Dear Spartan Families,
As we conclude a truly unprecedented school year, I want to share my sincere appreciation for the support, flexibility, and patience you’ve shown us over the past 14 months. As we look forward to summer, it is wonderful to see many signs of normalcy already returning to our schools. From a traditional prom to in-person graduation, to field days, carnivals, and third grade clap-outs, our students and staff have cherished these final few weeks together.
While it is easy to focus on the difficulties associated with this year, I prefer to highlight the positive aspects connected with working together through this year’s challenges. We recognize that disrupted learning, particularly during the first semester, certainly affected the delivery of grade-level content and skills we would cover with students in a typical year. However, rather than speaking to the potential “learning loss” that this pandemic brought on our students, we choose to focus on the silver lining - the learning GAINED.
The truth is that all of us have learned lessons in resilience and perseverance we wouldn’t have otherwise, not to mention the immeasurable progress relative to technology made by both our teachers and students.
We are keenly aware we will have learning gaps to address with students next year. Yet, we must keep in mind the “finish line” has moved for all of us. When August rolls around, I’m confident our teachers and staff will do what they do best every single year, which is to meet students where they are, chart a path for academic growth, and inspire curiosity and a love of learning along the way.
When it comes to finding the silver lining, we have seen it manifest in many ways across the district, not only in our academics but in every aspect of what we do. Our BHS Graduation Parade, for example, quickly became a tradition to be continued. Our school staff has fully embraced the concept of “pivoting” to ensure events like Meet the Teacher, Parent Conferences, and End-of-Year Celebrations are able to continue safely. In that “pivoting,” we have embraced a new definition of “togetherness,” via live streams and Google Meets. As we see more and more aspects of this pandemic in the rearview mirror, we also see a reflection of new skills and methods learned which will allow us to be more inclusive for years to come.
Despite restrictions on practices and fan participation, our high school athletic teams have enjoyed one of their most successful years in BPS history. Moreover, our Arts programs have displayed incredible creativity and determination to provide numerous opportunities for students to showcase their talents throughout the year, even through virtual events and contests. In short, our teachers and students have refused to allow COVID-19 to steal their joy and passion for doing the things they love.
I am also enormously proud of our teachers and staff for their positivity and dedication to our students over this year. From our child nutrition workers waiting at the curb in all types of weather with fresh meals; to our bus drivers implementing new practices to keep students healthy and safe; to our custodians and maintenance workers for ensuring our schools were clean and sanitary; to our office personnel for managing new guidelines and lots of phone calls; to our SCA teachers for maintaining meaningful connections with students and families virtually; to our entire teaching corps and instructional staff - including teacher assistants and paraprofessionals, for their flexibility and resourcefulness through multiple school disruptions; to our media specialists and technology staff for keeping tabs on thousands of Chromebooks and providing access to technology to all of our students; to our awesome nurses and health assistants for managing enormous new challenges and caring for us all; to our wonderful counselors for taking care of the social and emotional needs of our students, and to our site and district administrators for taking on even more responsibility to keep us moving forward, this has been a total TEAM effort!
We very much look forward to the day we can fully return to normalcy. When we do, we will look back on these lessons learned with gratitude for all we accomplished as a school family.
The next few years will be fast-moving and exciting. With our community's growth, we will be bringing you innovative new ideas for teaching and learning, while improving capacity and branding with the construction of state-of-the-art facilities on our high school campus and throughout the district. We are committed to our district’s vision of being a place where all children can learn, excel, and own their future. With your continued support and input, we are aiming to be the best school district in Oklahoma, now and into the future.
Thank you. I hope you and your families have a safe and positive summer break.