SAN ANTONIO – Northside ISD is set to open its 12th high school when classes start next week. KSAT 12 got a firsthand look at the new high school that was built to keep up with the growing population in the far West Side area.
Sonia Sotomayor High School is located on the far West Side near Culebra and Galm Roads.
“I’m just excited for the teachers and students to come in and build a solid foundation and those traditions that we’re going to build here on this campus together,” said Ada Bohlken, Sotomayor High School principal.
Sotomayor High School was built as part of the 2018 NISD bond in one of the fastest growing areas in San Antonio. It will primarily pull students from Harlan and O’Connor high schools and a few more from Taft High School.
“There are a lot of subdivisions going up right next to our area here and, obviously, another apartment complex off of 1560, so I do expect that our numbers will go up in enrollment, and I welcome that,” said Bohlken.
Approximately 1,700 students will walk through the doors at Sotomayor when school starts on Aug. 22. The campus was built on 75 acres of land, making it one of the largest in the district.
Sotomayor is also the third NISD high school to have a security lobby at the front entrance. The lobby is bullet resistant and automatically locks before classes start in the morning.
“Basically no one comes into the campus without our permission. That being said, we also have two full-time officers on campus,” said Bohlken. “Our teachers will go through active threat training. We’re going to be prepared for any kind of threat that comes to our campus. Hopefully, that will never happen, but we will be prepared.”
Sotomayor will open with no senior students this school year, but it will offer the same programs as others in the district.
“All the advanced courses, AP courses, dual classes and on-ramp classes -- we will be able to honor all those courses for our kids so they can be college competitive and career ready,” said Bohlken.
What makes Sotomayor different will be a focus on renewable energy for incoming freshman.
“That’s a program that will be established in our campus this coming year,” said Bohlken. “The freshmen will take that course, and they’ll follow that sequence. The first course is the entry level to renewable energy, robotics and also engineering.”
The new high school is nearly fully staffed with a few positions that will be filled by substitute teachers to start the year.
“Every teacher we hired is highly qualified. They all invested their time over the summer to come in,” said Bohlken. “Teachers have planned for the first nine weeks of school so they’ve grown in partnership, prepared lessons so we can challenge the students in the classroom.”