Like its sister buildings across Huntington UFSD, Flower Hill Primary School is preparing to reopen for classes. Principal Lucia Laguarda and the faculty and support staff members who work there are busy planning for what they hope will be a great year.
“The Flower Hill staff has been working in collaboration with the district office staff to get our building ready for the 2020/21 school year,” Ms. Laguarda said. “Even though things are very different, at the heart of it, Flower Hill is the same and just keeps getting better.”
This will mark Flower Hill’s 66th of service to the community. Over the span of those decades tens of thousands of students have moved through the building’s classrooms.
“Over the spring, we learned how to do whatever it takes to reach out to our Flower Hill families to make sure that that every student at Flower Hill is engaged,” Ms. Laguarda said. “Families gave us feedback and staff took on new professional development opportunities so that they can be better prepared to teach virtually as well as meeting the needs of all of our students upon arrival this school year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed severe challenges across the globe, including in local schools. But many students are excited to get back in their buildings with their friends and teachers, albeit with a long list of safety protocols in place.
“We cannot wait to welcome our Flower Hill families,” Ms. Laguarda said. “Over the summer vacation, our hard working buildings and grounds crew got our building ready and staff continues to work on all last minute things to welcome all of our Flower Hill Foxes.”
Flower Hill School History
Flower Hill Elementary School was erected in 1954 in response to a surge in enrollment experienced by the Huntington School District during the post-World War II era. Huge tracts of wooded land and farms were snatched up by developers who later erected thousands of houses throughout the area.
The basic design and layout of Flower Hill closely mirrors that of its sister schools, Southdown and Washington. All three were simultaneously constructed, using identical materials. The Flower Hill site, which includes 14 acres of land, is tucked into a beautiful area of the school district, crammed with flowering trees.
As students poured into Huntington during the 1950’s, district trustees moved to address the space crunch by proposing an additional wing for Flower Hill. Residents supported the idea and the structure went up in 1958, resulting in the current dimensions.
Flower Hill features an attractive entrance area. The building’s exterior includes classic red brick. A second parking lot was constructed in the past decade to better accommodate the needs of employees and parents visiting the school.
In addition to regular classrooms, Flower Hill contains space used for self-contained instruction, physical therapy, ENL services, computer instruction and art, reading and music classes. Smaller spaces are used for speech, math, occupational therapy, psychological services, remedial instruction and speech therapy.
The school also has a gym with a stage on one end, a cafeteria for breakfast and lunch and a well-equipped library and media center. There are two outdoor playground areas and an open field for student recreation and exercise.
The school’s original kindergarten playground was replaced many years ago with modern equipment. An extravagant garden area was created behind the gym, between the building’s two wings. To descend into the basement, which is really just one large room, you must exit the building and utilize a separate entrance. That area is used strictly for storage.
At one time or another, Flower Hill has housed students ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade. Today it services those in grades K-3.