Parents, students prepare for new year at Johnson High

Johnson High administrators made their first appearance Thursday before Hays CISD parents and students who have been zoned to attend the new campus in August.

Principal Brett Miksch held a meet and greet at the Hays Performing Arts Center to cover his expectations for the school and answering questions from concerned parents.

With only freshman and sophomores entering Johnson’s inaugural class, the school will operate with fewer class options and sports teams than at Hays and Lehman high schools during its first year. Many parents asked about varsity sports, as well as opportunities for their children to take college-credit courses.

“Anything that is offered at Lehman and Hays, we’re offering,” Miksch said when asked about class schedule and course opportunities. “So, if it’s on your pathway, it’s guaranteed that we’re going to have it at Johnson for sure.”

What Johnson won’t have is varsity-level team sports; Johnson High will play at the junior varsity level when it opens next fall.

Sports such as cross country, track and field, spring-semester tennis, golf and swimming and diving will compete at the varsity level from the get-go.

Team sports will join the varsity ranks during Johnson’s second academic year in 2020. Johnson High athletics will be included in UIL’s next biennial reclassification and realignment process in February 2021.

Johnson High will offer band and color guard starting its first year as well.

“We want kids to be active and active in multiple areas,” Miksch said.

Despite offering most of the same opportunities at Johnson High, many students and parents have applied for a transfer to stay at their current campus for a variety of reasons.

According to Hays CISD, 134 students zoned to go to Johnson High have applied for a transfer to stay at Hays High. Meanwhile, 375 Lehman High students zoned for another campus have filed a transfer to stay at Lehman. The majority of the 375 have been re-zoned to attend Hays High in 2019-20.

Per Hays CISD’s website, transfers for Hays CISD students to stay at their current campus despite being re-zoned to either Hays or Lehman High is only allowed under limited circumstances. Those include having an older sibling currently attending the current campus, or to participate in a program not offered at their new campus. Current Hays and Lehman high school juniors and seniors zoned to a different school will be allowed to stay.

Students who are zoned to Johnson High can only transfer to stay at Hays High if they have an older sibling attending there or for a program not initially offered at the new school.

Hays High parent Rachel Varner said she applied for her daughter, Bailey, to stay at Hays High, despite having been zoned to attend Johnson High.

“I’m zoned to go to Johnson and I’m supposed to go to Johnson, but I put in a transfer to be at Hays,” Bailey said. “I moved schools previously from Barton (Middle School) to McCormick (Middle School) and I didn’t like it. I personally didn’t like how the new school wasn’t as established.”

Rachel said it will be Bailey’s choice on whether to stay at Hays or go to Johnson. However, Rachel agreed that Bailey would do her best at Hays as a member of the color guard and as a student who is focused on earning college credit.

“I know at Hays, she is on a path for college,” Rachel said. “She needs a certain level of education, but at a new school I hope they can offer that.”

Bailey won’t know if she will be allowed to transfer back to Hays High until notified by the district.

According to district officials, transfer applications include those wanting to stay at their current school, but also include regular transfers from out of the district and for other circumstances.

Hays CISD Chief Communication Officer Tim Savoy said all students will be notified of their transfer decisions by May 1.

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