IMPERIAL — The Imperial Unified School District opened a new school — Imperial Cross Elementary School — Thursday, August 15, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in the school’s multipurpose room.
The new school is located east of Highway 86 and north of West Aten Road at 2462 Cross Road in Imperial.
“Thank you all for coming to our ribbon-cutting for Imperial Cross Elementary School,” said Bryan Thomason, superintendent of Imperial Unified School District, who also acted as emcee at the ceremony.
He asked principal Javier Ramos to lead the Pledge of Allegiance, but Ramos passed it on to Aether Velarde, 8, an incoming third-grade student at the school.
Thomason welcomed students, parents, teachers, volunteers, school officials, elected officials, and guests to the ceremony. This marked the third school opened in the district in the past 19 years; in proportion to the city’s growth with the population doubling in the last 10 years. Frank Wright Middle School opened in 2007, and T.L. Waggoner Elementary School, in 2000.
Officially named Imperial Cross Elementary School, T-shirts worn by individuals at the school were printed—Cross Elementary with a tiger cub mascot.
Thomason, reading from a prepared speech, said Cross elementary features seven buildings totaling 68,928 square feet and houses TK-5 grade students in 34 classrooms, six of which are kindergarten classrooms. Furthermore, Cross elementary has three parking lots, with staff and public parking and bus and vehicular drop off/loading areas.
“Imperial Cross Elementary School was paid for with Measure O dollars and had a total cost of $34 million,” said Thomason. “We look forward to it serving students of Imperial for many years to come. The Board remains committed to providing the best possible educational experience that can be delivered to our students with available resources.”
“We currently have 510 students enrolled but we are able to grow up to 900 students if not more,” said Principal Ramos. He served eight years as principal of T.L. Waggoner before joining Cross this school year. Cross elementary is ready for the first day of school with 22 teachers.
According to Ramos, Cross school accepts transitional kindergarteners. “Transitional kindergartners (TK) are students that are not age-ready for kindergarten. They turn 5-years-old between September 2 and December 2; so, they qualify as transitional kindergartners who require a year of preparation before kindergarten,” Ramos said.
In reference to his new position as principal at Cross elementary, Ramos said, “I consider it a privilege that the school board has trusted me to do this. I’m excited. We have a great team that has been working since October 2018 to prepare this school for what we want it to be.”
Guests were invited to tour and explore the campus. Parents and students went to their designated rooms to get aquatinted with their teachers and fill out forms.
Diego Castro, 6, an incoming first grader, stopped at the library and saw a poster with multi-colored words. He knelt and read each word, looking up once in a while at his mother, Monica Olmos, for approval.
“He is becoming a good reader; learning every day. He loves to read. He makes me so proud. He reads everything. He read the poster by himself,” said Olmos, beaming.
“When I was real little, my mom and dad used to read me Dr. Seuss books,” said Castro.
In one of the classrooms, Juanita Harvey, a second grade teacher, gave instructions to students and handed out forms for parents to complete.
The classroom was spacious and well lit. There were Chromebooks, a smart white board, a big screen television, a projector, and classroom cabinets.
“The technology will help us because everything now is tech-savvy. We get the students more involved and engaged,” said Harvey. Before joining Cross, she taught in Calipatria, Calexico and Imperial school districts.
At the entrance of her classroom was an electric sign. It read, “Welcome class.”