J.R. Arnold High School Shines

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Husfelt 2020By Bill Husfelt,
Superintendent, Bay District Schools

“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”
– Marian Wright Edelman

I have often said that a rising tide lifts all ships when it comes to our schools and what I mean by that is that our schools don’t make our students successful, actually our students make our schools successful.

And nowhere is that more evident than at our schools on the beach and particularly at J.R. Arnold High School.
Senior Walk 1Senior Walk 3J.R. Arnold High School has the distinction, and privilege, of being the beach’s only high school and in that capacity, the school draws from an incredibly diverse and supportive community. The beach is, essentially, an old-fashioned “one horse town” when it comes to the high school experience and that’s evident when we look at the community support for Arnold and its students and staff.

Since 2002, J.R. Arnold High School has almost always maintained an “A” or a “B” rating from the Florida Department of Education and that, in and of itself, is simply commendable.
It’s hard to quantify all of the calculations that go into developing a school grade but, suffice to say, students from all socio-economic backgrounds must be achieving and making significant academic gains for a school to earn an A or a B rating. When you consider the incredible challenges our community has faced in the past three years, and the fact that J.R. Arnold was the site of the county’s longest running emergency shelter after the hurricane, those accomplishments seem even more incredible. Our Arnold students and their families were absolutely amazing after the storm and everyone just pitched in to do whatever they could to make the double sessions at Surfside Middle School work while that was our only option. I know that we’re all praying we never, ever have to do that again!

Senior Walk 2If you’ve attended any sporting event at Arnold you can also easily see the level of community support the school has. Stands are always crowded with a plethora of students, parents and community members and there’s also significant attendance when teams compete or play out of town.

You simply can’t place a dollar value on that kind of support and commitment but it’s definitely something we don’t take for granted and it’s something we appreciate.

I certainly encourage all beach parents to begin investing at Arnold regardless of the grade level of your students. Students need to understand what comes next in their education and there’s no better way to make sure your future Marlin is set for success than by involving him/her as often as you can in our high school events. We’d love to see stands full of future Marlins at an upcoming football game and we’re sure your students would find our version of “Friday Night Lights” pretty exciting. And the energy from stands full of excited fans really contributes to the experience our student athletes have while competing.

Likewise, our high school students make sure they give back as they can and one of the most memorable ways they do that is with our Senior Walks. Days before graduation, our seniors dress up in all of their graduation regalia and visit their beach elementary and middle schools so students can see them and catch a glimpse of graduation and all of the accompanying pomp and circumstance. The senior walks are also a chance for our graduates to find some of the influential teachers from their earlier years and to thank them for their investment, support and encouragement.

All of our schools on the beach are simply amazing and they are accomplishing great things with our students thanks to hard-working and passionate educators and support employees and because of the incredible support from parents and guardians.

Thank you for everything you continue to do to support our beach-side students and I look forward to seeing you at an upcoming Arnold Marlin event.

Stay safe and God Bless!