I am one member of a five person board. The opinions I express on this forum are mine only, and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Escambia County Staff, Administrators, Employees, or anyone else associated with Escambia County Florida. I am interested in establishing this blog as a means of additional transparency to the public, outreach to the community, and information dissemination to all who choose to look. Feedback is welcome, but because public participation is equally encouraged, appropriate language and decorum is mandatory.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Jim C. Bailey Middle School

Last night I had the pleasure of watching the end of year concert at Jim C. Bailey Middle School.

After attending the commencement ceremony for The Judy Andrews Center aboard NAS Pensacola, several of my fellow board members, myself, and superintendent Malcolm Thomas attended the concert at Bailey.

The students performed brilliantly, the Jazz band, the orchestra, the concert band, all of these groups were remarkable. This concert illustrates why the arts are so important in our schools; And the credit goes to the students, the parents who support these students, and dedicated music instructors like Tim Willis and Nicole Matson, who extended the invitation to me for this event.

I must admit that I keyed in to several comments that Mr. Willis made during the concert, talking up the students and saying things like "These students are the students of Jim Bailey middle school" and "What you see here tonight is what this school is about, not other things that you may hear" These cryptic remarks made little sense to me until I arrived home later in the evening to see on the top story on Channel 3 10PM News that "School Board Investigating Students at Bailey Middle School for Possession of Drugs"--lead story!

Well, I had no idea this was going on until I saw it on the news. Who knows, maybe I was the last person in Pensacola to know--even though this is a school in my district and I was there that same day.

Sadly, this happens sometimes. the superintendent and his staff are busy and this is a big district with lots of things happening, but it would have been nice for someone to let me know before I had to see it on the 10PM news. Communication is important so people do not get blindsided.

About the drug incident--it is sad, and I know this is an anomoly. Jim Bailey Middle School is one of the finest schools in our district. I have discussed this school and its excellent principal, Dr. Judy Pippen, before on this blog--when she was in danger of being removed for inane reasons.

With 1400 students, the odds are that sooner or later something like this could happen. These students will be dealt with, and Bailey Middle School will continue to be the excellent school that it is. And now I know why Mr. willis said what he said at the concert last night (and he was/is right) "What you see here tonight is what this schoo is about, not other things that you may hear"

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