New Vail school will link students to the past as they move into - Tucson News Now

New Vail school will link students to the past as they move into their futures

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VAIL, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Steel beams and metal framework show the shape of Esmond Station K-8 in the Vail Unified School District right now.  The school will open in a year off of Mary Ann Cleveland on the far southeast side, and be able to accommodate about 500 students.

"Critical thinking skills for children, let their creativity flow instead of the traditional direct instruction," principal Jerry Wood said about the way students will learn at the school.  "You get to make quite a few decisions on what's going into the place and you get to see it go from the ground up."

The school also links Vail's past to the students' futures.  An 1880's rail bed can be seen crossing the grounds, and a railroad foreman's house has been moved to the campus.  That house will provide a place for students not only to learn about the past but for high school students to learn carpentry.

"This house is a bridge to our past in the Vail community and this house will also teach our students history for years to come," Wood said.

"To have that opportunity to say, ‘This is a piece of our past, this is who we are today and this is where we're going in the future right along that same railroad line, I think that that's just a wonderful opportunity," said Vail Unified School District assistant superintendent John Carruth.

The district has attracted parents and students from across Tucson; however, the seats have dwindled and resident students have priority.  While Esmond Station could offer more opportunities for open enrollment students, Vail residents are the priority.

"Our primary concern, though, is to make sure we provide adequate seats and adequate space and adequate, quality education that we're known for the students and families we serve in Vail schools and the Vail community," Carruth said.

"This is the innovation of Vail," Wood said.

The school will likely be completed by the end of the calendar year; however, classes won't start in full swing until next summer in 2014.

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