We are halfway through the 2017-18 school year ... how did that happen? I find it truly amazing how times moves faster the older I get! When I was in school, time moved sooooo slowly; must be the new math!
Our enrollment is holding steady; still more students than the last two years. Idaho State Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) has recently recommended an increase of support for advanced opportunities, literacy intervention, technology, and professional development, to name a few. This is great news as Idaho attempts to improve support for public education. For us to be competitive with other states these increases are necessary.
The Head Lice survey results were overwhelmingly supportive for keeping the same policy we have in place: No Nits! We will continue to evolve in the management of this pest so our nurse’s time is free for more critical needs. As many of you made clear on the survey, “Head lice is a home issue.” I thank you for your input!
Highlighting the first half of the year:
n Over 600 meals served at BCMS for the Community Thanksgiving Supper at no cost.
n 46 hams, 75 turkeys and $1,000 raised by the BCMS and BFHS Leadership Classes for Community Christmas Baskets. Giving back to the community is a worthy objective!
n Consistent and steady focus on the Idaho Core Standards and ISAT Interim Assessments.
n Continual effort maintaining a safe, civil and productive environment on all BCSD campuses.
I wanted to end this edition with an explanation of how I make the tough decision to cancel school for a snow day. Essentially this process begins the previous day by watching the news, studying the forecast and storm satellite images. Our Transportation Supervisor Bill Irwin, who was born and raised in Northern Idaho, drives to the bus garage at 3:30 a.m. to get a feel for the conditions. On the way he drives over varied sections of county roads. Boundary County is complicated by its size and the extensive network of county roads. Bill also talks to the Boundary County Road and Bridge and gets their input. I often contact the Superintendents of West Bonner and Lake Pend Oreille School Districts. These factors, plus the forecast and how it looks at the moment leads me to a decision that half of you will like and half will not! But always the number one deciding factor is what I believe is in the best interest of student safety! The final call is made by 4:45 a.m. This decision is not made lightly or without much deliberation. When a decision is made to close school, the notice is sent out electronically to the media and all families with current phone numbers. It is very important to have your current phone number listed at your child’s school. The notice is immediately placed on the website and local news programs. All principals and/or essential personnel goes to their school in case a parent does not get the message and to secure the buildings.
At this point we have been out four days. The first three were clear and easy decisions. The last one not so much as the weather took a turn for the better by noon. At least that gave a conversation starter for the Rant or Rave page on FaceBook. Still, I fall back to “Student Safety”, and always will! If we have many more snow days (God forbid!), we may need to make up school time by adding minutes to the end of a regular day. In my 40 years in the business, I have never seen that happen!
On a past promise made to the community, I am still avoiding scheduling school events and activities on Wednesday evenings whenever possible. Cancellation of school causes re-scheduling issues between athletics, music, drama, parent conferences, community action groups, etc., making an already four day school week seem even shorter. When we move to a Wednesday evening, it is due to our limited choices. This will not happen very often.
Respectfully, Gary Pflueger, Superintendent, BCSD