Thursday, June 7, 2012
The Bear Creek School Experience, Year 1
As with any new building, the start of the school year posed some challenges with busing and a strange odor that caused school to be canceled for one day. And, as district Superintendent Michele Balliet, likes to say, that doesn't account for epic flooding that closed school for a day in September and a freak late-October snowstorm.
After sorting through the challenges, I think Bear Creek found its legs and took off running. At least that's been our son's experience. We have found teachers and staff to be friendly and professional. More important, they have progressively provided more challenging opportunities -- in reading, math and trombone lessons and band -- for our son without our urging. He has responded well to the challenges. In my mind, that's what public school is all about.
Now, let me say that this has been one family's experience with one student. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section about your experiences -- good, bad or indifferent. Given that Bear Creek has 900-some students, I'm sure every family has a slightly different take.
During Bear Creek's planning stages, Borough Council went on record as opposing the location of the school. The primary reason was because there was no walking connection and that the vast majority of students would be bussed there. We were concerned about increased traffic from buses and the dozens of parents who would be dropping off and picking up their students each day. The school district did construct a walking path that connects Bear Creek to the E-town Fairgrounds (which the district owns).
Generally, I think everything has worked well. That said, there's one improvement I'd like to see. Mount Joy Township should widen Bear Creek Road road and install sidewalks at least on one side. Until I started dropping off my son early a few mornings a week, I never realized just how many pedestrians use the road. I've encountered dog walkers, runners, exercise walkers and bicyclists. I've run a number of times there myself. Given the sheer volume of traffic and the pedestrians, it would be a boon to safety to make these improvements.
So now I'll pose the question to you: What improvements would you like to see at Bear Creek School now that it's a year old?