Greetings Bowman County parents, guardians and friends! Hasn’t this been the coldest winter ever, or is this something that we always say in February in the great state of North Dakota! Old man winter is stronger than ever, and we are having a true winter this year. The moisture is appreciated no doubt, as it has been extremely dry around here for a number of years. I believe it was the old satirist Mark Twain who stated, “Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.” Truer words were never stated, but the end of winter is near, April showers will bring May flowers and the end to another great year of school here at Bowman County Schools.
Currently we have been experiencing a great deal of success once again with our outstanding student athletes. Our Bowman County Wrestling team was the champions of our region in the team dual tournament and also won the region individual tournament which we hosted at Bowman County High School. These athletes went on to the state tournament in Fargo and came away with a 6th place finish. I am tremendously proud of these athletes. Our Girls Basketball team also had a highly successful year. Along with an outstanding regular season, our girls made it all the way to the championship game of the regional tournament for the second straight year. Our Boys Basketball program has had a very successful year. Tuesday night they will compete in a tournament “play-in game,” against New England. Our Science Olympiad students are competing each week as well as the Bowman County Speech competitors. Add to this our outstanding music and FFA programs, we sure have a lot of things going on, and a lot of success to be proud of. Believe it or not Boys and Girls High School track begins on Monday February 26th, with what I imagine the first workout being the old North Dakota event, championship snow removal from the track. As of the writing of this newsletter there is at least one foot of snow covering our track, and not many 70 degree days in the upcoming weather forecasts. Best of luck to our track athletes this spring!
On February 9th we had an early out day at Bowman County Schools. “Early-out” means the Bowman County K-12 students get out at 12:30 PM and our teaching staff has some professional development trainings from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM. The professional development staff training that occurred was on, “What to do when or if an active shooter were in our school building.” High School Principal Tyler Senn did an outstanding job coordinating this training with our staff. Bowman City Chief of Police Chuck Headley was also a part of the training and he addressed several items related to active shooters in a school setting with our staff. The Bowman County teaching staff went through a few live scenarios with a simulated active shooter in our school building and did a live practice of the information and incident protocol presented at this professional development in-service training. Our teaching staff did an outstanding job, was very engaged in this critical training. Future follow-up related trainings have been discussed and will be considered by our entire school staff and administration. Future student related trainings are also being planned.
Only 5 days later, following our February 9th early out staff professional development, on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2018 our country’s most recent school shooting event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida unfortunately happened. 17 students and staff lost their lives in this tragic event. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School staff had done several trainings regarding an active shooter. Their students had done several drills regarding an active shooter. Even with all of their trainings and drills, students and staff lives were lost. I am confident that because of their attentiveness to high quality staff in-service in regards to an active shooter, it saved countless student and staff lives. Bowman County Schools will continue to provide for our staff and students critical professional trainings regarding these types of unpredictable horrific events.
Bowman County Schools always puts student and staff safety as our highest priority in everything we do. When that Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida recent school shooting was all over the TV news on Valentine’s Day, it was an almost eerie feeling. We had just gone through this training with our staff and then bam, it happens to another school down in Florida. There are so many thoughts and feelings that have raced through all of us since this incident. Gun control, background checks, mental health access, among other major political issues and stances that are being debated and discussed. Another radical idea of having our schoolteachers armed with firearms to protect our students is being discussed and debated on all of the national news outlets and talk shows on the television and on social media. Make no mistake about how I feel about this, I feel that this would be about the absolute worst thing that we could do to protect our school children. Adding more guns to the equation would solve nothing, and more importantly has the potential to do more harm than good.
Our school board, our school administration and our staff will do anything we can to insure the safety of all of our students and staff each day at Bowman County Schools. We work each day to build relationships with all of our students, making sure that they know that our staff is there for them if they ever need any help. These years are supposed to be the best years of their lives, and we will make every effort to make sure each student knows how important they are, and we love working with them each day.
Finally, the school board did make the decision to move forward with preliminary planning of a new elementary school gym. Let me make this perfectly clear, the board has only approved the preliminary design phase of this project, up to and including the bidding process for all of the various contacting and sub-contracting bids associated with this type of construction project. What this means is that an architect will draw up all of the necessary documents to put this project out to bid. I hope that many contractors will draft bids on the various packages of construction work. The board will review all of the bids and then determine if the project remains affordable. If the project remains affordable in the opinion of our school board, then the school board alone will decide whether the new gym will be constructed. If this elementary gymnasium project becomes much more expensive than earlier projections indicated, then the school board can pull the plug on the project and either have the construction packages re-bid or decide not to build the elementary gymnasium project entirely. Many other significant processes related to the potential construction of this new elementary gymnasium are also needing attention and approval. This project needs the approval of the Bowman County Planning Board, the Bowman County City Commission and even approval from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction. Bowman County School District welcomes all constituent feedback and concerns regarding this potential construction project. Many hoops to jump through, many checks and balances are in place to protect the public from haphazard utilization of the public’s resources. I sincerely hope my newsletter finds all Bowman County Bulldog stakeholders in good health, safe and as happy as one could be. GO BULLDOGS!