Tue, July 23

Farewell Big Park Community School

Debbie Jones

Debbie Jones

Twenty-three years of educating the children in the Village of Oak Creek and well over 7,000 children who have walked through the breezeway … a total of five principals and many teachers sharing the experience of education at Big Park over those years. It is with both joy and sadness that we all say goodbye to Big Park Community School.

The joy comes from the relationships formed, children and families that have made Big Park their second home, the friendships, the ball games, the concerts and plays, the field trips and projects. We have come to know an amazing staff of dedicated educators, who devoted their lives to developing a love of learning in children.

They may have been at Big Park a short time or their entire career, but each one made a difference in the lives of young people. The volunteers and support network of community members who came to our aid and helped children through tutoring, cheering us on, helping teachers to reach every student, speaking up for the community and raising funds to support needs throughout the years -- we thank you. You made a difference.

The sadness comes from the realities of poor funding for education in Arizona and the inability to sustain a still thriving, vibrant school with declining enrollment. The distinction of an International Baccalaureate Authorization was one year away.

We were well on our way to a one-to-one Chromebook initiative, thanks to community donations. Our children were learning the skills of inquiry, cooperation, articulation, and problem solving. They were learning to think, question and research, in addition to such basics as Reading, Writing, Mathematics, etc. They were learning about an inter-connected world and making good choices, based upon character.

Hopefully, lessons learned will go with them, as they move to new schools and take on new challenges. We hope they leave, knowing that they were loved; they are important and have much to give back to the world. We wish the best of luck to those students, teachers, staff members and families that have made Big Park so special, whether headed to West Sedona, the Junior High or other opportunities.

It has been my honor and privilege to serve as your Big Park principal over the last couple of years. The Big Park Coyotes will always have a special place in my heart. Thank you for the support.