The Winthrop Elementary School is a small school on a side street not far from Blue Hill Avenue on the Roxbury/Dorchester border. With fewer than 200 students, K-5, it takes pride in its close relationships with the community.
As I visited classes on one of the first days of the new school year, children with shining faces listened to their teachers and worked on a variety of assignments. Second grade students were sorting small rocks in pairs on the classroom rug with science teacher Cheryl Giddings, then practicing how to use a small magnifier to examine them more closely. Later she was introducing fourth graders to the “Motion and Design” unit, as groups of students eagerly dumped materials onto their desks and began putting them together to make a vehicle.
Music teacher Kristen Bergner was playing a clapping game with one class, while theater teacher Cheryl Murphy asked fifth grade students to write in a reflection journal about their experiences and feelings listening to live music or watching a play. Fourth graders were working on math: Joanne McCoy-Lawrence‘s SEI students were sharing their multiplication strategies while those in Christine Rogan‘s class were making arrays.
Rachel Cash-Bacon‘s first graders worked at a variety of centers – counting, building with blocks, and making patterns. K2 teacher ToRena Webb Thomas was demonstrating for her students how to draw the people in their families, paying special attention to all the body parts. K0-K1 children in Stephanie Kudriashova‘s class listened raptly to a story about how kindness fills us up with “warm fuzzy feelings.” A 24-year BPS veteran, she said she loved the sense of “family” at the Winthrop, where “everyone takes care of all the kids.”
It truly takes a village to raise a child and our schools are an integral part of that effort! I look forward to an invitation to visit YOUR school this year.
Amika Kemmler-Ernst, Ed.D.