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PSJA architecture students present suggestions to PSJA leadership team for safe return to school  

Screen shot of virtual meeting

A group of PSJA Southwest Early College High School architecture students recently presented their ideas for a safe return to school this fall to a group of district leaders. 

With the goal of creating a safe environment for students and staff this upcoming school year, the Dual Language Architecture students had the opportunity to present their suggestions for campuses to continue to operate safely while preventing the spread of coronavirus.

“We are so proud of the work these students are doing,” said PSJA ISD Superintendent Dr. Jorge Arredondo. “They shared well-thought out and researched suggestions, and our Division of Operations Leadership team was definitely impressed.”

Among the topics the students discussed were: abiding by TEA and CDC guidelines, handling large crowds, classrooms, restrooms, organizing a safe lunch schedule, distance learning and they even used a 3D home design software called Homestyler to create a virtual reality simulation of what their ideas could look like at their campus.

“For them to take the time and grab the floor plans, I mean their attention to detail was awesome, and their suggestions were powerful,” said Chief Operations Officer Hestroverto “Nick” Martinez. “It was moving, and I can't wait to see where we go with some of their efforts. Just with the virtual reality part of it, you just sit back and think ‘Our future is bright.’”

In addition to Martinez, the students also presented to other Division of Operations Leadership such as Child Nutrition Director Imelda Palacios, Security & Safety Director Jose Palacios, Maintenance Director Fernando Lopez and PSJA Construction Project Manager Gerardo Lopez, which is why Southwest ECHS Architecture Teacher Michelle Honl stressed the importance of collaboration with her students. 

“I told my students that this could not have been successful without communication,” Honl said. “It’s not only listening, but truly receiving it, and sharing back. I think this meeting was a success because they knew they were being acknowledged.”

By the end of the virtual meeting, the leadership team was so impressed with the students and their proposals, they asked the students to be a part of the district’s Reintegration of Students and Staff Task Force for this upcoming school year so they can continue sharing their ideas.

“I’m just so happy for them,” Honl said. “The students told me ‘We mean something. Our work is meaningful, we’re going to help save lives.’ They are willing to continue working on this even though they are no longer receiving credit, or any kind of incentive. They are doing this because they know it will make a difference.”