“He shook my hand and warmly explained he had spent most of the day interacting with adults, many of them attorneys, and he really needed a kid fix, just some time with students and teachers,” said Principal Pat LeQuier. “He remembered that some of our students had led the Pledge of Allegiance at a program he presented at in the fall. He thought reconnecting with those students, their classmates, and teachers would be a great end to his work day.”
Bice spent the afternoon visting various classrooms and interacting with students and teachers. Teachers at OMIS said they were honored to welcome Bice and were impressed with his warm and open personality and his interactions with the students.
“He took such an interest in our math lesson. We were working a real world math problem and he asked if he could have a copy to take with him,” said OMIS teacher Rachel Paul. “I could see in his interactions with my students that he really cares about kids.”
Tara Schultz, whose classroom was also visited, remarked “I had never met him before and didn’t know what to expect. He was very approachable. You could see in his interactions that he genuinely cares for children. Students were taken with how tall he is so he engaged them in a little fun to figure out students in our class who were closest to his height.”
“With all the schools he is responsible for, I was surprised when he walked into our classroom,” stated Jeff Renfro. “You would think someone in that position would be a bit intimidating to be around, but he was very personable and I enjoyed observing him interacting with kids.”
Karen McDonald reported that when he arrived in her room her students were taking a timed math screener. When she apologized that her students still had a minute left to complete the screener, he said he was in no hurry and promptly sat down at the desk of an absent student.
“He was so warm and sincere and while we checked our screeners he cheered the students on,” she said.
Ms. McDonald shared with Dr. Bice the powerful conversations she was having with her students regarding their growth on Global Scholar. Dr. Bice validated that what was important was student growth and progress.
As they stepped into the hallway after visiting the last classroom, Dr. Bice paused and said to Dr. LeQuier that it was rather late in the afternoon and yet, in every learning environment he had experienced, students and teachers had been engaged in meaningful instruction.
“I said, ‘Dr. Bice, it’s not the end of the school day, sir. We are still working. And it’s not the end of the school year even though we have completed ACT Aspire and have almost completed Global Scholar. We still have a few weeks left to get our students ready for next year’,” said Dr. LeQuier.
“That’s right,” Dr. Bice replied with a smile.
Two days later, at the Lifting Literacy Summit in Tuscaloosa, Dr. LeQuier and two OMIS teachers listened with delight as Dr. Bice publicly shared his experiences at Oak Mountain Intermediate. He expressed his pleasure with finding all students and teachers actively engaged in such meaningful work toward the end of the day and near the end of the school year.
“Being recognized by the State Superintendent in front of peers from all over Alabama was a rewarding and uplifting experience that I was proud to come back to school and share with my hardworking faculty and staff,” Dr. LeQuier said.