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Barkley Bridge turns 20

A Hartselle elementary school began marking its 20th birthday during the spring semester and has made plans to continue celebrating in the upcoming 2015-2016 school year.

Barkley Bridge Elementary School began celebrating the occasion earlier this year with exhibits to visually show the school’s past. BBES parents Tanya Simmons and DeAnne Maxson designed a timeline for the school’s hallway, which included facts about the school and news articles from special occasions. Yearbooks from each school year were also displayed in the school.

Another way that the school marked the occasion was through anniversary T-shirts, which included a tree with school supplies to represent growing children and the number 20 with a cog-shaped zero to represent the Science Technology Engineering and Math initiative. Along with the visual elements of the birthday celebration, though, BBES Principal Susan Hayes said they are also using this time for students, faculty and staff to think seriously abut education at Barkley Bridge.

“Overall, the celebration has been a time to reflect on our accomplishments and on our areas where we need to grow,” Hayes said. “As a staff, we are excited about the opportunities our new programs and standards are bringing our children, and we feel fortunate to be part of a community that values education.”

In May, the school’s monthly theme was “What have you done with the dash?” to allow teachers to examine if they had given their best to leading students over the past 20 years and to allow the students to reflect upon if they had given their best to learning during the 2104-2015 school year. When asked what was the most important thing BBES had accomplished during the past 20 years, Hayes said it was difficult to choose.

“It is hard to choose just one thing because there have been so many changes in education over the past 20 years,” Hayes, who has served as the BBES principal for the past 13 years, said. “If I had to choose one, though, I would say that earning the National Blue Ribbon award was important because it gave us confidence in our instructional practices and helped us to move forward and grow. Some people might think the award marked an arrival, but it actually presented us with the challenge to stay there, which requires constant growth.”

The school has also asked former students, parents and teachers to participate in their time of reflection. They have asked anyone who was connected to the school in 1995 to share their favorite memories, which can be submitted to the school through letter, email or fax.

In looking to the future, Hayes announced that BBES’ theme for the year 2015-2016 school year will be “What’s your 20?”. They are encouraging their students and faculty to think about their goals for the next 20 years and consider how they are accomplishing that goal. Hayes shared her main goal for the students at Barkley Bridge over the next 20 years.

“I want our students to be masters of their own learning,” she said. “The world is growing and changing quickly, and it is impossible to anticipate the skills a 5-year-old student will need in the future. However, the more in charge you are of your own learning, the better you can adapt. The children need tenacity and good problem-solving skills. We are looking forward to the next 20 years.”