Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Arenas Changed

With the evolution of sports seasons, the Bayard’s Tigers went from prowling an approximately 120 x 53 foot jungle of well-trimmed grass, including the end zones, to an 83 x 50 foot barren wooden court. They traded cleats and shoulder pads for tennis shoes and sports shorts, going from sole possession of the football field to shareholders of the basketball court.

Their games goal changed from seeking the exhilaration of subjectively tearing the head off an opponent’s ball carrier, to keep from objectively being removed from a game if they happen to touch an opponent in a menacing way 5 times.

This says nothing about being somewhat oblivious to a football crowd’s reaction because of distance and voices fading into the vastness of a Western Nebraska atmosphere. Now, the crowd sits a mere few feet from the action and yells into an atmosphere that reverberates off the walls and resounds into their ear canals.

Nevertheless, a group of Tiger’s and Tigresses’ show up every game night and let their competitive feline instincts propel them. Win or lose, as if it were the first game of the year, they respond to every round ball challenge.

During each confrontation they leave it all on the court. Their faces radiate the dismay of a missed assignment and the glow of a swisher. They give each game their best level of competitiveness from the opening tip to game’s end.

I’m sure they absorb the professional attitudes of their coaches. Whether their team wins or loses the coaches always coach. They teach through thick and thin and refuse to their team hang its head. Their lesson, whether feast or famine, is you keep on plugging because that’s the route to overcoming; that’s the route of turning a defeat into victory.

The coaches and their teams have one sure link to success; they’re young and without much experience with each other. That’s a game plan to travel Interstate-Future-Success with its next planned stop being Bayard, Nebraska. Think of the fun of learning to win that lies ahead for all the teams within BHS. Coaches and teams growing together; wow, I’m pleased I can be around to write about it.

Tiger’s and Tigresses: Bayard wants to watch and grow with you. It’s like the pioneers of the 1850’s; it’s too late in the season to try and cross the Rockies, so we’ll spend the winter here in the foothills and conquer what’s within our grasp.

In 2016 and 2017, good luck Bayard sports. You’re appreciated.      


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blood Red Wine and Broken Bread

Blood red wine and broken bread light The Way;
Symbols of our Savior on the Cross.
The Way to Truth, The Way to Life,
we sip, taste, and sense His warmth.
Tears blur as we walk that narrow path,
He commands, “Follow Me, I’ll lead the Way.”

Blood red wine and broken bread light The Truth;
Jesus says, “I am The Truth; The great I Am.
I am not A Truth; I am The Truth;
I am not a truth teacher, or like the truth.
I Am who I Am; I Am Truth.
Come to Me, I will give you peace.”

Blood red wine and broken bread light the Life;
Wherever we look is Life; God is Life.
The “something” of Life has always been;
He’s both physical and spiritual.
Life’s abundant because it’s I Am;
 “Come all who labor and I will give you Life.” 

Spiritual Giving

                                               Servers approach the front of the Sanctuary,
it’s time to share from His bountiful gifts.
                                                           How does one give to God;
the eternal presence Who’s everything?
We give from our abundance, while spit-shined and fresh,
He gave His blood while wearing a crown of thorns.

Scripture says God searches the heart,
what is pumping from ours?
Does our gift freely flow, or is it square,
trying to slip through a round hole?
Is it love, or is it a work,
what prompts our action?

 Though freely given, our gift is but a token,
a token of Jesus’ free gift of eternal life.
Our gift is from the fruits of our labor,
His gift is from His blood on a cross.
His gift left behind a tomb, forever.
To God goes the glory, for all He has done.

Monday, November 21, 2016

BPS and Strategic Planning

On the east side of town sit two buildings, one is Bayard’s Grade School, and the other is Bayard’s High School. They are bastions of education that house over 400 students.

On any given day some of the students go there to learn, some are just there, and some, for whatever reason, are not there, period. As a percentage of the whole, the three groups vary from day-to-day.
Also in the picture are the school board, administration, teachers, and staff. Then, too, billowing in the background looms the Federal and State Governments with their various educational mandates, which are generally deified from whence they emanate.

Finally, in order to educate your child, all those contrasting entities need to mesh.

At BPS, the wheels on which the education of your child rolls to fruition are retread in a process called Strategic Planning, which is a comprehensive plan that encases a 3 – 5 year time frame.

For example, a previous article about Strategic Planning dealt with BPS integrating their Vision and Mission Statements into a process which, every school day, includes faculty, students, and visiting parents.   

Strategic Planning involves every aspect of the process of educating. Thus, over the next few weeks, articles will cover different tread marks that Strategic Planning leaves. Hopefully, this will give readers an in depth look at what it takes to balance the tires of education.   

Strategic Planning is comprehensive and involves everyone, not only the school board, administration, teachers, staff and students, but parents, and community. Each unit has a voice.

The value of parents and community is dependent on the units that make up the school, and vice-versa. Because each knows their appropriate lane, balanced communication leads to mutual goals and eliminates uncertainty between the different factions.

The Strategic Planning journey begins and ends with teaching the students. With that in mind, BPS’ partner is the acronym TAPPLE.

Teach First: Before asking a question make sure the student is ready to respond.
Ask a question that’s specific to what’s been taught.
Pause: Give students time to respond.
Pick a Non-Volunteer: Select students at random to make sure they’re listening.
Listen to the response: Responses determine the level of instruction.
Effective Feedback: Echo if correct, elaborate if unsure, and explain if incorrect.

That acronym seems like a good Strategic Planning draft for all of us in our respective lives?

Monday, November 7, 2016

BGS Students Rewarded for "Caught You Being Good"

In an earlier article written after an interview with Bayard’s Grade School Principal Matt McLaughlin, I wrote about student participation in “Caught You Being Good.” 

The name describes the venture. When a grade school student is “caught” by a teacher, or administrator, doing something good, like holding a door open for others, or picking up books someone dropped, etc., they receive a “Caught You Being Good” ticket.

On the ticket the “catcher” writes the students name, what they did, the date, and puts it on the “Honor Wall”. In two week intervals, the student with the most tickets wins a prize. They’re fun prizes: One had the winning student picking the teacher of his/her choice and introducing their choice to a whipped crème pie in the face.

“Caught You Being Good” caught fire quickly, and a teacher recently awarded the 1000th ticket. That action warranted a celebration that would involve a couple hours of afternoon playground fun. Starting at 2 pm on a recent Friday, two groups, grades K - 3 and 4 – 6, had their moments of fun. 

The 4 - 6 graders were the first to swoop onto the playground.

Waiting for them were the grade school teachers, administration, and any parent, or grandparent, who came to join the fun.

After the students endured the usual preliminary speeches, the festivities began.

The distance around the enclosed playground is a quarter-mile. While the students congregated at the preset starting point, teachers, armed with containers of colored chalk, went to their stations around the perimeter.

With everyone in place, the students started trotting around the playground. When they passed one of the teachers’ stations, teachers showered the students with multi-rainbow-colored powdered chalk. Loving it, the students could make up to four trips past the teacher’s stations.

That meant that when they finished their tour, they were covered head-to-foot with various colors of chalk dust.

Looking like human rainbows, they hovered around their parents, grandparents, or whoever else they could find, and gave them big ol’ chalky hugs. The playground glowed with bobbing masses of iridescent human caricatures enjoying themselves, no matter the age.

When the 4 – 6 grade spectacular somewhat quieted, the K – 3 children charged onto the playground for their turn. Sans the speeches, the kids enjoyed the same experience as their predecessors, including having every bit as much fun.

As the grand finale, Principal Matt Mclaughlin ran a circle around students and teachers and joined the ranks of mobile chalk statues, however, I didn’t see him hug anyone.

With chalk-coated success, “Caught you Being Good” had its first adventure of group rewards. Kudos for “Tiger ingenuity” from teachers, administration, and for student’s endorsing that ingenuity.  


Friday, November 4, 2016

Caught You Being Good

Like a dribbled basketball the words bounced from Bayard’s Grade School Principal Matthew McLaughlin’s heart. “Through positive reinforcement kids feel they belong, which is necessary in our school system due to the diversity of our students.

“It all began in a staff meeting during which we brain-stormed ways we could make positive reinforcement be a continuous process at the grade school. We chose to implement the idea of 
‘Caught You Being Good’ tickets.

“Basically, the premise is that we should pay as much attention to students doing good things as we 
do for counter-productive behavior. We have consequences to discourage negative behavior, so why not have rewards to promote positive behavior? Things like helping someone pick up books they dropped, holding a door open for another person, and proper playground behavior, etc.

McLaughlin talked about the simple process. When someone is ‘caught’ doing something good, a ‘Caught You Being Good’ ticket is hung on a special wall at the grade school. (See ticket below) Along with their name on the ticket is the good thing they did, the date, and the person who saw them doing the good deed.

The person who earns the most tickets during two-week time frames receives a prize. This year’s initial two week first place prize was whipped cream pies in the face of the teacher of their choice. McLaughlin didn’t need me to ask whether the students enjoyed ‘Caught You Being Good.’

Relishing the success of the program he hardly paused, “It’s caught on to the point the kids look for good things to do, and if we don’t catch them in the act they don’t hesitate to point it out to us. We believe making the connection between good behavior and an award will help students feel they are part of the grade school, and it will help them develop a positive attitude toward good behavior that may follow them throughout their lives.”

Give a kudu to Bayard’s Grade School team that includes the education of your child in their hearts as well as in their minds.


BHS: Girls State Golf Tournament

Q. What happens when an Apple-gate swings? A. A hole-in-one drops in. (What else?)      

The odds of an amateur golfer hitting a hole-in-one are 1 in 12,750. In her third year of playing golf, BHS Senior Catherine Applegate mastered those odds at Nebraska’s Class C Girl’s State Golf Tournament at Maloney Golf Course, in North Platte.

In a group of three representing Gibbon, Norfolk, and Bayard, hitting last, Catherine teed up her ball on the 17th tee box; she eyed the flag 120 yards away. “I felt good because I’d been hitting the ball well; I even birdied the 9th hole, which really helped my confidence. I shot a 92 that day, which was my lowest score this season.

“I couldn’t make up my mind which club to use. I didn’t want to use a club that I might hit the ball over the green, so I decided to use a 7-iron that I knew I could swing easy but still get the distance I needed.

“I swung and watched the ball hit the edge of the green and roll across it into the hole. When it rolled in, stunned, I thought, ‘Wow, did you see that.’” The other two girls looked at me in amazement, and people on the green were clapping and looking my way.

“As I walked to the green, I was kinda in a trance. It was a surreal experience; one I’ll never forget."

Catherine’s going to the University of Wyoming next year, but she doesn’t plan to join the golf team. “I just want to concentrate on my studies. There will be time for other things later.”

I asked if she’s happy about playing golf in high school. “Oh yes, the game of golf changed my world. Before I went out for golf I wasn’t particularly confident or knew much about self-motivation. 
However, golf taught me what it takes to overcome the rigors of life.

“I look up to Coach Roberts; he helped me change for the better. I like having confidence in myself, and I’ll never forget what Coach told us, ‘If you’re close enough to get it in, get it in.’”

Well Coach, she did.