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The Belle Plaine CSD and Community: Don’t Take it for Granted -an “Outsider's” Perspective

Chad Straight

    When I came to Belle Plaine over 8 years ago, I was excited about the opportunities the Belle Plaine School District and the Belle Plaine Community offered my family.  I had worked as a teacher or an administrator in 4 other school districts that varied in size from a large 3A district to a small class A district.  The communities also varied as I had lived in Sioux City, Iowa, and much smaller communities like Dunlap, Iowa.

    Belle Plaine at the time offered many of the benefits of a larger community with the small class sizes and individual attention of a smaller school district.  After 8 years in the district serving as the superintendent and raising a family in the community, I am proud and excited about what the school and community currently offer our parents and students.  It’s also the main reason why we stayed.

    Recently I was reminded why Belle Plaine is special, and one major reason is because of the local support from our community and former graduates.  This weekend over 30 golf teams came out to support our Booster Club in a wacky golf tournament.  Kris Baburek, the head of the athletic booster club, does an incredible job promoting Belle Plaine athletics.  She and many others work tirelessly at athletic events and fundraising events to provide opportunities for our students/athletes.

    The school district also receives incredible support from music boosters, PTO (in previous years), the Lions, Rotary, Belle Plaine Community Development, the American Legion, local businesses, the City of Belle Plaine, the Fire Department, Police Department, alumni, Mansfield Foundation, Compass Memorial, the BP Country Club and local individuals in the community.  In general when we need something, people in this community rally to make sure we have it.

    It may seem like this level of support is everywhere or normal.  I can tell you that from my experiences, it isn’t.  I can also tell you that beyond the support of the great people of Belle Plaine, the City of Belle Plaine offers opportunities and advantages that many small communities do not offer.  I know this because in the other places I have lived without a movie theater in town, without a local grocery store, without any small businesses to speak of, without a golf course, and without many things that I think some of us sometimes take for granted in Belle Plaine.  Then throw in a school district that favorably competes academically with every district in the area and has state competition quality extra curricular activities, a top notch Ag program, a quality STEAM program, top notch facilities, a housing program, gifted staff members, small class sizes, and a positive history with name recognition that not many schools in the area have, and at that point a person starts to wonder why he has to be an outsider to see it.

    As an “outsider” who stopped considering himself an outsider long ago I can tell you that I recognize the value of this community and school system.  I’ve lived in other places and been to many schools.  I thought it was time for a good reminder that just because we have great opportunities here, doesn’t mean it’s everywhere.  Plainsmen Pride!