We are Baker Strong
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We are Baker Strong


A Sunday morning fire at Baker
elementary school off Wilson Road in Henrico’s East End. It was difficult
finding the seat of the fire once I was located the fire was quickly
extinguished smoke and water damage which means they won’t be open tomorrow
Tuesday and school administrators are exploring all options right now on how
the school will move forward so when I arrived on seeing dr. Kinlaw was there
the county manager was there and so we just stood there for a second and said
okay so what’s our next steps so immediately we know that at minimum
students were not going to be in school the next day and that we would have to
have immediate contingency plans to continue with instruction if students
were going to be out of school beyond two days so on Sunday as the fire was
being extinguished we’re looking at student capacities of all of our schools
to see what type of flexibility what type of capacity exist and it was
determined that Mehfoud and Varina number one locality of it was close to
Baker and that number two we thought they could support enough classrooms and
then we had to discuss how to do with pre-k and the federal program and so it
was determined that Newbridge would be the best location I was up here at
school by about 10:30 walking building marking classrooms deciding what needed
to be moved and getting ready to turn those classrooms over We had to go to the schools
that were being proposed for relocation we had to assess the facilities
determine which rooms could be made available where teachers we need to move
if they were spaces where people had to unoccupied and relocate art and music
comes onto the cart now so they’re travelling my speech teacher of T my
guidance counselor people that didn’t have actual classrooms of kids willingly
gave up their classrooms our stem lab places like that we have gone from
almost doubling the amount of students and staff in our school but it’s been
incredible the amount of support and people willing to help out we had
probably 20-30 people is coming in here swinging out rooms cleaning supplies
whatever we asked for it was provided and it was just the team coming together
and making it happen. we got the staff together and inform them of where we were at it
was definitely emotional that they just were a family
and it was emotional time but then we quickly got back up we processed the
teachers were allowed to go back to visit Baker for about a half an hour and
they were told specifically what items they could bring out so they really
walked out with nothing but maybe a computer or something that they could
wipe down but the kids walked out with nothing so everything that they left at
school on Friday is still there they you know didn’t skip a beat they we give
them time to reflect and process and then we said okay the the wind blew it
this way let’s change our sails and we went to mehfoud and Varina This is a nice room too. Oh good you have a Prometheam Board!
morning meeting needs to be longer we I can’t imagine the thoughts and processes they’ve gone through of having to come
to a brand new school with hardly anything so we wanted to open up the
school make it as welcome as possible we had a faculty meeting with with the
Baker teachers in the Varina teachers and it really showed that even though
it’s two different schools we all are My biggest concern going into this was to make sure the community felt safe and understood what happened
and I wanted my parents to know that we were going to take care of their kids
and we want to nurture and love their kids like we always do once we are given the direction that
that’s how it was going to go we went from there and started really building
two schools in a matter of a day and a half when usually we have the summer to
do that we realized that that we were impacting the staff of both schools that
we provided the technology from Baker so we’ve got copiers from Baker so we’re
not impacting the copier use we’ve got a printer in every classroom so that we
don’t have to go share printers they’ve got their own towels their own calves
they’ve basically got what they had at their old school so the impact to the
staff here should be very minimal we plan to offer safe and efficient
transportation to our Baker students just as we have all school year they’re
just going to have a slightly longer ride vast majority of kids will have the
same driver on the same bus so that familiarity should be definitely in
place and we hope that it will be a smooth transition. We realized pretty quickly that the kids and the parents maybe initially thought the students
were going to lose their teacher and that there’d be a collaborative kind of
setting new teacher new school but once they realize their teacher would be with
them that they’d have their own classroom all fell into place that was
the part that was emotional when the kids realized that they would have their
teachers and they see the same administrative staff Ms Kennedy,
Ms. Harris, mr. Horth dr. hardy wouldn’t be around in both schools it became
something that they knew would be okay and we saw that in their face so right in front oh okay today has been absolutely wonderful it’s
a wonderful experience to be here the kids are excited because they’re in a
new place and the principle of a failure so happy
to welcome all our bakers Piper morning we all came to the auditorium for our
morning meeting we’ve had breakfast already they are going to continue to
get the same meal the same menu items they’ll have basically the same
procedure when they get off the bus or when they go to class but our staff is
ready to serve them and make sure that they’re fed and get back to class to
learn ammonia remember can I’m a lot of Union ended County so it’s not if we
offend your feet and your toes in your book by on your hearing so I want to
just talk with me about how you’re feeling so we’re all back together again
right how cool is that you know I’m going to put one box there the colors know what did they do one last thing now
we can we will we are think you’re strong

About Earl Carter

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