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Getting involved

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It’s encouraging to see the number of parents who have been turning out, speaking out and getting involved in the effort to keep Bedford Primary School from being closed. They have expressed themselves well and have made some good arguments.

    It remains to be seen just what effect those efforts will have, but the fact that they’re getting involved is a good sign about their concerns for the education of their children. The fact is, whatever school the students end up at, the involvement of parents in their children’s education makes all the difference in the world. Yes, teachers play a major role, but parents provide the first and most important foundation for just how well students do in school.
    Parents must be involved.
    As for Bedford Primary, the support shown these past few weeks is a testament to the good job the teachers and administrators have been doing at that school. Parents spoke well of the care and concern given to their children by the staff. One story from last year, comes to mind.
    That involved a student whose father passed away unexpectedly in an accident. On the day it happened the mother of the child called the school for help. Several of the student’s teachers, along with Principal Wayne Lyle, came to their house and stayed with the student until he was tucked into bed that night.  “This is a very special community,” the mother said at that time. “It was incredible.”
    That came after the student, who has autism, had received an anonymous scholarship from someone at Bedford Primary to attend Camp CHILD in Lynchburg.
    Like many who have spoken this week, and by that family touched by the school last year, Bedford Primary’s work with special needs children has been touted. And so has the importance of having it remain as a community school, for all of its students.
    Nothing is final yet and funding might still be found to keep the school open. The reality, however, is the school system has less money and cuts must be made. This move has been on the table for some time. When the school board failed to approve money to put a gym at the school several years ago, the writing on the wall became clear. The gym should have been built then.
    Whatever the outcome when this year’s final budget is approved, BPS, through its staff, has made a difference in its community. That’s certainly something worth fighting to keep. But it’s also important that parents stay involved, wherever their children go to school.
    City School Board member Mickey VanDerwerker made this statement at the meeting held at the school last week, urging parents that, if the school is closed, to speak to their children positively about their move to Bedford Elementary. “Talk about it carefully, if it happens,” she said. “You don’t want the kids to get the message that it’s going to be an unhappy time.”
    That’s important to remember.
    Whether at the primary school or at Bedford Elementary, parents will lay the foundation for the type of education their children receive. The more they’re involved, both at home and at the school, the better it will be.