The Perry K-8 School, serving 230 students this year, is located in South Boston with views of the beach and harbor from the school playground!
I was invited to visit by ELA teacher Ani Barsoumian, who appreciates opportunities for students to learn from one another “when middle school students partner with younger grades for reading partners or projects, cross grade presentations, physical fitness activities, etc.”
Many students throughout the school were using computers. Some worked on research projects and math activities, while Jeff Durney‘s 3rd-5th graders were finding information on different states. Working with their Chromebooks on the stage in the school gym, sixth grade students were learning about Greek myths.
Several kindergarten boys were making “beds” out of blocks for a variety of stuffed animals, while another was carefully building a bridge-like structure with large legos. K2 children in Catherine Flores‘ class were learning letter sounds, and Alicia Carey led her third graders in a discussion of the main character’s traits in a novel they were reading. Out on the playground PE teacher Ellen Wyse supervised students practicing their skills with hoola hoops, balls, and some fun climbing structures.
Primary Support Teacher Colleen Labbe helped a small group of students review what they had learned about sea otters. One of the things she likes best about teaching at the Perry K-8 School is “the focus on creating a safe and supportive environment for all students, including those who are language learners and those who have special needs. Along with high expectations, a curriculum that includes technology and hands-on learning, we have a ‘Think Space’ in every classroom where students can go to calm down or take a break, signaling the importance of social emotional learning.”
Other teachers find ongoing partnerships between the school and a variety of community organizations especially valuable. The New Philharmonic Orchestra, for example, provides visiting instructors of choral and instrumental music at the Perry. Boston neighborhoods have many untapped resources to offer our students — reach out and ask!
Amika Kemmler-Ernst, Ed.D.