This Friday, 104 fifth-graders will graduate from Bexley Elementary in Land O’ Lakes, capping off an outstanding first year for the new school.
“I’m amazed at how fast this school year has gone by,” said Principal Vicki Wolin. “We’re so proud of our first graduating class, and excited about the many accomplishments achieved this year by our students, staff and parents.”
Wolin identified four successes she is particularly proud of.
- Established a chapter of the National Elementary Honor Society for fourth- and fifth-graders. Students were invited to apply, and 40 were selected based on their application, grades and citizenship efforts.
Along with the support of their teams, two teachers co-chaired this initiative; fifth-grade teacher Cynthia Zimmerman and fourth-grade teacher Katlyn Gamble.
“Not all elementary schools have National Honor Society, and our co-chairs did a great job making this happen,” said Wolin. “Establishing a chapter in our first year was important because we wanted to emphasize that the academic achievement of our students is a primary focus.”
- Organized a Safety Patrol Program for fifth-graders, with 25 youngsters selected, based on teacher recommendations, academics and good citizenship.
“Our safety patrol students monitor school activities, help out in the car loop and assist other students throughout the campus,” said Wolin. “They are our goodwill ambassadors who exemplify our school rules— Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe.”
- Recognized by the Florida Department of Education with a Golden School Award for promoting parent and community involvement. The award requires that the total number of volunteer hours equals twice the number of students enrolled at a school.
Bexley volunteers far surpassed this number, logging over 3,000 volunteer hours, or twice the number of hours required, based on its student population of 715.
- Established a Parent Teacher Organization to plan and support the school’s Booster-thon and Spring Carnival fundraisers.
“Our PTO was very involved, especially for a new school,” Wolin said. “Its fund-raising activities contributed to our outdoor beautification program with benches and umbrellas, and also supported our technology fund that we use to purchase iPads and laptops.”
Wolin, who previously was principal for 14 years at Seven Springs Elementary in New Port Richey, was appointed Bexley’s principal in January 2017, eight months before the school opened.
“It was an incredible learning experience to be part of the school from the ground up,” said Wolin. “It allowed me to be proactive, and plan ahead to put in place the processes and procedures needed for the school.”
Designed for 900 students, Bexley is the largest elementary school in physical size in Pasco County. It ends the school year with 715 students, and is expecting an enrollment of 800 for the 2018-19 school year.
Much of this student growth is coming from children in primary grades, especially kindergartners.
“We had 120 children at our spring kindergarten roundup, and are growing from four kindergarten classes at the beginning of this year to eight classes next year,” Wolin said.
The doubling of its kindergarten class is reflective of the many families moving into Bexley, the master-planned community where the school is located.
Newland Communities, the developer of Bexley, anticipates selling 150 new homes a year in its community —many to families with young children. Newland will be building for several years, with an anticipated build out of 3,500 homes.
In addition, two large apartment communities are opening close to Bexley Elementary that will have many families with school-aged children — Lakeside Walk at Bexley with 300 apartments, and Mystic Pointe with 262.
“With so much growth at Bexley and the surrounding area, we expect to be at our 900-student capacity within two years,” said Wolin. “We also are seeing lots of local children transferring from charter schools to Bexley, and many families relocating from outside the state to Pasco County.”
Bexley Elementary is built on 18 acres donated by Newland Communities. And, because of the generosity of this developer, there is room to construct an additional building on the school site in the future.
John Petrashek, director of construction services for Pasco schools, has praised Newland Communities for being “tremendous partners.” He explains that Newland ensured that the site was large enough to meet the district’s needs, and also made sure that needed infrastructure was available.
“We know that access to good schools is so important for families with kids, particularly when shopping for a new home,” said Pam Parisi, vice president of marketing for Newland Communities.
“That’s why we’re thrilled to have Bexley Elementary School located right within the community. Parents and kids love the convenience of being able to walk or ride their bikes to school.”
About Bexley Elementary
- 726 students; projected 800 next August
- Principal Vicki Wolin — 30-year Pasco educator
- 84 employees, including 39 teachers
- First graduating class – 104 fifth-graders
- Golden School Award for over 3,000 volunteer hours
- School Mission: Believe. Engage. Succeed. Every Bulldog! Every Day!
- Located on 18 acres donated by Newland Communities
Published May 23, 2018