March 11, 2018
As you know we are in the process of reconfiguring our schools so that next year Brunson-Lee, Crockett and Griffith will be open to K-5th grade students and Balsz will become a stand-alone middle school for 6-8th grade students. To help with this transition our schools have been busy preparing for new students with important information for our families. We have an Open House scheduled on March 28 for students who will be changing schools. We will have all schools ready to welcome new families as they explore their options for next year. I have provided a copy of some of our marketing materials in the back of the board room. In addition, we have mailed personalize letters to all families from Balsz inviting them to visit and teachers will be communicating this information with parents during conferences this week. I want to thank all our teachers and staff who are working hard to help make this a smooth transition for our families.
The Balsz Elementary School District is pleased to offer a free full day kindergarten that nurtures and cares for children in a safe, secure and technology rich environment led by highly qualified teachers. We are offering two days where we will have extended hours to accommodate busy parents. On Wednesday, April 11 we would like to invite all interested parents to come and learn more about our amazing kindergarten and prekindergarten classes.
I am pleased to announce that at our board meeting in March 6 our governing board voted to rename former Balsz Elementary School as Pat Tillman Middle School. This comes as a culmination of the process to reconfigure our schools to create a state of the art middle school designed to meet the needs of our students to prepare them for high school, college and career. We are fortunate to have this opportunity, Pat Tillman is a true American hero and this decision brings great distinction to our district and our community. I would like to thank the Tillman Family and the Tillman Foundation for their support.
The safety and security of students and school personnel has been at topic of conversation around our country after the recent violence at a school in Florida. At Balsz we have had several conversations with our administrators to review our emergency response procedures. We have reviewed our procedures with experts at the state and national level and feel that we are as prepared as possible for an emergency. Our schools conduct regular drills to practice lockdowns in the event of an emergency. We also have several layers of protection in place at all schools. We have locked gates and badge readers at all entrances and have limited public access to schools through the front office. In addition we have cameras in place at locations around the campus to monitor activity 24 hours a day. We are also in the process of adding a Lobby Guard kiosk in each front office. This is a system that instantly checks the identification of visitors and issues a visitor pass to guests. We will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to provide review procedures to provide a safe secure environment at all our district facilities.
Lockdown Communication Factsheet
At times schools may be asked to lock down their campus due to an emergency in the area or on campus. We have been working diligently to refine procedures for schools in the event of an emergency. These procedures include locking down the campus and communicating with families and the public. To help our parents and the public to have up to date information we have published a fact sheet regarding our procedures for communicating with families. This fact sheet is available on our website.
Future Chefs Completion
At our March governing board meeting we were pleased to have 8 students who created and prepared a recipe. The Future Chefs Contest allowed participants to earn prizes and the winner will now move on to a regional compaction. Thank you to Sodexo for making this opportunity possible for our students.
From March 19-23 our schools will not be in session due to spring break. Our district offices will also be closed that week. I want wish every a well-deserved and restful break and we enter the final quarter of the school year!
Thank you this concludes my remarks for this month.