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Another thank you to community leaders
tour bces principal
Bryan County Elementary School teacher Debbie Laing talks about her school with community leaders Jean Owens, a former teacher, Pembroke Librarian Paul Weinberger, Pembroke city representative Ricky McCoy and Chris Sapp, president of the BCES PTO, during a tour Thursday of North Bryan Schools. Last month, community leaders got an up close look at the schools in South Bryan. - photo by Jeff Whitte
School Superintendent Dr. Sallie Brewer welcomed community leaders and others involved in the community to Lanier Primary to a tour of North Bryan County schools Thursday.
  The tour of three groups walked through each of the four north end schools - Lanier Primary, Bryan County Elementary, Bryan County Middle School and Bryan County High School. It was a thank you to supporters of the Board of Education and school staff in maintaining the high quality of Bryan County schools, she said.
 “We don’t, however, think the board, superintendent, teachers, principals or other staff members do it all by ourselves. We know we don’t, and we’re glad that we don’t,” Brewer said. “We have the support of county agencies and community members, and that is where our strength comes from.”
Citing a 92 percent retention rate over the last two years, Brewer said teachers are attracted to Bryan County schools for two reasons; it’s a safe place to be, and the classrooms are funded by the board, so they don’t have to buy their own materials to do what they need to do for the children.
She said, despite $8.2 million in cuts in state education funding, “not a penny has been removed from the classroom. Instructional staff, materials, equipment and supplies have been maintained at the levels provided prior to the cuts.”
New teaching and learning technology was on abundant display, as teachers and students used the Smart Boards and other computer programs to teach and learn math, English and science.
Brewer said “it is to everybody’s advantage, including our local county community that the public school system is a very strong one. I appreciate what all of you do to support us, whether it’s where you help us make sure they get their shots on time, or you help us with a road for a new school, help us with a water issue at one of the schools, or you give a contribution to one of our clubs, whatever it is you do to make our schools stronger. The reason for today is to say thank you and to let you see what it is that you are a very big part of.”
      Patti Newman, Lanier Primary principal told the group they would see what it is they do every day and that it was not just a “dog and pony show.”
      Debbie Laing, principal of Bryan County Elementary said they have 480 children at BCES and that they are growing just like the southern end of the county.
      “We have a great group of kids, and we have a wonderful group of staff. You’re going to notice that we have everything that we need. We have lots of technology, lots of teaching materials and lots of adult resources,” she said.
      Eighth grade students are now doing math work that was once not introduced until high school, according to middle school curriculum resources teacher Julie Howard.
      Harold Roach, principal of BCHS calls Bryan County schools the “land of milk and honey and said it is that way because y’all are willing to help these children by providing them what they need, and it’s up to us to teach them. We have a good group, and they care about your children. They’ve proved it and they bend over backwards for them.”
      “One teacher promised a student she would tutor, and also promised another she would come watch them play softball. So, she spread out a blanket and tutored one child while cheering for the other. That’s the caliber of people we have, and it will show, and we will benefit from these people,” he said.
      In her introduction before the high school, Brewer said Roach “has done a lot for the school in the last few years he’s been principal.”
      “We do a lot of group work. We do the learning focus approach, and it’s worked really well. They also use learning focus in the middle school, so when the new ninth graders come over to us, they are already way ahead because they have been taught the learning focus approach for three years and when we get them we just continue that on and we’ve seen a lot of benefits.”
       “Feel free to check in on us anytime. Our doors are always open. We want you here. We can’t do this without you. Anything we can do to help y’all, we’re going to try. Anything you can do to help us, please, we are certainly willing and we’ll take any type of positive help we can get. That’s what we need, and it’s for the kids. That’s what it’s about. We are trying to get them ready to they can get set for their life,” Roach said.
    Visitors enjoyed the total school experience. They traveled by bus from
Lanier to the other three schools and returned to Lanier for the children’s favorite meal of chicken fingers. Two students at Lanier were escorted by Dr. Newman and Dr. Brewer around the visitors’ table as they ate lunch so the students could say “thank you” to the individuals for their support of the schools.


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