Monday, May 23, 2016

BHS: It doesn't close for the summer

One day I suggested to Principle Thomas Perlinski I’d like to write an article about the procedure of closing BPS for the summer.

As his mind tried to sort through what I’d asked, he thought out loud. “Things have changed since you were in school, Hugh, now, we never shut down. The activities may change, but the doors open each weekday, just like always.”

“Really?” was my well-thought-out response. “When I graduated 50 + years ago, except for janitorial crews, the school basically shuttered the windows during the summer.”

Mr. Perlinski said there’s some similarity as far as the extra work janitorial crews do, but now crews complain there’s so much activity going on around them they can’t get anything done.

“So, really, there are no similarities.”  

To prove his point, he brought along Principal Matthew McLaughlin, from the grade school, to help him summarize how the school prepares for summer activities.

Mr. Perlinski began, “Of course, the schools change of venue begins before the end of second semester. Students check in books and computer equipment, or anything else they may have that belongs to the school.”

He said teachers often meet with students, both individually, or as a class, to encourage them for the summer. Teachers may suggest a student read, or go online, to improve their understanding about a specific subject. 

Some teachers may teach summer school as BHS offers classes for high school students who need to improve their grade point average, if they want to graduate.

“It’s important for both teachers and students to start summer vacation with positive thoughts about Bayard’s Schools, and the opportunity for them to prepare for next year.

“It’s a busy time. All papers need graded and final grades determined, teacher’s complete inventories of supplies in their classrooms, and year end reports are due.

Also, on the last day of school, BPS has a lunch to say goodbye to all teachers that are going to another school, or retiring.

“Then,” Mr. Perlinski said, “for whatever reason many kids don’t eat nutritious meals at home. Through a grant, though, we’re able to provide free breakfasts and lunches for anyone under 18, whether they live in Bayard or not.

“Breakfasts are from 7 to 9, and lunch is 11:30 to 12:30. Breakfast is served in the grade schools All Purpose room, and lunch is served under the awning on the front of the building; the meals meet government nutritional standards.”

Other than the obvious benefit, the meals give BPS an opportunity to get involved with the community.

When his turn came, Mr. McLaughlin said preparing for summer at the grade school involves a lot of preparatory work, along with normal activities.

“Our teachers have the same end of semester and end of year work as do the high school teachers.
“Plus, some teachers help with the orientation of 6th through 9th grade students.

“They talk to these students about preparing for the rigors of high school, and preparing for their post secondary education and transition into adulthood. 

“At the other end of the spectrum we have kindergarten round-up. On that day future students meet their soon-to-be-teachers and tour their classroom and the lunchroom.”

Mr. McLaughlin said pre-school and kindergarten teachers talk to parents about ways to prepare their child for the independence they’ll experience in school, because independence directly affects a child’s ability to learn.

Teachers also suggest parents involve their children in the summer reading program through Bayard’s City Library.

“Moreover, we must prepare for a summer of Pathfinders,” he went on. “Bayard’s parents have embraced the program and we do our best to meet their expectations.”

Finally, both administrators agreed saying goodbye to teachers and students is the toughest part of the end of the school year. Moreover, they also admitted that now they begin to realize how emotionally tired they are.

Before the fall semester, though, they look forward to the five weeks of no dictated responsibilities that they’ll enjoy.

If anyone in Bayard-land sees a teacher, or administrator, thank them for their commitment, it’s dedicated to teaching Bayard’s children.


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