Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Bagels and Locks

  On Tuesday-24-August the new Bogota Middle School hosted a “Bagels and Locks” for the inaugural Seventh Grade of the Middle School. The new Students were greeting at the front door, at 131 E. Ft. Lee rd, by Principal Dr. Erick Alfonso. Principal Alfonso shared a fist bump as he asked them their name, while welcoming them to Seventh Grade. The Students were escorted into the gym by a few High School Students who had volunteer to help with orientation.  Approximately 70 of the 100 members of the first class were able to attend. After a quick serving of bagels and juices, Principal Alfonso began the formal introduction. He told the Student about himself, and the teaching staff also taking part. While a few teachers will be new to the Students, one teacher has moved up from Steen School with last year graduates. 
    To start with Principal Alfonso explained that one of the main purposes of the Middle School is to prepare the young Women and Men here, for life when they go into High School. He told them that what is to be expected was not just the next step in learning, but to start the work of becoming a solid citizens. Principal Alfonso said he will hold the seventh graders to higher standard than in elementary school. They should become the model for their younger schools mates and each other. There will be a focus on learning discipline, and showing respect. And this is starting on this first day in the school. The respect of listening to whoever is speaking. This means himself as he is addressing the whole class. The Teachers in and out of the classroom, follow classmates, and most importantly their Family. Respect of where they are at and any given time. It was emphasized by letting the Students know they should keep the school clean. This means picking and throwing away trash, even if it not of their making. The discipline to wait their turn when wanting to talk, or ask a question. The  discipline to follow instructions and performing their best at all time.  
    Next Principal Alfonso had the Students pick up their course schedules. The school year will have the required classes of Math, Reading, Science, and Social Studies.  There also a number of different electives available. These consist of Computer Science, STEAM Through Time, Band/Choir, Dance Theory, and Fitness. Two new courses are now being offered at the Middle School. They are Advisory: this is an SEL based course geared toward providing students the skills necessary to live a balanced life and supersede the demands of everyday life. Some topics covered are organizational time-management, digital citizenship, and coping with loss/trauma. The second new course is BMS’s Career and Technical education course that will focus on career skills training that helps students become ready for high school, college, and the workforce. Its curriculum focuses on academic and technical skills used in various occupations. The goal at Bogota Middle School is to provide Students with the skills and tools necessary to effectively transition to High School and beyond. The Middle School is committed to creating resilience within the Students through rigorous curricular offerings that are relevant to today’s world.
  After the Students were assigned their locks. Principal Alfonso apoligzed to the Students who brought items that they could have placed in their lockers. Due to shipping delays the lockers, along with some chairs, and Cafeteria table had not yet been setup. The Students were told that when the lockers are available they will be sent notice and a time, before the start of classes, will be scheduled for them to access their lockers. 
  At this time the attendees were placed into groups and given a tour of the new school. All Seventh grade classes will be held on the second floor. All Sixth grade classes will be held on the first floor. The school cafeteria is located on the ground level. The tourists saw were the media center is located. They were also shown that the proximity of the Math and Reading classroom. This is important because those are a period and a half long. With these classes just across hall from one other the transition should  not interfere with the other classes. They then processed to the lowest level to see the size of the Cafeteria. During non-lunch hours the  Cafeteria will also be used for the Band and Choir classes.
   When the Students return to the gym they posed for a group photo as the Bogota Middle School class of 2022.
   They Bogota Middle School is in the building  of the former St. Joseph’s School. When the Newark Archdiocese closed St. Joseph’s, the Bogota Board of Education took advantage of this opportunity to use this space.  The Bogota Board of Education and the Archdiocese agreed on a five year lease for use of the building. One of the first plans was to turn it into a Pre-school centre for Bogota.  The cost of refurbishing the class room for this was to costly for a rental property. Another idea was to create the Bogota Middle School. It was decided to move the Sixth grade class from the Elementary Schools, and the Seventh grade class from the High School. This would allow for more room at Steen and Bixby to expanded their Preschool programs, and more class space at the High School for an expanded course availability.  As part of the lease St. Joseph’s Church will maintenance office space and rooms for their Faith based classes. 
   The Student would be known as the Junior Buccaneers. They will have a logo created that comprised both a Lady Buc, and Male Buc face in a Buccaneer head dress. And the primary logo would be a composite of the two. The Schools colours will be Bogota Purple and Bucs Gold. The entrance doors and signage on the first floor is a Bogota Purple field, with Bucs Gold lettering. The second floor signage would be the reverse with the Bucs Gold being the primary colour. The classroom have all been upgraded to include high speed internet connections, new painting on the walls, and an air-conditioning in each class room.  The gym still has the green from St. Joseph’s School, including the Centre Court logo. Superintendent Mr. Damian Kennedy has said that the gym will soon be painted to match the rest of the Middle School in the near future. This will include a Junior Buccaneers logo on the Basketball Court. He also said they are looking to move some of the Middle School sports to the new building, possibly starting with Basketball in the Winter.
  On Wednesday 25-August the new Sixth Grade Class will have their first opportunity to visit their new school. This will be very similar to the Seventh Grade tour, but more focus on the needs and goals for the younger Students. 

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