Our vision statement focuses on "developing the whole child," but do we really believe that? I think we do, collectively. I know I do, and I see and hear things every single day throughout the halls and classrooms of BES that leave no doubt in my mind that our staff believes this as well. I could provide multiple examples of how Belwood teachers and staff members go above and beyond to make sure students know they are cared about, that we are happy to see them at school, and that their needs are important to us. There is one student in particular I could brag on for days, as he has come so far this year all because his teacher makes sure he knows he is loved every day when he walks in and again before he gets on the bus. Not only has this student's behavior dramatically improved, but his attendance is better, and his academic performance is better as well. There are many other examples of students that have risen above unfortunate circumstances because of the efforts of our staff and their desire to help these kids not only become better students, but become better people as well.
One of the most difficult parts of my job is knowing the various needs and situations that many of our students experience on a daily basis. We have students from low-income families where parents are doing all they can just to make ends meet. We have students with parents going through a divorce and are trying their best to maintain a sense of normalcy for the kids. We have students that have just lost a loved one and struggle to understand the concept of life and death. We have students with parents in the military who go weeks and months at a time without seeing mom or dad. And, unfortunately, we have students that simply do not have a good home life. It is situations like these and many more that further reinforce my belief that we must do everything possible to not only teach our students basic academic skills, but we must also be sure that we are not getting so caught up in their learning needs that we forget about their emotional needs.
As important as this issue is, we cannot do it alone within the school. We must form better relationships with our parents and our families so that we can work together to make sure our students are emotionally healthy as well as academically sound. At the end of the day, these kids are just that--kids. It is our job to build a strong foundation for them in order to be successful later in life, and it is my sincere hope that we can do this in partnership with parents and families within our community. This is the only way we can truly make Belwood a place "where kids are loved, and kids love to learn."
If you have thoughts or suggestions on how we can do a better job in meeting our students' (and their families') needs, please don't hesitate to contact me. I welcome your feedback and look forward to the opportunity to work with you in making Belwood an even better school for the sake of our students and our community.
Belwood Elementary School