Shonda Rhimes said, “I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaging powerful people, are busy doing.” As the school draws to a close, so do the year-end graduations and retirements which results in lots of dreaming and doing.
Having entered the last month of school, the annual year-end activities are kicking into gear. Teachers and students alike are counting down the remaining days of classes. Units are being wrapped up while juggling testing schedules. Teachers continue to instruct using their most engaging activities to counter the effects of student “summeritis” which has already begun.
The science CAST test as well as the math and English language arts CAASPP tests are being administered. These rigorous exams require considerable application of effort and sustained use of brain cells on the part of students.
The counselors are preparing student schedules for next year. They have been procuring feeder school placement test data for honors classes and ELD students so that the appropriate number of sections for those classes can be created.
Librarians are sending notices about final checkout dates and more importantly turn in dates so that books and technology are collected before graduation. Honor students are preparing graduation speeches with poignant memories, celebratory feelings and future aspirations.
Numerous administrative positions, particularly for program managers, became open, and interviews were held to fill them. The resulting ripple effect to fill the positions left vacant by those moving to new positions will continue throughout the summer.
Each campus also has a handful of teachers who are shifting to new grade levels or new campuses. Sometimes those positions are requested by teachers and other times they’re assigned by administrators. While this sort of movement happens every year, it’s unsettling for those experiencing it.
Finding ways to remain calm in the midst of change can come from the most unusual places such as a morning episode of Lego Ninjago, “Do not fight what you cannot change. Use change to fight for yourself.”
Retirees have begun sorting, throwing, gifting and packing away classroom materials as they prepare to attend retirement parties and contemplate life after school. Being honored for their years of service and questioned about leisure time, they smile broadly in anticipation. Those who remain try not to be jealous and remind themselves that they too will get to sail into the sunset studentless eventually.
Besides the usual end of the year happenings, other less common events are transpiring. Due to declining enrollment and the resulting budget shortfalls, the Prospect Ed Center is closing and those teachers are being reassigned. The K-8 onsite instructional coaches were cut from 13 positions to 5 that will deploy from the district office next year.
The PE teachers are seeing a reduction in numbers. The fine arts teams are working out scheduling changes in hopes of having more instructional time and less tight travel time between sites.
This transitional month of the ending of school and the beginning of summer can invoke an array of emotions. Teachers hope that students remain focused during testing and concerned about their final grades. Students hope teachers will go easy on them as they’re ready to be done.
Excitement and angst bubble up for those graduating and those who are retiring. Those changing grade levels and campuses often feel unsettled. Remaining focused in the present becomes more challenging as memories swirl and future placement unfolds.
Pivotal transitions like these endings and beginnings have a greater positive punch when those involved can remain in the moment.
Joyce Didonato said, “One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now, in this single, solitary, monumental moment in your life is to decide without apology, to commit to the journey, and not to the outcome.” May you remain joyful on your journey through the last days of school and into the summer.
, author of two children’s books and a long time teacher in the South Valley, can be reached at email@example.com.