School on the Move
The Bobcaygeon Local February 19, 2010
By Lisa Dever
There is a lot to celebrate at Bobcaygeon Public School these days. First of all, BPS has been nominated as a “School on the Move” by the Ontario Ministry of Education. The annual award acknowledges thirty of the top schools in Ontario for “sustained progress in student achievement”. The criteria used in the selection process included EQAO data, School Program Emphasis, Teaching/Learning Strategies, Mathematics and Networking Experience.
In March a representative of BPS will travel to the Sheraton Centre Hotel in Toronto to attend the Garfield Weston Awards for Excellence in Education. This is due to the fact that BPS made the short list in the category of “Determination in Academic Achievement” for the annual awards. According to the Weston Awards website, “This award recognizes school teams whose unparalleled dedication to teaching ensures their students succeed academically regardless of the fact that these students may not have access to the same resources as others. Only those schools where the average parental income is in the bottom 25% of the province and which showed the strongest academic performance over the last five years were considered for this award.”
I got to wondering just how BPS went about achieving these honours and asked school principal Phil Baker if I could visit the school and experience a day in the life of BPS. Mr. Baker’s a pretty friendly sort of fellow, and said yes.
The day I chose to spend at BPS was last Friday. It turned out to be the day selected for the first ever Bobcaygeon Public School Olympics. After weeks of planning by BPS librarian Monica Poole, the time was right for a memorable day of fun and challenges.
Once the children have arrived and stowed their gear on their hooks or in their lockers, the day begins. I began the day in Mrs. Oliver’s grade seven classroom. Nothing happens until Mr. Baker makes the daily announcements and the bilingual anthem is played. Some students sing along to the anthem and some don’t. Birthdays were announced and some updates on the day’s activities were supplied.
Mrs. Oliver took the classroom attendance and then reviewed the schedule for the day. Each student had previously been assigned to a team. Each team was comprised of students from all grades and represented a country normally participating in the Olympics. Students were excited about the upcoming games and loyal to their teams.
The opening ceremonies were scheduled to begin at 10:30 sharp. That allowed me a little time to wonder around the school and poke my head into several classrooms. In Mrs. McLeod’s class students were exchanging Valentines and rehearsing the speeches they would be presenting next week. In the Library, Mrs. Poole was going over some last minute instructions with the grade eight team leaders. Outside teachers and students were setting up for the games.
The Olympic teams convened in the gym right on schedule. Each team marched into the gym proudly waving their flag. The opening ceremonies included an inspirational video “Believe”, the anthem and the Olympic Oath. The ceremony was short and professional and moved the kids outside quickly. Nobody wanted to stand around in their snow gear. They were raring to go!
The BPS Olympics consisted of seven stations. Each team competed at a station and then moved on to the next. Scores were tallied after each game, with three points going for a win, two points for a tie and one point for participating.
As the teams made their way through the stations, there was a lot of cheering and clapping. Stations included a biathlon, skiing, luge, bobsled, curling, hockey and even a hot chocolate table. I made my way around to each station, taking photos and talking to the children. Without question, the two most popular events were the bobsled and the luge. Hockey was a close second though.
At the end of the day, the student body convened once more in the gym for the closing ceremonies. Winners were announced and prizes awarded. A slide show of photos of the day’s events was played to the Olympic theme music “Believe”.
All in all, it was a most impressive day. I was impressed by the positive attitude of the children, the commitment of the staff and the harmonious atmosphere in the school. Everywhere I went, I saw teachers showing enthusiasm and students working and playing well together.
It’s no wonder that BPS has achieved recognition by the province and the Weston Foundation. The students are well behaved, responsive and eager and the staff seem truly committed to providing a positive environment for all.