In the Zone

From the Desk of Dustin Horras

Welcome Back!

Sand Creek Zone Families -

I hope you have enjoyed a summer of fun and time to relax. We are quickly approaching the start of the new school year and I want to welcome our new families to the Sand Creek Zone while extending thanks to our returning families. Thanks for trusting our schools, leaders, teachers, and staff with your students. Our schools are full of staff members who will develop strong relationships with your student(s) while going above and beyond to support their needs. My expectation for our schools is to have a strong student-centered culture that maintains high expectations for teaching and learning. Our Zone is one that will support, and challenge, our students to succeed and be prepared for whatever is next: the next grade level or post-graduation opportunities. The Sand Creek Zone is an excellent choice, and place, for your student(s).

The start of this school year brings some change in leadership at many of our schools. Each of our schools, with the exception of Sand Creek High School, welcome new administrators. Stetson Elementary, Springs Ranch Elementary, and Horizon Middle School all welcome new principals this year. Evans Elementary, Remington Elementary, Stetson Elementary, Springs Ranch Elementary, and Horizon Middle School all welcome new assistant principals to their buildings. Having worked with our returning administrators and either hiring or meeting our new ones, I am excited about our group of school leaders and the things they will do at each building.

Although I am moving into a new role this year as Zone Superintendent, I am starting my 28th year in District 49 - all working in the Sand Creek Zone. I began my career as a 4th grade teacher at Evans Elementary before moving to principal roles at both Evans and most recently Horizon Middle School. I also spent a couple years at Sand Creek. My experience at the various levels, in the Zone and District, allow me to bring a lot of knowledge of our Sand Creek Zone schools and many of our families. I truly look forward to continuing to serve this community.

Please look for communication for your student's school regarding upcoming events, open house, registration, and other back to school information. Again, welcome back, or welcome to, the Sand Creek Zone! - Dustin Horras, Sand Creek Zone Superintendent

Big picture

What is a Zone?

District 49 is unique in that it refers to its feeder pattern of schools as "Zones" and gives them the autonomy to make curriculum, staffing and budget decisions at the lowest level possible. The Sand Creek Zone is comprised of Evans Elementary, Horizon Middle School, Remington Elementary, Sand Creek High School, Springs Ranch Elementary and Stetson Elementary. We are the farthest "zone" south in District 49. Five of our six schools are Title 1 schools, having a high percentage of students that qualify for free and reduced lunch, giving those schools more federal funding to support their programs, staff and students. Led by Zone Superintendent Dustin Horras, the Sand Creek Zone is known for its positive culture and climate, the highest percentage of high school students earning free college credits in the district, and pathways and programs that begin in the early elementary grades and keep their continuity through 12th grade. We value intentionality when it comes to instruction, retaining highly qualified staff, and supporting our leaders in their growth. We are so glad to have you in the Sand Creek Zone!
Big picture

Community Partner Spotlight

Each month we will highlight a community partner that has supported the Sand Creek Zone Schools. This month, we would like to spotlight Texas Roadhouse! Our partners at Texas Roadhouse host many fundraisers for our zone schools and help us with gift certificates for staff recognition and celebrating student success. They have also provided volunteers for projects around the community including manning the Mobile Market, moving clothing for the Community Resource Center, hosting a table with give-a-ways for school events and even helping with campus clean ups. Check out their upcoming community event, Party in the Parking Lot (see flyer above). Thank you Texas Roadhouse for all of your support of the Sand Creek Zone Schools!

SCZ Schools Boost Culture and Climate Renaissance

Remington Elementary, Sand Creek High School, Evans Elementary and Horizon Middle School sent staff to the Josten's Renaissance Global Conference Last week in Dallas, TX. There, they learned about making all staff, students and families feel like they belong, how to celebrate all students, and went through many free resources available to any school that is interested in supporting students with a positive culture and climate.

Evans Elementary presented on how they brought on the Renaissance program at the elementary level, showing other schools how to successfully implement character education, celebrate students through rallies, and involving student leadership in the positive culture planning of their school.

Horizon Middle School Assistant Principal Liz Dalzell also presented on how to get Renaissance started in your school and the positive impact the program has had on academic growth and achievement. Liz also was asked to give a "REN Talk" on what is student achievement and that we can measure it with more than just a grade.

We are excited of the expansion of the Renaissance program in the Sand Creek Zone and we can't wait to see the positive growth of our students! Check out more photos here.

Big picture

Nominate a Staff Member "In the Zone"

This is a new and special recognition that acknowledges a Sand Creek Zone employee who has done an outstanding job, made an extraordinary effort, went above and beyond their role, or presented an overly caring or welcoming attitude. This nomination is meant to recognize those that truly go the extra mile and to acknowledge exemplary performance in the Sand Creek Zone.

Those selected as "In the Zone" through this nomination will receive zone wide recognition for their exceptional efforts.

If you would like to nominate a staff member, please use this form. It will be available all year long at

Apply Now! Free and Reduced Lunch Benefits

Each year, families that may qualify for free and reduced lunch benefits must reapply through their PaySchools (lunch money) account. It is important to know that you could qualify for a reduction in fees, costs covered for sports/activities, and more! Check out the photo below for all that you could be missing out on by not applying. For more information on how to apply, use this link.
Big picture

Back To School Events

7/19: SCHS Check-In at the Creek (9th Grade) 8am-3pm

HMS Registration (7th/8th) 9am-3pm

7/20: SCHS Check-In at the Creek (10-12th Grade) 8am-3pm

7/21: HMS Registration (6th Grade) 9am-3pm

7/27: HMS Open House 5:30pm

7/29: SCHS Campus Clean Up 9-11am

7/31: SRES Open House 3:30pm

SES Open House 3:30pm

EES Open House 5pm

8/1: K, 6, 9th Graders First Day of School

RES Meet & Greet 3:30-5:30pm

8/2: First Day of School for All Students

8/8: SCHS Back to School Night 5:30pm

8/17: RES Back to School Night 5pm

SRES Back to School Night 5pm

8/18: No School for Students

8/25: SCHS Homecoming Game 7pm

Sand Creek Zone

Serving SCHS, HMS, EES, RES, SRES, and SES