Rodriguez Elementary School opened its doors for the first time August 2019 after residents voted for its construction in 2017.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring the school’s namesake, the Rodriguez family, welcomed incoming students and their parents August 21 to the new school located in a Trace subdivision off IH-35 and Posey Road. The school was funded with $30 million from the $107. 3 million SMCISD 2017 bond.
Native to San Marcos, the Rodriguez family has established a legacy of educators. The school was named after the late Solia Rodriguez, Carlos G. Rodriguez and Velia R. Cavasos.
All three individuals committed themselves to serve the San Marcos community through directive and administrative positions, counseling and advocacy in civil rights in a racially divided community.
The ceremony included words of thanks from SMCISD Superintendent Michael Cardona, Executive Director of Communications Andrew Fernandez, Principal Kash Greathouse and members of the Rodriguez family.
Additionally, the event featured tours of the fourth and fifth-grade classrooms as well as complimentary snow cones for attendees.
Carlos S. Rodriguez, son of Carlos G. Rodriguez, chronicled the life of his father during his speech.
Carlos G. Rodriguez graduated from San Marcos High School in 1948 and then from Southwest Teacher’s College as part of the first class in the Reserve Officer Training Corps, or ROTC, program.
He enlisted in the United States Army, but his tour of duty was canceled. He later served a tour of duty for the United States Air Force.
“Dad was always a fervent believer in the importance of a good and solid education,” Rodriguez said.
He described his father’s road to becoming an educator as fulfilling, yet plagued by discrimination and hate.
“The tracks divided the people,” Rodriguez said. “Hispanics on one side, Anglos on the other.”
Rodriguez said his father was told by SMCISD officials — after he graduated from then Southwest Texas Teacher’s College — San Marcos was not ready for a Mexican-American teacher. This prompted the late Rodriguez to move to San Antonio to teach elementary school before returning to instruct at Southwest Texas State University.
Carlos G. Rodriguez taught at Southwest Texas State University in the bilingual department – eventually becoming the director.
Carlos S. Rodriguez said his only regret is how his father and two aunts could not be present to witness their legacy recognized throughout the San Marcos community.
Andrew Fernandez, executive director of communications, said Rodriguez Elementary School is opening at half capacity, with a total of 326 students currently enrolled.
“The reason we are opening at half capacity is because the (Trace) subdivision is not fully developed, so we’re expecting, as this neighborhood grows, the student population will as well,” Fernandez said.
The classrooms at Rodriguez Elementary School are arranged in a pod-like manner as described by Nicole Recio, assistant principal of Rodriguez Elementary School, during a tour of the campus.
Each pod consists of four classrooms connected by small hallways and glass plane doors; classrooms are in view of the ones next to them while each gets an entire wall devoted to whiteboard space.
“Our students deserve a campus like this; this city deserves a campus like Rodriguez,” Fernandez said.
Fernandez said the intuitive classroom layout has been extended beyond Rodriguez Elementary School to other campuses in the district as part of the bond passed in 2017.
“If you go to any one of our elementary schools, they are all beginning to have these similar setups,” Fernandez said.
John Sellers, father to Zelda, 6, and Zoe, 7, said the campus appeared nice and pretty, but he has concerns about the openness of the classrooms.
“Open classrooms kind of look distracting,” Sellers said.
He said the setup for classroom space worries him because classes may play with and sidetrack one another, causing students to not pay attention.
Fernandez said the district is anticipating San Marcos to grow rapidly, and the efforts to build more schools and renovate old ones are meant to mitigate overflow and prevent sacrificing teaching quality.
“Our goal was to create this campus so we don’t have to worry about capacity issues at the other elementary schools,” Fernandez said. “With the fast-pace growth of San Marcos, we wanted to be proactive and grow even faster than that.”
Fernandez said the new campus will not impact daily life at Texas State, but the district encourages students from the university to visit schools in the district and interact with the community.
“We don’t want it to be the Texas State community and the San Marcos community – this is the City of San Marcos community and it is a great learning space,” Fernandez said.
The district, according to Fernandez, plans to grow into itself within the next five years but plans are already in progress to expand after that time frame. He said La Cima, a Hays County housing development, is looking into donating land to the district for growth in the coming years.
For more information on the namesakes of Rodriguez Elementary School, visit https://www.smcisd.net/domain/1430.