Yesterday was the last day of school. As last days go, I thought it was a great one. The students participated in a wide variety of really fun, creative activities, designed, set up and executed almost single-handedly by my friend and colleague Preston. Jeff the Science Teacher and his Experiential Sciences class built a trebuchet and spent a good chunk of the morning throwing softballs the length of most of a football field. There was a slip-and-slide 60 feet wide and 80 feet long, a dunk tank that the principal dutifully sat in, face-painting. The superintendent grilled hot dogs. It was a real carnivalesque occasion. (Hopefully I'll be able to steal some pictures from people with more foresight than me, or at least students who had their cell phone cameras on.)
It was also very sad for me and for several of my colleagues. My position has been suspended, and I was laid off. Kris, our instructional coach, will return to being our high school ELA teacher, which means that John (whose position was funded by ARRA money) is out of a job. Jami, an amazing teacher with whom I've worked closely on the MiBLSi project, and was deeply loved by the students and parents, will be doing education outreach and missionary work in the Dominican Republic. Gregg is continuing his education; instead of hiring another full-time art teacher, the administration is looking for an art/music teacher (or a part-time art / part-time music teacher; I was never clear on which). Another colleague won't be returning for reasons which aren't mine to share.
I'm still writing a post to my students, thanking them for the four great years and encouraging them for the future. The landscape of the school will be very different for them next year. Children and young adults are flexible, but at least 5 and as many as 8 people they know and love (to varying degrees) will not be there.
I'm also drafting one to the staff of our school, which I will probably never share with them. I want to tell them to make the most of the time they've bought themselves at such great sacrifice. I want them to know how good things are in their school, and how great they could be. I want them to know what an honor it was to work with them. But I couldn't tell them anything they don't already know, so maybe that little blurb will be enough.
There will, of course, also be a great deal of hand-wringing self-reflection over the year once the dust settles.
I have a great deal to say to our state legislators, and I have been saying it at length in a variety of formats. I'll continue doing that until things improve.
I'm looking for a position now.
And at the end, there's nothing to say, except, Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Burr Oak Community Schools year of 2009 and 2010.