Located just off Roslindale Square, the Charles Sumner Elementary School serves 550 students in grades K1-5. Every inch of the two story building is utilized, and hallway walls are covered with student work. At the entrance is a large “Meet the Sumner Team” bulletin board with names and group photos of each grade level team and support staff – a handy guide for visitors!
In Irischa Valentin‘s third grade class, students take a few minutes at the beginning of each school day to meditate, lying on their backs with eyes closed, while a classmate gently strikes a singing bowl. They tell me it helps them “forget bad thoughts” and feel calm throughout the day.
K1 students in Linda Sabina‘s class are doing a variety of letter-matching activities, while Renee Joseph‘s K1 students are building with blocks, role-playing in a kitchen center, using a stamp pad to print letters, putting puzzles together, playing learning games on iPads, and making shapes with plasticine.
Madalyn Buck reads a story to her first graders, and Pamela Brodie‘s second graders work in pairs to create “glued” words with Fundations tiles by adding initial consonants to common 3-letter combinations. Tracy Freeman leads a discussion of Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas with a half dozen SEI third graders, while 5th grade teacher Retha Reynolds kneels on the rug to help students find and record details about a character in the book they’re reading.
Many children work with computers and fourth graders are learning to code. In Jeff Holland‘s 5th-grade inclusion class, students work in pairs to build 3-dimensional paper walls to match their blueprints. Fifth graders have also written letters to Superintendent Cassellius, which are displayed outside their classroom.
Theresa Lee teaches science in a tiny basement room crammed full of materials to support students’ explorations. K1 children take turns observing and drawing crabs while their classmates try to recreate crab-shapes with interlocking blocks. Across the hall, P.E. teacher Ruben Carrizosa divides his K2 class into two teams; their classmates cheer as a member from each team tries to be first to get the ball into a basket set between them. One boy tells me he’s learned to “take aim, squat down, then jump up and shoot!”
Second-grade teacher Jeff Cipriani tells me that he appreciates the wisdom of the many veteran teachers in the building, and Judith Reid, a K1 teacher, says using ClassDojo for communication with families has been a big boost to parent engagement. What makes YOUR school a good place to work?
Amika Kemmler-Ernst, Ed.D.