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, “€œThe 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 “€œhome”€ 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 “€œfamily”€ 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 “€œfraction 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 “€œreading the walls”€ of a school. At the Farragut, I particularly liked reading about young children”€™s exploration of the similarities and differences between the “€œold”€ paper they”€™d recycled to create “€œnew”€ 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 “€œWe”€™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!