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New Broken Arrow elementary school brings excitement on first day of classes

New Broken Arrow elementary school brings excitement on first day of classes

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BROKEN ARROW — When schools across Broken Arrow kicked off the 2020-21 school year on Thursday Rosewood Elementary opened its door to students for the first time.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant Principal Nate Hutchings wore a black face mask when he entered the new school building, but he also wore a rainbow-colored jacket and tie that matched the vibrant color scheme of the building’s exterior.

“The thought process (behind the jacket) was we do have a really colorful school,” Hutchings said with a laugh. “But the first day of school is unique for everybody, and kids want to know how excited we are in the building to see them. I want them to be excited, and because they couldn’t see my smile and my excitement, I wanted to have something to show them how excited I was that they’re here, and that’s why I went with this colorful jacket.”

Rosewood, at 4300 E. Gary St. near Events Park, is Broken Arrow Public Schools’ 16th elementary school and was built to help the district keep up with the multitude of families moving to new neighborhoods in the city’s east side.

The building was designed to be innovative and technology-driven, featuring a wind turbine and solar panels in front of the building. There’s also a cistern that collects rainwater from the roof to water the gardens in an outdoor classroom.

Additionally, the regular classrooms have interactive panels that provide a multitude of resources for teachers. The hallways also contain panels as well as whiteboards, allowing teachers to provide instruction anywhere inside or outside the school.

“This school is really designed for the teachers and the students,” Hutchings said. “The idea behind it was we wanted to create a place where the teachers have the resources they need to effectively give instruction and students feel at home and feel excited about being in the building.”

Nearly 400 students attend the new school. Most previously went to surrounding elementary schools, such as Oak Crest and Spring Creek.

Amanda Bowser, a fifth-grade teacher at Rosewood and a former Broken Arrow teacher of the year, said she feels spoiled to be at a new state-of-the-art facility.

“It almost feels too good to be true,” she said. “The amenities are really nice. They really thought through the layout to make it super teacher- and kid-friendly. I love that.”

Many students who felt nervous about being at a new school quickly adjusted to the new setting and shared excitement about the cool features at the facility, such as the large wind turbine outside.

Bowser is particularly fond of the turbine, which she says will tie in with science studies. She also likes the outdoor classroom and the possibilities it allows.

“Teachers just dream about what we could do in an outdoor classroom,” she said.

Erin Cambern, a literacy coach who previously worked at Country Lane Primary School, also said she was excited to work at a new elementary school. She appreciated the opportunity to collaborate with others and think outside the box.

Cambern took particular interest in the school’s focus on STEM education, such as with the wind turbine and water cistern. Four flat-screen TVs near the school’s entrance show how much renewable energy is produced each day and how much water is collected.

“I think it’s great because the kids get to see how that thing that turns around out there really helps the school and what it does energy-wise. It’s neat.”

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Kyle Hinchey


Twitter: @KyleHinchey

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