Brown baggin’ it Silverdale style

Breanna Barrick was a bit nervous about starting the third grade at Silverdale Elementary School this year until she saw a classroom roster Wednesday afternoon. Now she’s just fine.

“I think I know all of them,” she said of the boys and girls she will be sharing learning space with in the upcoming school year.

Barrick, her mother Lisa and her first-grade sister Bailee all attended Silverdale Elementary’s annual brown bag lunch event that traditionally welcomes students back to school. The event is always held the week before school starts. The first day of school is Wednesday, Sept. 4.

The families bring brown bag lunches and the students and parents get to meet their new teachers. The students also get to reacquaint themselves with their school friends after the long summer.

The teachers are stationed around the covered outside play area and the students and parents make the rounds. Once the formalities are out of the way, the picnic begins.

Lisa Barrick said she and her daughters attend the event every year because it helps put her daughters back in school mode. She said there is never any trepidation on her part at the beginning of the school year because she likes Silverdale Elementary so much.

“I really like the principal,” she said of third-year principal Jeff McCormick. McCormick, she said, forms a personal connection with each student and parents and knows all his students’ names.

At the beginning of every school day, McCormick stands near the main entrance to the school greeting the children as they come in.

“He’s really interested in the students,” she said.

McCormick said the secret of his school’s success is parent volunteers.

“There’s a really strong community feeling at this school,” McCormick said. “It was nothing I did, it was like that when I got here. It’s a great school.”

Every year, the brown bag luncheon gets a lot of attendees, he said.

“Mostly because it’s part of the school’s tradition,” he said. “The students get to make a positive connection to their teachers, rather than just posting a class list.”

The school’s Parent Teacher Student Association uses the annual event to recruit new parents and to establish a presence in the school. Silverdale Elementary is known for its parent participation.

“We get a lot of volunteers from this event every year,” said Deb D’Angelo, who has been involved in the PTSA for 11 years. She has one daughter at Silverdale Elementary.

Sarah Graham, mother of Keith and Spencer, was a first-timer at the brown bag meet and greet. Her boys were new to Silverdale Elementary. Last year, the boys were at Cottonwood Elementary School.

“I think it’s great,” Graham said. “It’s a great way for students to meet their teachers and see each other after a long time.”

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