A Message for the Opening of School

From Dr. Manno, Superintendent of Schools

September 1, 2017

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Inspiring and Challenging Our Students

A message for the students

As a Dad, I also have four children returning to school this fall...well, not quite "children." Two are returning to college, one to high school, and one to middle school. Like many of you, some of my children are a bit anxious and nervous, some are excited and can't wait to get back in the school routine, and some haven't given it much thought yet. These and other feelings about going back to school are all quite normal.


Students, I'm going to give you the same advice I give my own children every year when they start school. Here are my four simple tips to getting off to a good start, and maintaining that success throughout.



  1. Be Positive - In anything you do, you have a simple choice - to be positive about it or not. Choosing to come to school with a positive attitude will make your time in school more satisfying and worthwhile. If you just simply have a hard time being positive, there are plenty of adults to talk to about it. First, you can talk to your parents or guardians. There are also countless teachers, staff members, counselors, administrators and others who genuinely want to serve you and make sure you have a good year. If you're having trouble staying positive, consider talking to a trusted adult. We want to help you.
  2. Set some goals for the year and write them down. The act of writing down your goals helps you commit to them. A goal might be to improve your math skills or to commit to getting extra help with your reading or writing skills. A goal might be to be more social and try to make new friends. Take the time to reflect on what you want to do differently or better this school year, and write those items down. With the help of Mom or Dad, even our youngest learners can do this.
  3. Find some fun in every school day. Think about what you really enjoy doing. It could be socializing with friends at lunch. It could be physical education class, music, art, or any another class. When you find that "thing" you like doing, notice it and really relish in it. When Mom or Dad ask you, "How was your day," you'll have something to say!
  4. Make someone's day! This, I think, is the most important. It's the spirit of serving others. Seek out someone who might not be having a great day, maybe someone who seems to not have anyone to sit with at lunch, or someone you simply don't know. Engage with that person and just be a friend or simply acknowledge them. Say hello and introduce yourself. Feeling noticed and cared about by someone else can make all the difference in another student's day. It will make you feel good as well.


I suggest if a number of our BCSD students just give these simple tips a try, you can make our schools a better place for you and your fellow students. What do you have to lose? Go for it - Be Positive, Set Goals, Have Fun, and Make Someone's Day! Consider it a challenge from Dr. M.!


I wish all our students a great start to the school year and positive learning experience all year.

A message for parents and guardians

Many years ago, I came across a beautiful story that I revisit from time to time to remind me why I do what I do. This message always grounds me in our values of "students first", "relationships and respect", "passion for learning", and "engagement" of students. I think you'll, too, enjoy it.


How Are the Children?

Adapted from Patrick O’Neill


Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty, lion-hunting Maasai. It is perhaps surprising then, to learn the traditional greeting that passed between Maasai warriors, "Kasserian Ingera," one would always say to another. In Swahili, this means, "And how are the children?" "Sepati Ingera!" one hoped to hear, “The children are well!”


It is still the traditional greeting among the Maasai, acknowledging the high value that the Maasai always place on their children's well-being. Even warriors with no children of their own would always give the traditional answer, "All the children are well." Meaning, of course, that peace and safety prevail, that the priorities of protecting the young, the powerless, are in place. That Maasai society has not forgotten its reason for being, its proper functions, and responsibilities. "All the children are well" means that life is good. It means that the daily struggles for existence do not preclude proper caring for their young.


I wonder how it might affect our consciousness of our own children's welfare if in our culture we took to greeting each other with this daily question: "And how are the children?" I wonder if we heard that question and passed it along to each other a dozen times a day if it would begin to make a difference in the reality of our children. I wonder if every adult among us, parent and non-parent alike, felt an equal weight for the daily care and protection of all the children in our community, in our town, in our state, in our country. . . I wonder if we could truly say without any hesitation, "The children are well, yes, all the children are well."


What would it be like . . . if every governing body started every session by answering the question, "And how are the children?" If every town leader had to answer the question at the beginning of every meeting: "And how are the children? Are they all well?" If the teachers and the administrators and the staff and the parents greeted each other in the halls and at meetings by asking, “How are the children?” What would it be like?


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Parents and guardians, as we start the school year, please know that the question, "And how are the children," is constantly in the forefront of our minds in every decision we make and every action we take. We consider your children our children. We are here, employed by the BCSD Board of Education, to serve you and your children. If you ever have a concern or "wondering," please never hesitate to contact the appropriate member of our BCSD team. Help us to be able to answer the question, "And how are the children of BCSD," and to be confident in our response.


I wish your children much success and joy in their learning this year.