Intermediate School News- Aug. 2018

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Parents, Grandparents, and all who love our HES students,

It has been on my heart and mind to write this letter for an entire week.  I’ve shut my office door and this is the moment… I’m going to get it done.  It might seem long but it is written with great pride.

I want to share what has been happening under our roof since I started working at the elementary school in July.  I walked into a school that had floors shined, carpets cleaned, walls wiped down, and a smiling cleaning crew who always asked if there was anything they had missed.  I looked out the (spotless) windows at beautiful grass playgrounds with freshly painted equipment.  The teachers were diligently creating fun learning environments- painting walls, wallpapering, painting tables to have whiteboard writable surfaces, and hauling in comfy reading chairs for students.   While they were working, they were anxiously anticipating their new students, designing better ways to rearrange their classroom, create more efficient schedules, and prepare themselves for our new one-to-one student iPads.  I often roamed the halls in the late evening to see the progress each teacher was making, and usually found at least two rooms with the lights on because the teachers wanted to get just one more thing done before they came back the next day.   I watched as our office staff began showing up and answering each call with a smile in their voice and helping new and returning families feel welcome in our school. (Smiling) Maybe most importantly, the cooks showed up, too!  Yay!  They got everything prepared and have served yummy breakfasts and lunches with smiles…

During the first two days, the teachers, aides and para-professionals worked HARD to get every name learned, establish routines, and develop a learning environment that also provided a caring, safe and positive atmosphere.  A few academic lessons took place but the main focus was to learn everything they could about each student. 

During the first full week of school, our students took several types of tests.  This is not the most fun week of the school year.  However, it is an important week.  The results of these tests show us what academic areas need more attention, less attention, and helps the teachers set goals for each student’s learning.  Reminder:  the teachers are continuing to get to know each child on an individual level.  As I watched this week unfold, I was so proud of how the teachers lead the students through a tough week and how the students responded.  Everyone worked together and the teachers and students made it look like an easy week… even with a few glitches. 

So… here we are, finishing up our second full week.  I can’t think of a better way to describe what it looks like from my perspective better than, “The entire staff is in their element and at the top of their game!”   Now is the time when the teachers can give you specific information about how to help your child at home.  Now is the time they can share their goals for your child.  Now is the time your students begin their year for success. 

I am not writing this letter for a “cause”.  I am writing this because I am personally humbled by the time, effort, expense, motivation, and love that our staff has for our school, community and mostly for our children.   I can say the same for our community as a whole.  Thank you to Nancy and Ted Bansemer and the huge number of volunteers that gathered backpacks, school supplies and donations for school supply lists.   Thank you to everyone who donated!  It was an extremely humbling experience, from my view.  To had a backpack that had been completely donated because a person cared to spend their own money for someone they didn’t know, to see the happy look on the child’s face because they would have every supply that the other students would have, and finally the look of gratefulness on the parent’s face.  It was awesome… with each backpack we handed out.  I am equally proud of the parents who brought their children to our “back-to-school” nights.  This was the first opportunity to create positive relationships between home and school.

Forgive my long letter but I truly hope the sentiment behind these words is apparent.  We live in a community that provides a caring place (school) with dedicated people at all levels.  Are we perfect?  No… but this letter is to share my birds-eye view of what a great thing we have going in Hugoton.  Please join me in finding a way to share our appreciation with the teachers, secretaries, cooks, office staff, custodians, aides & para-professionals.


Sonja Watkins

Intermediate School Principal