and faculty and staff, all dressed in the red school color.

The school cost $30.8 million to build and was paid for by a bond approved by voters in 2021. It is a 137,674-square-foot building with 49 classrooms. It also features the latest technology in those classrooms, including Chromebooks, iPads, and Smart Panels.

“We’re pretty state-of-the-art when it comes to the opportunity,” Gregorski said.

Steve and Elaine Robertson retired in 2020 following a combined 64 years of service in education.

Steve Robertson began his career in 1985 as an elementary teacher in the Spring Branch Independent School District. He later took leadership roles in the Conroe Independent School District, and later the Katy Independent School District.

In Katy, Steve Robertson served as an elementary, junior high and high school principal. Later he served as an assistant superintendent for secondary school leadership and support. He was cited for leading school improvement efforts, increased student performance, and support and mentorship to staff and campus leadership.

Elaine Robertson began her career as a deaf education elementary teacher with West 10 Cooperative in 1987. She took some time away to focus on family and returned to education, becoming a parent-infant advisor in 1997 for the Katy Independent School District.

Elaine Robertson became instructional officer for deaf education, vision and assistive technology in 2002. In this role, she wrote grants to fund innovative instruction, provided staff development sessions, and served on inclusion teams and site-based management teams. She also organized extra-curricular programs to bridge academic and social gaps between the deaf and hard of hearing and other students. She played a leading role in establishing the district’s audiological center.

The Katy Independent School District Board of Trustees formally approved the naming of the school in January 2022. The school will be formally dedicated in January 2023.

Katy ISD, Robertson Elementary

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