DSISD welcomes students to two new campuses in one location

After more than a decade, Dripping Springs ISD this week officially opened two brand new schools to students. 

 On Wednesday, the district opened its doors to Sycamore Springs Elementary and Middle Schools, which are both situated at the same location. 

The combined campuses are expected to welcome approximately 1,600 combined students, who will be welcomed by 150 staff members, serving in instructional and support positions. 

DSISD last opened a campus in 2007 when the district opened Rooster Springs Elementary. At that time, the district changed its grade configuration so that all elementary schools served students in Pre-K through 5th grade. 

Kindergarten teachers Abby Strobel (left) and Kinnison Bryan prepares her classroom for the arrival of students. (photo courtesy of Dripping Springs ISD)

The opening of SSMS also marks the first time that DSISD secondary students will not be at a single school.

The campus is a unique design that connects the two schools, yet allows them to operate as separate schools with separate principals, according to a district press release. 

Some spaces are shared, like the kitchen, administrative workspace, and Center for Learning and Innovation. The cafeterias connect but have a movable wall in the center that will be closed for day-to-day operations. The connectedness of the schools will allow for opportunitites for student and staff collaboration, mentoring relationships, and easy transition for students taking subjects at a higher grade level. 

Kristen Ray is the new principal of Sycamore Springs Elementary and Dan Diehl leads Sycamore Springs Middle School. Assistant principals are Tami Ballard at SSE and Karen McCollum and Steve Novickas at SSMS.

Sycamore Springs Elementary and Sycamore Springs Middle School are designed to fit into the natural landscape, according to the release. 

The building’s design was created in a way that incorporated the change in elevation on the site into the layout of the building. The schools also have features that focus on sustainability, including rainwater collection, a geothermal heating/air-conditioning system, and landscaping that, in a majority of areas, uses a native Texas seed mix that won’t require irrigation.

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