Mr. Lay's Blog

Monday, November 12, 2018

I first want to take a moment to thank our many community members who have served and are currently serving our great country in the military. It is because of your servant hearts that we are able to have school each day in a free country, and that NO student can be denied a free and appropriate education in a public school. When you see our students, I hope you remind yourself that because of your service, they are able to attend a great school in a great community.

Our campus is blanketed by a beautiful cover of snow today. It's never an easy decision to determine whether it is safe to have school or not, but please know that the decision is always taken seriously. The safety of our students and families is always at the forefront of my mind. In the event that I must close school due to inclement weather, I will make a post on our district Facebook page. It will also be announced on all of the local television news stations. I try my best to make this decision before 6:00 a.m. since that is the time our first bus route leaves the parking lot.

A quick update of the bond issue projects. The water line was completed last month, and the final paperwork was sent to the Oklahoma State Fire Marshal. The next step is to release a bid package for the major construction and remodeling projects. The bid package will be posted on this website on the 2018 Bond Issue "The Progress" page. We expect to have the bid package out by the end of the month. We will see construction begin in early 2019.

I want to take a moment to discuss attendance. As you know, being present in school increases students' likelihood of being successful in their classes. We need your help making sure that your child is at school everyday. The Oklahoma Compulsory Education laws require that your children be in school, and the State Department of Education requires us to enforce those laws. Twice per year our Regional Accreditation Officer from the Oklahoma State Department of Education visits our school to do an audit of attendance records. These audits determine the amount of state funding we receive. When your child is absent or has excessive tardies, our average daily attendance decreases, which lowers a portion of our state funding. As you know, when state funding decreases, I'm forced to make tough decisions to decrease the services we provide students. The school and our students' families are partners in providing the best education possible with the resources we have. Your daily decision to ensure that your children attend school and arrive on time is crucial to us making BPS the best place possible.

Basketball and Wrestling seasons are about to begin. Please come and support our student athletes. If you would like a pocket schedule, we have them in the high school office, as well as a few businesses in town. I would like to thank the Barnsdall Chamber of Commerce for providing the schedules to us each year. Their support of and partnership with our school is much appreciated.

I hope you have a great Thanksgiving! We will be out of school next week, November 19-23, for you to be able to enjoy your family and friends during this holiday season. Have a great week, be thankful for the life you've been given, and we look forward to seeing your children when we return on Monday, November 26.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The school year is underway and we are busy establishing routines and learning what it means to be a Panther. Our staff has deemed this year as a "work in progress." When you visit the campus, you will see construction themes throughout the hallways and classrooms. We have an amazing staff who work hard to make our school an environment where kids are loved and valued.

Another project you may notice this year is our focus on "mindset." Our staff is undergoing 30 hours of professional development in which most of those hours are spent learning about how each person's established set of attitudes and beliefs shape the life he or she leads. You may notice posters and decorations around the school that promote a positive belief that every person can achieve success at a high level if they put in the work and believe that hard work pays off. In my junior high math classroom, you will see the "power of YET" ideas on the bulletin board. For example, when a student says, "I can't do this," I encourage them to add the word "YET" to the end of that statement. That powerful message is just one way we can begin to change our attitude to one of optimism about our ability to achieve.

If you have visited the campus, you have noticed the work of the bond issue is well underway. The four buildings that were chosen for demolition are now gone, and we will soon begin the work of installing the new water line for the high school fire suppression system. The water line bidding process was closed Thursday, August 30 at 2:00 p.m., and our board of education will award the winning bid at our September board meeting. We also have temporary fencing placed near the demolition sites to help us with crowd control during home football games. The fence has caused a few inconveniences with moving garbage dumpsters and navigating around some of the buildings, but our staff and patrons are dealing with it well. I'll continue to remind everyone that there will be several inconveniences caused by the construction, but we must keep our thoughts on the end results. You may follow the progress of the work by visiting the 2018 Bond Issue page on this website.

As always, if you ever have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me. I am in my office (at the elementary) most days after 11:00 a.m., since I am teaching two hours of math at the junior high. You may reach me in person, by phone at 918-847-2271 ext. 112, or by email at jlay@barnsdallschools.org. I will continue to ask that you please do not send me messages on Facebook, as I do not always see them in a timely manner. I know that several people see Facebook as the most convenient way to communicate, and I do respond when I can, but it's not the best method of contact, and I ask that you please do not get upset if I don't respond. Also, if you have any concerns or issues regarding students, you should always start with a teacher or staff member who is most directly involved with the student, then visit with the building principal if necessary, and finally contact me if you feel that I need to be involved. A chain of command is important for maintaining a respectful and professional school environment, and issues can be resolved more efficiently when it is followed.

Finally, thank you for being so supportive of our school. I am impressed daily by the community of Panthers who work so hard to make BPS a great place to learn! It's an exciting year of change and progress on campus, and I look forward to keeping you updated on the work. Until next time...GO PANTHERS!!