Sunday, June 19, 2016

What about Bayard's Grade School

Mr. Matthew McLaughlin is Principal of Bayard’s Grade School, and he’s also a father. So, when he talks about his vision for the grade school I feel he wears bifocals. Below the line in his lens his ideas agree with federal, state, and local education mandates. Above the line, though, I think he envisions the education he wants his, and other children, to experience.

Unfortunately, though, the two systems meet at that line, and sometimes clash.

Regardless, his responsibility rests with the school system, and he understands and responds that way. In a recent interview he talked about his desires for BGS. I listened to his heart fluctuate above and below the line centered in his glasses.

“Overall,” McLaughlin responded,” I’d like to raise the grade schools academic bar but do it within the present class structure. I don’t want to take the traditional route and add classes; especially now with the nationwide teacher’s shortage.”

He enjoys Bayard’s School System because it’s a small school; this makes innovations to the school program easier. His goal is to introduce pre-school and grade school students to Extended Learning Opportunities (ELO).

For example, he’d like to add reading classes to the pre-school program. He said reading is like education, it takes time to perfect and appreciate its value. If a child learns the art of reading at an early age, they have a better chance of fighting off the 160 characters demon.

“Also, he said, “I want to prioritize physical fitness because studies show being physically fit compliments learning. I think art clubs, cooking seminars, and dance classes are good for grade school children.

I’m contemplating introducing gardening to the Pathfinder’s after school program this summer.
“This year we let grade school children help plant trees around the grade school and on Donors Path. 
They enjoyed the experience and learned.”

Mr. McLaughlin’s ‘want list’ for Bayard’s grade school students is long and, as yet, unfulfilled, but it’s all listed under one heading: A well-rounded education for your child.

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