Dr. Bill Atwood

Private school quality at public school rates

During the next couple of weeks the local school bells will be ringing and the kids will be filing into their new classrooms to begin another school year.

The 2018 senior classes at Yosemite, Glacier, Minarets, and Mariposa high schools will be enjoying their final 180 days of public education while the kindergarten classes will be the starting point for the graduating class of 2030. I sure hope when school administrators and school boards are making decisions they remember the span of the years of each different class.

At this point in our history we now have students who were not alive when the Twin Towers fell. That is a day in the history books to them and not a remembered current event.

The students in the schools will learn lessons about science, language, mathematics, history, music, art, culture, civics, sports, computers, and critical thinking. They will be taught to handle success and failure and they will be challenged to reach further than they think they can.

There will be failures and that is expected. Parents need to understand that children learn from failures and disappointments. Edison failed more than 1,000 times trying to build an electric light bulb. Columbus wasn’t looking for this continent when he bumped into it. Mark Zuckerberg was looking for a way to meet girls at college when he used somebody else’s idea to create Facebook. He had failed in his other attempts.

Parents need to send the kids to school each day well rested, and well prepared with supplies. The child needs a healthy breakfast and lunch. Many kids need a healthy snack in the morning and parents need to make arrangements for those meals. Schools have programs to help with the meals if needed.

Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and community members need to understand that each teacher needs things in the classrooms that the state budget doesn’t cover. Ask a teacher or principal what they need. Many a school classroom supply is purchased by the teacher out of their own pocket simply because they see the need and see that there isn’t a funding stream.

Oakhurst Elementary School Principal Kathleen Murphy has a Bike Buddy program. Ten to 15 folks each year are needed to cover the cost of a new bike to be given at the end of the year to a hard working student. If the kid already has a bike then gift cards for book purchases are substituted. For $100 a bike that helps motivate a student to do better seems like a great deal to me. I’ve been a Bike Buddy for a few years now as have some of my friends. It’s a great investment in the future.

There are needs such as that at every single school in the area. Call the school and ask what they need.

As we drive around town we need to be aware that the kids are walking to and from their campuses and they don’t always pay attention. I know when we were kids our parents probably sat with their friends and marveled how we followed all the rules, laws, and regulations. So when driving let’s be extra attentive to the fact that the little ones are distracted and the older ones just aren’t looking.

Get ready for Back to School Nights, school fundraisers, concerts, drama productions, sporting events, and other school related activities. It is important that the kids see involved parents and a supportive community.

We have great schools in our local areas. I tell folks, “Private school quality at public school rates.”