The Farragut Elementary will no longer exist next year, although the building may be leased to a charter school. What irony! When I asked students what they would miss most, each one responded without hesitation, “The teachers!”
One teacher in particular, Helen Andrews, has been teaching in BPS for 50 years! I talked with her briefly about retiring vs. looking for a new “home” next year, recognizing a kindred spirit who is as committed to her profession as ever despite the challenges and changes she”s experienced. Several other teachers at the Farragut spoke about the sense of “family” created by this small school tucked in a corner near the bustling medical area off Huntington Avenue in Mission Hill.
Despite looming MCAS math tests, classes were fully engaged in a variety of learning experiences. A group of three girls were singing along with a storybook in the kindergarten class. Second graders were making colorful “fraction flags,” while older students were reading and discussing a novel. Large posters in the hallway showed fourth grade observations of fiddler crab behavior; they were just beginning to study African dwarf frogs on the day I visited.
I always enjoy “reading the walls” of a school. At the Farragut, I particularly liked reading about young children”s exploration of the similarities and differences between the “old” paper they”d recycled to create “new” paper. Activities like this are so much more engaging than the worksheets that increasingly dominate early childhood education.
As the school year comes to a close, I hope you take satisfaction in knowing that each of you has indeed made a difference in the lives of your students. I wish you a summer full of whatever gives you the energy to begin anew in September! Please invite me to visit your school next year!
Amika Kemmler Ernst is a recently retired BPS New Teacher Developer with extensive experience as a classroom teacher, curriculum developer, and graphic artist. Her “We”re Learning Here” Project features images of everyday learning in our public schools, along with the words of the students pictured. Please invite her to visit your school next year!