I just like you so much, dear Island School. You are exactly what a public school should be everywhere.
Adjusting, of course, for the where — since you probably would say (if you could say) that the place is the point of a place-based education.
I think YoungSon must like you, too. Since hanging out with you all day, he’s suddenly ambitious about math. He reads more than ever. He hasn’t complained once this year about coming to spend the day with you. He even tells people how actually pretty great you are and wants to take family visitors to come see you.
“Though I need to wear warmer boots next time,” he said after your last field trip measuring temperature, turbidity, recording colors, shapes, sounds and smells, mapping the area, taking a pencil rubbing of identified leaves, then netting a rough dozen of baby fish, dragonfly larva, mini shrimp, snail, paddle beetles.
What curious kid wouldn’t like a school so cool as you?
I like it that there was hot cocoa and cupcakes from the owners of the pond under observation that day. And that they were the grandparents of one of the boys in the class.
I like it that all your boys and girls are becoming old hands at collecting the data and handling the equipment. I like how your students are so earnest explaining to me the importance of their data. I like that they send their numbers to the big university where scientists can use it.
I like how wonderful your hot lunch smells each morning and the native habitat planted right out the front door. I like the friendly lady at the open front desk and all the ways of saying hello in different languages on the wall above. I like your hand painted 3D mural with the giant flowers and ceramic tile mosaic birds and insects.
I like the artwork taped up along all the walls.
I like the mix of kids from urban Portland to farm and riverside.
I like the changing message on the whiteboard outside one of the classrooms:
I hope you had a fantastic weekend! I went to a salmon festival and saw dancers from the Warm Springs tribe perform — it was incredible.
Please come in and
(1) Turn in your homework (purple bin)
(2) Finish your sheet from the plank house and store it in your green folder.
(3) Get out your NUMBER CORNER book.
We’re going to have a great day!
I’m glad you’re here!
I like you so much, Island School. I’m glad you’re here, too.