Dear BKW Parents and Guardians:
I trust that you are all enjoying the summer season. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago we were in the midst of winter. Before we realize it winter will be back with us. Therefore, it is important that you get to soak up some sun and warmth while it lasts. In fact, we are fast approaching the opening day of a new school year, September 6, which does signify the end of the summer; hence, the reason for my getting in touch with you at this time.
We have been busy over the summer preparing the building for the 2017-2018 school year. The building is being thoroughly cleaned and classrooms reassembled. Students and staff schedules have been completed. These are just a couple of the usual things that occur every year. In addition to the summer routines, there will be a few changes and a few things that were already in place but were not given enough attention during the last year that will be emphasized this year.
This year there will be a few new staff members in the secondary school working with you and your children. Please join me in welcoming three new teachers to the district: Ms. Michaela Kehrer, Mr. Sean Peer and Ms. Emily DeNovio.
Ms. Kehrer will be joining the science department where she will be teaching agricultural science. She will also be organizing and running our Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. Mr. Peer will be joining the special education department. He will be working primarily with middle school special education students. Ms. DeNovio will be joining the social studies department and will be working predominantly in the middle school. All three new staff members are highly qualified and were successful in a rigorous screening process to ensure that the students at BKW Secondary School will continue to receive the best quality education. We will also be hiring a new social worker who will replace our current social worker who just recently notified us of her acceptance of another job closer to her home.
Another major change this year will be our bell schedule. We will now have a true nine period school day. This means that all students will have a full lunch period. There will no longer be any overlapping periods as we did in the past. Please note that this did not result in any significant loss of instructional time and the school day will begin and end as it did during the 2016-2017 year: 8:05 to 2:39 with extra help period ending at 3:20. However, the new nine period bell schedule will better serve the needs of students as it eliminates the confusion between Period 4A and 4B, 5A and 5B, 6A and 6B which overlapped. The change will also give teachers greater ability to collaborate in addressing your child’s needs and in meeting with you and the Instructional Support Team (IST) to discuss ways to better service students.
With regards to renewed emphasis, we will be tightening up on the students’ code of conduct and policies that have been in the students’ handbook but were not being given enough attention. The focus this year will be on cellphone policy and dress code policy.
Towards the beginning of summer, I was appalled to see some of the attire that students were wearing to school. I noticed that some females wore shorts that were more appropriate for the beach than school and sometimes clothing that were too revealing and leaving too much body exposed. Please take a look at the dress code policy in the students’ handbook and assist us in addressing this potentially uncomfortable subject. For safety reasons students will not be allowed to wear “hoodies” over their heads while in the building. It is imperative that we can always identify our students and the wearing of “hoodies” prevents us from always knowing who belongs in the building and who doesn’t. Please understand that this is for your child’s safety.
By far the biggest discipline issues we had to address last school year had to do with cellphone usage. Almost every student has a cellphone but not everyone knows how to use it appropriately. This was quite obvious to me last year. It has always been a district policy that cellphone usage in the building is restricted to before and after school, yet too many students were walking in the hallways in-between classes texting or using their cellphones in some other ways. This is a health and safety issue plus it contributes to students being tardy to classes thereby becoming a disruption to the educational process. I have even had to address students talking on cellphones in the hallway during instructional periods. This year students will not be allowed to use cellphones or any other electronic devices in the hallways. They may however use it in the cafeteria during their lunch period as well as before or after school but not to make phone calls. We do not want to see them. Please refer to the Section VII of the Secondary School Handbook regarding the use of electronic devices during school.
Our goal here at BKW is to provide your child with the best education while ensuring their safety and wellbeing as well as teaching them lifelong lessons. Please continue to assist us in this endeavor. Continue to have a wonderful summer. We are looking forward to working in partnership with you again during the 2017-2018 school year.
Mark A. Pitterson, Ed.D.
Principal, BKW Secondary School