Update from the Superintendent

To:  Parents and Guardians

From:   Bill Husfelt, Superintendent

Date:   August 04,  2022

Throughout our community, teachers are putting their finishing touches on classrooms this
weekend, and EVERYONE has August 10th (the first day of school) on their minds. So as we
get ready to start this school year, I’d like to take a minute to talk about connections and
relationships and why they are so important.
There’s been a plethora of research about the value of extra-curricular activities and how sports
and clubs help students socially, academically and emotionally. As the father of three girls who
attended Bay District Schools, I can personally attest to the impact extra-curricular activities had
on my girls. From band to student government to sports and a variety of clubs, my girls
ALWAYS had something to feel connected to at school, and they were always busy and
engaged in helping others and learning new skills outside the classroom. To be candid, though,
those groups and teams helped my girls far more than they ever were able to help someone
All students need to belong to something.
Ponder that powerful phrase for a moment and think about their options. Students can belong to
a positive peer group, a team, a club, a youth group, a performing group like choir or band or
they can belong to negative peer groups. All students WILL belong to a group because it’s
human nature to seek out relationships and form bonds.
In elementary school, the group is formed quite naturally since most elementary students spend
the entirety of their school days in the same class and with the same students. As a result, you
often see t-shirts proclaiming membership (Mrs. Smith’s Superstars etc.) and students generally
feel connected to their classmates.
However, that connection fades in middle school and beyond as students juggle six or more
different teachers and sets of students. In these environments, children need a club or a team to
give them a smaller group of students they can relate to and learn from and with.
And that’s why I am imploring ALL parents to ensure their students are connected with
some sort of group by the time they reach sixth grade.
I know that school is hard for many of our students, and I know that ONE powerful and positive
relationship can be a game changer. For example, we have high school students who come to
school because they LOVE their construction academy classes, feel connected to their choir
group, or know their attendance and participation matter to their athletic team. Some students
ensure they never miss school on a Chess Club day or when ROTC is dressing out and working
on drills. I know some kids come to bake in culinary class, and there are large groups of
students who wouldn’t think of being absent on the day of a community service project.
Students often find and make these connections independently, but many need our help and
encouragement to get started, figure out HOW to join or try out, etc.
So, parents/guardians/teachers/youth pastors/community leaders and others …. please take a
few minutes this week to talk with the young people in your lives about what they’re going to
connect with this year and then help them get connected.
I firmly believe that an increase in youth participation in extracurricular/cocurricular activities will
correlate to a decrease in truancy, a reduction in troubling behavior and an increase in graduation rates. But, most importantly, I believe these connections will boost self-confidence of all involved.
What more could we ask for at the beginning of a new school year? I believe we can achieve
these lofty goals when we work together and help our students connect in all the right and
positive ways.
Please help us help our students by having this meaningful conversation with them and sharing
your experiences. So many of our students may be just one gentle push in the right direction
away from changing their lives for the better.
Thank you, and God Bless!



Previous Posts

August 04, 2022 

June 09, 2022 

June 03, 2022 

May 27, 2022 

May 20, 2022 

May 13, 2022

May 08, 2022 

April 29, 2022 

April 22, 2022 

April 15, 2022 

April 08, 2022

April 03, 2022 

March 25, 2022 

March 20, 2022 

March 13, 2022

March 6, 2022 

February 27, 2022 

February 18,2022 

February 12, 2022 

February 04, 2022 

January 30, 2022

January 21, 2022

January 19, 2022 

January 16, 2022 

December 17, 2021

December 10, 2021

December 03, 2021

November 21, 2021

November 12, 2021

1311 Balboa Avenue
Panama City, FL 32401
(850) 767-4100
William V Husfelt III
Superintendent, Bay District Schools
Office of the Superintendent
Holly Buchanan
Employment and Income Verification Equity Coordinator
Public Records Request