Some days when Principal Carra Fleming steps into the halls of Beck Junior High School, she had pink hair—and it suits her. Executive educators from another era sat tucked away in offices where kids visited only when they had misbehaved. Today’s principals greet kids as they enter schools, to build relationships focused on positive outcomes. Like Fleming, they join fundraising activities, whose high earners receive a blast of hair color spray.
A Love for Students
Fleming comes from a family of educators—her great-grandmother taught in a one-room schoolhouse—but it is her attitude that draws students in. “Kids are the neatest people on the planet,” she says. “I have a passion for kids and find it an honor to work with them.” She has built her career in Katy ISD, forging her first skills as a fouth-grade instructional coordinator, becoming an assistant principal at Winborn, serving as principal at 29 years old for Hayes, and opening both Kilpatrick and Holland—all elementary schools—before moving to Beck.
Beck is named for Rodger and Ellen Beck, both Katy educators, who were beloved as administrators and coaches. Fleming says, “Every decision is based on making them proud.” She relates the community’s love for Beck, with generations of students having passed through their doors. In fact, 10 staff returned to teach. “Beck is a home and true family—from the staff to the kids to the parents—who truly care for one another.”
Pennies and Selfies
District programs keep a school relevant, and Katy ISD’s are top-notch. Fleming claims the input comes from Advisory Club, whose members offer feedback on Beck, empowering the kids. The Java Club meets to learn all things computer, plus there is Garden Club, and an Internally Competitive Math Club spearheaded by Fleming, where every seat is filled when they meet.
Fundraising activities that are organized by students increase parent involvement at an age where kids try to keep them at arm’s length. “Bahama Bulldog Day or Selfies with Santa for social fun or themed days need heavy parent participation to pull off the fun,” Fleming says. Student Council and Junior Honor Society presidents and sponsors select the charities with Fleming and push awareness with Pennies for Patients to aid blood cancers, for example.
New schools are always popping up in growing areas, like Katy, but Fleming feels is it about quality. She represents excellence and is always improving with research-based teaching strategies, loyalty, and pride in her staff. The quality shows in their biggest claim as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and Texas Business and Education Coalition award with standing in the top four percent of junior highs in the state. She points out that any wins are student-oriented.
The year ahead promises new scheduling to allow extra time for students and teacher, plus rotations in tutorials with a focus to Teach Like a Champion, urging campus-wide consistency and expectations as a framework for learning. Fleming feels this backs her inherent trait for staff to remember they are servants, and to be a swimmer, not a lifeguard, meaning to be among the people involved. KM
Gail G. Collins writes internationally for magazines and has co-written two books on expatriate life that fun children’s education.
Beck Junior High
- Mascot: Bulldogs
- Colors: Maroon & White
- Principal Carra Fleming with Vice Principals Marsha Dufner, Dan DeYoung & Kevin Weber
- Located: 5200 S. Fry Rd. Katy, TX 77450
- Motto: Never Stop Improving
- Opened: 1996
- Enrollment: 1,077 Students