Jeffrey Trail, home of the Jets, is off the ground and soaring as IUSD’s newest middle school

IUSD officially added a new school to its award-winning lineup with this week’s opening of Jeffrey Trail Middle School. On Friday, we stopped by for a brief visit, and the excitement was palpable.

“I’ve been doing this a long, long time, and I’ve never seen energy like this,” Principal Scott Bowman told the NewsFlash. “It’s like anything that’s new, there’s an ownership in it. The kids are taking pride in every component of everything that they’re doing.”

Some of that can be attributed to the state-of-the-art facilities and student-centered design.

The mostly enclosed middle school is cleverly divided into three wings, which are accessed by extra-wide hallways that can comfortably accommodate the flow of 700 seventh- and eighth-graders — and a fleet of rolling book bags. Within the wings, 30-plus classrooms are packed with environmentally friendly fixtures, including bright, inverted-pyramid skylights that reduce the need for electric lighting.

Bowman said the biggest challenge so far has been organizing the morning drop-off routine, but even that has been surprisingly efficient, and parents have expressed their appreciation.

Back inside, students and staff were still getting to know their new environment on Friday morning, but it was already taking on the feel of a tight school community. A number of kids were sporting navy blue and orange Jeffrey Trail T-shirts featuring a cluster of jets — that’s the school’s mascot — and the initials “J.T.M.S.”

“It’s a big place, but it doesn’t feel like it,” Bowman said. “Now that the kids are here it feels like this nice little school.”