Pre-Lee wants to make Lee Elementary a neighborhood school once again

Pre-Lee children visit the Fire Station for Dad’s Night Out. (Photo courtesy of Leah Ekmark Williams).

Robert E. Lee Elementary is working hard to sway neighborhood parents to come back to Dallas ISD, despite all the ongoing debate about its controversial name. The school is surrounded by nearly million-dollar homes in a well-kept neighborhood, and an organization called Pre-Lee is hoping to recapture the neighborhood families.

Only 217 students zoned to Lee attend the school; another 53 transfer to other Dallas ISD schools or charter schools, and a whopping 526 students opt for private or home school.

Pre-Lee Association is for expectant parents and families in the Lee attendance zone to build community and learn more about the school. According to the website, the “primary mission is to cultivate relationships between neighbors and our children as we navigate the joys and challenges of parenthood-especially as it relates to education options in our neighborhood.”

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The association was formed by Wendy Hatchell, a Lakewood Heights neighbor who wanted to convince her neighbors to choose the local public school. The group holds play dates, parents’ night out, educational forums and fundraisers that benefit the school. They also support the Lee by planning events in conjunction with the school, such as school tours and popsicles parties for current kindergarteners and pre-k students.

The efforts of Pre-Lee are starting to have an impact. According to Leah Ekmark Williams, a member of Pre-Lee, out of the 46 kindergarteners slated to enter Lee’s kindergarten class this year, there are 10 from families connected to Pre-Lee. “We are excited to have nearly 25 percent entering Robert E. Lee, especially since our group is still relatively new and continuing to grow,” she says.

Last year, the Advocate highlighted Lee Elementary’s principal Bert Hart, its new IB program and his efforts to bring local families back into the fold.


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  • Pingback: Lee Elementary already has a new name picked out. Here's how they got there. - Lakewood/East Dallas()

  • Oface

    Your lose, such a great neighborhood packed with caring and awesome people.

  • Alicia Carter Love

    We came back to Lee after spending two years at a very pricey local private school. I know the education my daughter got there was equal too, and better than, what she was getting at that pricey private school. Now we are off to JL Long with scores that impress her AP teachers. She’ll be able to hold her ground with the Lakewood and Stonewall alum. Next fall, my youngest will start Kinder at Lee, and I’ll be a proud Cougar Mom once again.

  • Woodrow Wildcat

    Anyone see the irony of parents upset over a “racist name” when 526 families won’t send their kids to a majority minority school?

  • ladyhatch

    Thank you, Advocate, for sharing some Positive news about REL Elementary and the wonderful things happening at this little school. We are coming together as a community to get to know our neighbors and support the school which in turn, helps the kiddos. I feel very proud of how this group has worked together, proud of the current Lee PTA and the awesome administration and teachers that are there. What’s happening on the inside of the school is what matters most!

  • Correct, you are not reasoning.

  • inklenotrump

    lol there is no reasoning with you, it is clear.

  • Sure. We lost Vietnam, too. Do you want to tear down those memorials?

  • inklenotrump

    Remember the South lost.

  • inklenotrump

    LOL stereotypes sure are easy aren’t they? talk about showing a lack of education.

  • Most yankees that claim to be well educated are neither.

  • Los_Politico

    My wife refused to look at houses in the “Lee” neighborhood. But she’s just a well educated Yankee, so what does she know?

  • The quickest way to tell parents “keep your kids in private school, the lunatics are in charge” is to change the name of Robert E. Lee.