School gets ready for its debut

As construction work continues at Cypress Creek Middle High, Principal Carin Hetzler-Nettles and her fledgling staff are preparing to set up residency.

Her initial crew of eight people will be looking to take over the building the week of June 12, she said.

Charlie Barthle, the educational facilities inspector, talks about features in the new school that is scheduled to open in August. (Fred Bellet)

The school, set to launch its inaugural year in August, initially will open for students in grades six through 11.

The building will have roughly 114 staff members, and, as of May 31, Hetzler-Nettles had just nine instructional openings left to fill.

But, there’s still a lot to do before the school, off Old Pasco Road, opens. For one thing, the principal wants to give students and parents a chance to get acquainted with the campus.

“We’re in the unique position where everybody kind of needs to be oriented to the school,” she said.

To help people get a feel for the campus, three events dubbed HowlaPalooza have been scheduled.

Howlapalooza draws its name from the school’s mascot, the coyote.

The gathering for seventh- and eighth-graders, and their parents, is scheduled for Aug. 1, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Ninth-graders through 11th- graders and their parents are set to meet the same afternoon, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

In both cases, parents and students with gather separately for activities in different parts of the campus, and then will join together to tour the school.

Getting the campus ready for its first year is a massive job. A landscaper is shown here stabilizing a new tree at the school.

The tour, Hetzler-Nettles said, “is what everybody is excited about — understandably, so.”

The sixth-grade Howlapalooza is patterned after the ninth-grade orientation that Hetzler-Nettles previously conducted when she was principal at Wesley Chapel High School.

Sixth-graders and parents will arrive at 9 a.m. on Aug. 2.

“We’ll do a Parent University in the morning for the parents, for maybe an hour,” Hetzler-Nettles said.

The sixth-graders will stay until 1 p.m., being guided through such activities as opening lockers, going through the lunch line in the cafeteria, and generally getting a feel for where things are and how things work.

The idea, the principal said, is “get them used to the campus, to kind of erase some of those first-day jitters. It makes it a little less overwhelming.”

Electricians are installing lighting outside the cafeteria, which will have some outdoor dining.

Hetzler-Nettles and staff members already have visited schools that are feeding students to Cypress Creek Middle High, and have been handing out T-shirts and giving updates on the campus’ progress.

Activities are planned during the first week to help orient the students to the campus, she said.

The principal said it’s natural to feel nervous, and she added “anytime you’re stepping into something new, it’s good to be nervous.”

Hetzler-Nettles is excited about the prospects of developing the school’s traditions and opportunities.

“It’s good to work together, and to communicate and create something exciting for kids and the community. We’re really, really jazzed about that,” the principal said.

She said she knows others are excited, too, because she’s seen the school’s T-shirts being worn all over the community.

Cypress Creek Middle High gears up for opening year
Sixth grade: Aug. 2, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Students should wear comfortable clothing and shoes, for outdoor activities and a campus tour. A McDonald’s lunch will be provided. Children who are on medication should address that issue before arriving on campus. Any questions? Email Assistant Principal Meighan Melsheimer at su.lf1531881580.21k.1531881580ocsap1531881580@iehs1531881580lemm1531881580.

Seventh grade and Eighth grade: Aug. 1, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.: Students and their parents are invited to take part in some activities and tour the campus. Parents will report in the gymnasium, while students report to the cafeteria. After some activities, they will join together to tour the campus.

Ninth grade through 11th grade: Aug. 1, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Students and their parents are invited to take part in some activities and tour the campus. Parents will report in the gymnasium, while students report to the cafeteria. After some activities, they will join together to tour the campus.

Appointments for registration will begin on June 26. Students who have been rezoned to attend the school do not need to register as new students. Those who are registering as new students should check for registration requirements on the school’s website at

Secondary Orientation Day
A secondary orientation day for seventh-graders through 11th-graders is scheduled for Aug. 8, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students will be able to pick up their schedules and pay fees.

Published June 6, 2017

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