By Nathan Thompson
of the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise
Faculty and staff of the Bartlesville Public School District gathered Monday morning to get excited about the upcoming school year during a Back to School Rally held at the Fine Arts Center on the campus of Bartlesville High School.
To kick off this year’s event, BPSD employees were treated to a light breakfast in the newly completed Commons Area before moving into the FAC auditorium for the rally. Performances by the Bruin Brigade, Color Guard, pom and cheer squads were followed by awards and a special guest — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister, who was the keynote speaker for the event.
Hofmeister said she was proud to share the day with some of the best educators in the state and nation.
“It is my honor to surrounded by some of the hardest working people here in your district, and here in our state. Your dedication is truly awe-inspiring. Today is a time to look to the future and celebrate with you the accomplishments this year as individuals and also as a group,” Hofmeister said. “As your State Superintendent of Public Instruction, I could not be more proud of the commitment that you have made to those precious people in your classroom.”
Hofmeister was also on hand to present a special award to the entire Bartlesville district. The BPSD was recognized as the only “Model District” by Great Expectations, an intense professional development program that provides teachers and administrators with the skills needed to create harmony and excitement within the school atmosphere, elements that are basic for inspiring students to pursue academic excellence.
“That recognition is known throughout the country. In a very special recognition, I would like to take a moment to … recognize that the Bartlesville Public School District is the only district in the country that is a Great Expectations district, and to that I want to applaud you,” Hofmeister said. “Congratulations to all of you. I know what it is like to walk into a classroom that is a Great Expectations classroom, but to walk into a district that is a Great Expectations district is truly inspiring, and that is something I would like to see replicated throughout our state.”
According to BPSD Superintendent Dr. Gary Quinn, the results of the high performance of the district are not only changing the lives of students, but encouraging the community to entrust the school system to continue building on excellence through the massive construction projects throughout the district. Quinn said now that the school system has begun the process of building on excellence, it is time to move forward to “Achieving Greatness,” which is the theme for this year.
“Truly, you are working hard to help us achieve greatness. Within the Bartlesville Public School District we are continuing building toward a better tomorrow and a brighter future for each and everyone of our students. Evidence of that can be seen in the construction projects that are going on throughout our school district,” Quinn said.
Hofmeister agreed, noting the construction projects and academic programs of the BPSD are known for the excellence.
“Here in Bartlesville, the frame of construction of this campus is nearly complete, which is really exciting. Now it is time to build the interior — your students,” Hofmeister said. “That starts with you as educators. You’ve already proven what you can do, and what you can offer young people. With your seniors being awarded $3.3 million in scholarships last year, there is no question you are inspiring them to achieve. I’m asking you to stand together, work together and to continue to be a model for our state. This year I want you to work on ways to engage more than you ever have before. … There is nothing more worthwhile than education.”
Additionally during the rally, Truity Credit Union presented the BPSD with a check for $7,116.95 as a result of their Bruin debit card program. Quinn also recognized two teachers as “Rookies of the Year,” a special award that rewards first-year teachers from the previous school year. Ashley Harris Evans of Jane Phillips Elementary School and Gretchen Watson of Bartlesville High School received the awards.