Pat Neff Elementary School (Grades PK-5)
SCA Associate Member
Note: We request updated information for our August issue; however, we did not receive corrected information in response to our request; this information may or may not be correct as of July 2007.
Neff Educates For the Future
Pat Neff Elementary is dedicated to meeting the individual needs of all students. It is our goal to promote high expectations and facilitate a positive and creative environment. All children are expected to learn and perform to their highest potential.
Anita Lundvall, Principal
8200 Carvel, 77036
Hours: Mon.-Thurs. 7:40 AM - 3:10 PM & Friday 7:40 AM - 1:00 PM
Uniforms: Navy bottoms, White tops (no white T-shirts)
School Mascot: Eagle
School Publication: The Soaring Eagle
School Colors: Blue/gold
From the April 2007 SCAN:
SPOTLIGHT ON: NEFF ELEMENTARY
When I published a notice earlier this year looking for an “outside the box” meeting, principal Anita Lundvall jumped at the chance. This is the kind of person she is: meeting any challenge and jumping at any chance to show off the great things happening at her school.
One of the great things has been the renovations at the school under HISD’s “Project Rebuild”. They have new HVAC systems, brick, floors, ceilings, lights, cabinets and storage, wiring and outlets to accommodate computers. The skylights have been reopened and the original windows replaced. There are more bathrooms and feature custom tiles created by students. The new circle drive has also been a great addition.
Neff also has a brand new library, which is a beautiful space and 3 times bigger than the old one. The library truly is the heart of the school. It has two full-time librarians, more than 18,000 books and testing materials, a dynamic accelerated reading program and even a “tree” in the middle. They host an open library night for the community from 5:00-7:00 PM on the first Wednesday of each month. Computers are available for use, and neighbors can check out books.
Pat Neff Elementary is now the largest elementary school in HISD. They are a Fine Arts magnet, featuring technology, art, piano keyboarding, drama, music and dance classes. They seek to tap into both academic and artistic abilities in all students. Ancillary classes at Neff are offered to all students and done on 5 week rotations: students attend one class (like piano keyboarding) every day for 5 weeks. At the end of the rotation, students have greater ability – for example, piano students know several songs. Our visit to the drama class was a demonstration of performing antonyms.
Ms. Lundvall is truly a hands-on principal. She personally participated in dismissal and aims to know the names of each student and parent. She says that her students are the best-behaved and respectful children she has seen in her 22 years as an educator – and she gives the credit to the staff. She even gets email from our area museums praising her students’ behavior on field trips. The good behavior was clearly evident on our tour as we popped in unannounced. They teach students to take responsibility for their actions and to understand the consequences – for use at school and home. By expecting a certain behavior and teaching to that, there are fewer discipline problems.
Ms. Lundvall believes that their job is not getting students out of 5th Grade, but equipping them to go all the way to the finish line: Graduation from high school. The school’s motto is “Whatever it takes.” Classes include GT/SIGHTS (gifted/talented), English only, bilingual and ESL. Ms. Lundvall believes in bilingual education, but that it must be done properly: building a foundation in English early on and transitioning to English only in 4th Grade. Looking at the TAKS test scores, Neff’s scores have dropped. But as part of “whatever it takes”, 4th and 5th Graders take TAKS in English (not all elementary schools to do this, instead choosing to give the tests in Spanish). Students with strong English skills are more successful middle school high school students, and less likely to drop out. That’s what success looks like.
Neff is not only committed to the success of its students but their parents as well. Across the street in space rented from the Buddhist temple is their Pre-Kindergarten center. There, through a partnership with the Mexican Institute, they offer ESL, literacy and computer classes. The University of Mexico also offers 14 week classes in keyboarding and resume writing skills.
We commend Neff Elementary and Ms. Lundvall for all their efforts and know that they will continue to be successful. It shows so clearly. Neff has an open door policy – if you’d like to see what we got to see, stop by the school office to find out more and see for yourself. Ms. Lundvall always has coffee ready and is eager to show off her school.