I think back to July and August 2019. We looked forward every day to the opportunity to move into our new secondary building. Teachers were ready to move in and make their room their own. Finally that day came. With the help of many students and community members, we made the move.
Over the next few months, there was more to look forward to. Students learning procedures for the new building. Cooking in a new kitchen. Eating in a new cafeteria. A little later came the opportunity to open our gym. What a night. We inaugurated our new gym with a win. We moved the library to the new building and everything was nearly complete.
We began the spring semester working hard in the classroom preparing for everyone’s favorite STAAR tests! The high school UIL academic meet was “right around the corner.” Our 4th - 8th graders attended the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) Carnival the first week of March. We were steaming toward a tremendous finish to a year that would put Bluff Dale on the map and make it “THE place to BE.”
Today, I look down the hall of our secondary building and all I see are shiny floors and one trash can. It is a lonesome place nowadays. Teachers are doing most of their work at home and students are doing all of theirs at home. Those of us that are still here practice social distancing and look forward to the day that our students will again crowd our hallways and fill our classrooms with the sound of learning.
I am very proud of the work that Mr. Berngen and the teachers are doing to provide remote learning for our students. It is a rewarding business, but not without risk. As we venture into this new world, we have done some wonderful stuff. We have made mistakes, learned from them, and then make others. When we started this journey, I set three standards: 1. Keep the assignments engaging and rigorous. 2. Grace before grades. 3. Communicate, communicate, communicate. Our teachers have accepted the challenge to change their work and to utilize new tools. We will continue to improve and make Bluff Dale ISD the place to be, even when you are at home.
At this point, we still do not know how our year will end. Although I hold out hope for our students returning in May, we simply do not know. A few things I do know… we will continue to work toward our students’ success whether here or at home. One way or another, we will have graduation. It may be online or in the parking lot, but our seniors have worked too hard for too long to not have the opportunity to celebrate.
We have missed a few things this spring. We skipped the STAAR and the world kept turning! We lost a track and baseball season. What we miss most is our students. One of these days, COVID-19 will be behind us. Students will be back. That day cannot come soon enough. But for now, stay home, stay safe, and take care of one another.