A core value at Buck Mountain Central School is to “respond to challenges by modelling resiliency”. This year seems like the ultimate test of this value, which is not unlike the experience of schools across the province, country, or even on a global scale. We are taking this opportunity to spotlight the school staff who model resiliency day-in and day-out for the benefit of all of those with who we work.
At BMC, we lead from the heart with pride and commitment to each and every student. This is what students see in the morning as they enter a pristine school (thanks to our dedicated custodial staff) and are greeted by name by the staff, with the smell of fresh baking wafting through the halls from the breakfast program (thanks to Mrs. Clague and Mrs. Miller). This is what students feel when they are in classrooms. Daily intentions are set and mindfulness inspired with our daily Indigenous teaching (courtesy of Mr. Caron) and students are invited to take part in a smudge if they choose. At Buck Mountain Central, we work to ensure that the change we are experiencing is not overshadowing all of the great experiences that are cultivating new learning, potential, and growth this school year. This is no small feat, one in which BMC staff navigate each day, with resilience, showing students the path forward in viewing this change as an opportunity.
Beginning in September, teachers learned of the unique new quarter schedule, which challenged them to think deeply about planning for learning during longer hours and more concentrated timelines. Teachers demonstrated patience and flexibility as students also adjusted to the new system, ultimately exceeding the expectations which have students and parents asking for the quarter system to remain for the 2021-2022 school year.
Beyond the schedule itself, which presented all sorts of new challenges as teaching assignments changed to reduce classroom cohorts and close contact potential, teachers were confronted with new systems to allow for students to access their lockers, transition classes, lunchtime routines, all the while leaping from classroom to classroom -- all resources in tow! While all of these things independently are manageable, the disruption to our typical school and classroom routines challenged staff to be even more agile and understanding. This is ongoing and we are consistently impressed by staff composure, positivity, and selflessness as we navigate this ever-changing landscape.
In addition to acknowledging our teachers, it is equally important that our educational assistants, custodial staff, administrative assistants, Family School Liaison, Indigenous Support Worker and substitute teachers are also celebrated. When you hear the phrase “not all superheroes wear capes”, this is who we think about at BMC. For every change made in the classroom, there is a domino effect for the people in these roles. We are grateful for the support, generosity, and resiliency of these individuals at BMC -- thank you!
When it was announced that teachers in Grade 7-12 would be transitioning to learning from home for January and following the holiday break, school staff tackled it head-on, modelling for students how to continually show up, do your best, and be flexible -- even when the WIFI is acting up! During this time BMC, saw a minimal reduction in overall attendance (-3%) which is a testament to the work done by school staff to ensure students stayed engaged in their learning.
Moving into the New Year, our school community experienced mounting stress and anxiety for the return of in-person learning. School staff meticulously and intentionally acknowledge each students’ needs as they re-entered our school and classroom doors. Mustang Pride surged through the halls as even the presumed most unlikely students were glad to be back in school again.
The relationships that BMC students share with staff is undeniable; it forms the foundation of all that we do together.