Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Comes Early to Beverly Park

Chatting with an enthusiastic student and his father

I recently attended the kindergarten family lunch at Beverly Park Elementary. What a great time!

I was principal of Beverly Park about ten years ago and working with the BP staff and families was one of the highlights of my career. One of the really great parts of the school was the kindergarten program. Teacher Richard Dunn, who taught kindergarten during my tenure and continues today, set an inclusive tone with students and families. The BP kindergarten classes at the time were innovative in piloting a national reading curriculum and did a wonderful job preparing their students for first grade.

Beverly Park kindergarten teachers and support staff
Today, Beverly Park has five kindergarten classes, and thanks to state funding that prioritizes communities with high need, those classes are full day, not half day. To build community with parents and family members, the Beverly Park kindergarten classes hold a monthly lunch with families. With the wide array of food crossing over cultures and the sense of unity between school and family, it really captures the spirit of Thanksgiving!

The day I was invited, more than one hundred parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters joined current kindergarten students. I cannot tell you how proud those little ones were to show off their classrooms! And we all know that strong bonds between schools and families help everyone.

Dozens of moms, dad, aunts, uncles and grandparents joined the celebration
I have always considered Beverly Park to be a hidden jewel in Highline. I still have some friends there, although I don't see them as often as I would like, and on my last visit I barely even got to say hi to Brenda, the office manager, let alone visit the rest of the school. I am grateful to Principal Kathy Emerick, who has taken the school to new heights since I left. And I enjoyed seeing Leslie Perry, who is filling in for Mrs. Emerick for a few months. Leslie was my principal when I taught at Hazel Valley and we are fortunate to have her back in the district for a few more months.

Mostly, it was the kids who made this a special day. Nothing beats the look on a kindergarten student's face, ready to learn. Making sure they get a great education is the best motivation for my job.

Beverly Park Elementary, at the old Glendale Jr. High site

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