School is in Session!

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Husfelt 2020Bill Husfelt, Superintendent, Bay District Schools

By the time you read this, we will have welcomed more than 26,000 students back to school for the 2022-2023 school year. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we’re hoping for the most amazing, most NORMAL school year ever!

There has been much in the news recently about the state of education across the country and many people stop me when I am out and about to ask what they can do to help. So, I thought I’d use this space this month to give you some ideas.

Business Partners
Multiethnic Mixed Race Pupils Classmates Schoolchildren Students Standing In Line Waiting For Boarding School Bus Before Starting New Educational Semester Year After Summer HolidaysAll of our schools need 5-10 (depending upon the size of the school) business and faith-based partners upon whom they can count in times of need. Business partners can help the school by sponsoring students who need help with clothing or by providing snacks the school can use for students who are hungry. Faith-based partners can assist by helping the school in those ways and by meeting the needs of families outside of the school setting. For example, if a student is always tired at school because he/she doesn’t have a bed and is sleeping on the floor, a faith-based group (or business) could step up to purchase a bed for that student. We have needs like this in ALL of our schools EVERY SINGLE DAY and they are needs that we cannot fulfill alone.

Currently, we send home more than 1,500 bags of food EVERY WEEKEND to students who would otherwise be hungry on Saturdays and Sundays because they rely on meals at school. One hundred percent of this food is provided by local faith-based organizations, individuals and area non-profits. We’re grateful for their support but, to be candid, 1,500-plus bags of food still leaves some children unserved.

If your business, or faith-based group, would like to partner with a school, just send an email to BDScomm@bay.k12.fl.us telling us a little about your group/organization and where you are located and we will get you matched with a school in need. You can do as little or as much as you would like from there.

Mentors
We have almost 400 children on waiting lists throughout the district for mentors. Many of our students come from homes where both parents are working two or more jobs just to make ends meet, or where only one parent is doing ALL of the work, and they are desperate for more attention, more focus and more support than their families can currently provide. That’s where you come in. For a minimum commitment of 30 minutes twice a month YOU can give a student the one-on-one attention he/she desperately craves and YOU can change the life of that child. Mentoring can be as simple as listening, reading to or with a student, helping a student problem solve, working on an academic struggle or just having lunch together. If you’re interested in mentoring, email us at BDScomm@bay.k12.fl.us and tell us a little about yourself and the age range of students you feel most comfortable with and we will get you matched to the right program.

Thank you, in advance, for doing what you can to support our struggling students. We have all faced struggles in our lives but our children, our most fragile citizens, are counting upon us to help alleviate their struggles.

If every person in our community did SOMETHING and every business and faith-based group connected with a school the change would be remarkable. A community-wide focused investment in education would pay significant dividends when it comes to the health, well-being and achievement of our students.

Stay safe and God Bless!