by Kirby Lindsay, posted 15 October 2014
A month-and-a-half into the new year at B.F. Day Elementary School, and the kids are, more or less, settled into their new schedules and routines. They, and the teachers and staff, at Fremont’s only public school, have adjusted to the new face, and the new way, of their new principal. Now, it’s our turn.
B.F. Day’s Principal, Stan Jaskot, welcomes opportunities to meet with our community, and to have the conversations necessary for us to figure out, together, the best for our beloved school.
A Vision Shared?
Referred to as ‘The Family School’, B.F. Day has a strong family feel – among its students and staff, but also within the greater community. Principal Jaskot, who arrived at B.F. Day this past summer, has noticed. Recently, he praised, “the spirit of this school. The school has a really warm, welcoming atmosphere. The community has been so amazing since I began. They could not have been more supportive.”
Jaskot switched places with B.F. Day’s former principal, Katie Pearl. She went to work at Northgate Elementary School, where Principal Jaskot just finished his fourth year. Enthusiastic about the change to a larger school (Northgate has 200+ students while B.F. Day has 340 currently enrolled, and could accommodate 400,) Principal Jaskot also noted that at B.F. Day, “really critical components are present: committed staff and involved parents.”
Having had time to study and assess the school, when asked about his vision, Principal Jaskot acknowledged that, “a few things are on the center of the radar screen.” His two highest priorities are:
- Streamlining Instructional Practices – Principal Jaskot wants to make sure all our teachers understand the assessment program, and can work together on contributing to, “the K – 5 journey a student might take. The way that teachers are practicing their craft today is very collaborative,” he noted, as an educator for 21-years. He wants to make it easier for B.F. Day teachers to collaborate, although “this is not meant to take away their creativity.” He wants to provide information so all the teachers can align themselves with what students will learn throughout the years they attend our K – 5 B.F. Day.
- Finding Our Educational Niche – “I want to be working with the P.T.S.A. and the community on finding the niche for B.F. Day,” Jaskot explained. The market for elementary schools has become very competitive. Each school, based on their strengths and resources, must clearly define their emphasis – STEM, visual arts, core, sports, music, etc. Principal Jaskot knows of the strong arts heritage held so dearly by our community – and the school does have a strong arts program that reflects it. However, as a niche, ‘arts’ is a very, very competitive one. “I would love to see this building brimming with technology,” Jaskot suggested, based in part on the considerable resources currently available among Fremont’s businesses.
An Experienced Leader
Overall, B.F. Day does have a lot to recommend it. “It’s an amazing place,” our new principal observed, “with staff wanting to give 120% to their kids.”
Now, it has a principal, ready and experienced, to help. Jaskot started teaching in 1983, in New Jersey, and quickly moved along – perhaps looking for his own niche. He started as a music teacher, and “doing music, you see the whole school.” He found himself envying the classroom teachers who saw the same kids every day.
He switched to teaching 5th grade, and did so for six years while he got his degree in administration. “I got my principal credentials at a magnet school in New Jersey,” he recalled. At the National Blue Ribbon School, for grades 4, 5 & 6, Jaskot quickly learned his job, having to do so in a very visible, high-profile setting.
The decision to move West was one he’d long considered before he took the leap. “I really wanted to work in Seattle,” he said, of the Seattle School District, but the first job he found available here was in the central offices of the Kent School District. After two years, they assigned him to Meridian Elementary, where he served as principal from 2005 – 2010.
From there, he took an assignment in Seattle to turnaround Northgate Elementary. Working with the staff and students to raise the school from a level one to a level three school (B.F. Day is a level three.) “I think the teachers were amazing,” Principal Jaskot said of Northgate’s educators. He even brought techniques they taught him to B.F. Day. Principal Jaskot spoke with pride of the four years, and the work, done at Northgate, but he also acknowledged that, “it was a good fit, up to a point.”
A Community Of Support
At the larger B.F. Day, with its strong community support system, Principal Jaskot hopes to be able to exercise all of his skills. B.F. Day does offer challenges. “Right now, we have 40 students that qualify for E.L.L.,” he observed about the children for whom English isn’t their primary, or even secondary, language. The diverse population at our school includes households that use Spanish, Vietnamese, Mandarin, Cantonese, or Somali at home. Also, “we are close to 40% of students qualified for free and/or reduced cost lunch rates,” the principal noted, and more than a few B.F. Day families have to deal with homelessness.
Luckily, Principal Jaskot has arrived, to do his best for B.F. Day’s students. He has come here with a support system of his own. Married, to Loren, the couple has nearly finished renovating their North Beach house, where their 2 ½ years old Labradoodle has the run of the place. By Jaskot’s own admission, their pet is, “by now the most spoiled dog in the world!”
With the school year underway, Principal Jaskot is ready to meet the community and talk about what we all want for B.F. Day. Expect to see him out and about – he’s already met the Fremont Rotarians – or contact him directly at 206/252-6015 or email@example.com
Weigh in on what you think the ideal identity will be for B.F. Day – or about how you want to support our school.
- A Principal Shift At B.F. Day
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- What’s A Neighborhood Without A School?
- by Kirby Lindsay, May 3, 2000
- The B.F. Day Mural Continues
- by Kirby Lindsay, June 7, 2013
©2014 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.