The Sarah Greenwood School, located in Dorchester near Blue Hill Avenue and Franklin Park, serves 435 students in grades K-8. On the office wall is a “Community Tree” with labeled photos of the school staff — such a welcoming and useful display for students, families, and visitors!
In primary classes, students are working on a variety of literacy activities: listening to read-aloud stories, looking at books, and working with phonics materials. A second grader tells me they’re “learning to ask good questions” in their study of rainforest animals.
Shawna Lind’s fourth grade students are making mini-posters relating figurative language to themselves, while Diana Byrne’s 4/5 special education class is reading Arlene and the Rebel Queen and talking about how — in one boy’s words — “even people with disabilities can change the world.”
The Greenwood has a unique dual language model, starting in second grade. Students spend half of each day in “Ethnic Studies” (Humanities with a social justice focus) — taught in Spanish — and the other half in “STEAM” classes, taught primarily in English.
In 2nd grade teacher Crystal Alcala’s Ethnic Studies class, students are creating giant posters about the characters in their own versions of The Three Little Pigs — in Spanish. Meanwhile, Belkys Angeles’ sixth graders are reading Pan de la Guerra (The Breadwinner) as they learn about the geography and history of Afghanistan.
In one STEAM class, Lila Bethel’s second grade students are doing math with coins. In another, 5th and 6th graders are making models of the earth’s layers with Eric Vincent. First grade STEAM teacher Yesenia Herrera — who just happens to be a Greenwood alumna! — names and lays out pictures of marine animals on the floor while her children look on, considering which ones they’d most like to study.
Visual arts teacher Nancy Williams-Gross is teaching ESL to a small group of middle school students, while Gustavo Hernandez teaches third graders how to read a scale in music class. Rebekah Shyloski runs the Makerspace, where everyone gets to do hands-on projects using clay, wood, fabric, and other materials.
I know students are learning in all of our schools — please invite me to visit yours!