May 9, 2023 at 7:10 a.m.
Our grandson, Gibson, came home from Hope Elementary Kindergarten Roundup with much excitement and had a bag of goodies which each item was proudly pulled out to show his grandpa who has taken care of him since baby days while his parents serve in important education roles. Below, there is quite the list of each item he handed to me with a glowing smile:
*White plastic bag with HOPE Jets on it and Gibson's name with little jets.
*A red tag with Welcome to Hope Elementary with his name & a jet at the top and We are the Jets at the bottom as well as places he visited: Screener, Speech, & Craft.
*Place for his picture on a black paper frame with Hope Jet 2036 at the top and I LOVE READING stickers as well as heart, jet, and football stickers.
*A flyer with a lounge chair and the question “Have You Read with Your Child Today?” with an important statement following: “Reading 20 minutes each day can make a BIG difference.”
*Kindergarten Readiness Information with the address, phone number and website of Hope Elementary and a note from Mrs. Poe, Principal, as well as the question “Is my child ready for school?” followed by points from each of these areas to consider: Motor Development, Social/Emotional Development, Math Readiness, and Reading Readiness.
*A Summer Prep Packet with the title, “Be a Smart Cookie When You Come to Kindergarten” with activities related to: Letters, Numbers, Patterns, Cutting Practice, ...
*A HOPE Elementary Black Pencil
*A Bartholomew County Health Dept. Pencil with their phone number 812-379-1555.
*A black shirt with the words: “ALWAYS BE YOURSELF UNLESS YOU CAN BE A JET THEN ALWAYS BE A JET” with three red jets on the front and Class of 2036 HOPE LEMENTARY SCHOOL on the back.
Being in the teaching profession for 36 years, and proudly all in fifth grade at Hope Elementary, I am well aware of the time and effort resulting in such a wonderful evening for each child and guardian entering the welcoming doors. These types of evenings just do not happen without a dedicated staff willing to go well beyond the typical school day.
I will always fondly remember having professional evaluation options as an experienced teacher: a standard evaluation, a yearly portfolio, or traveling to other grade levels and writing reflections while observing. When choosing the last option one year, I recall thinking afterward I should have been in lower classrooms observing years before. Working with kindergarten students is much different than working with fifth graders. Undoubtedly, it is a busy and key year just as the preschool years, and such years should have small classes with plenty of adult help.
Both our daughters were fortunate to have excellent preschool teachers and kindergarten teachers, and we will be able to state the same for Gibson. It is my sincere hope that Gibson and his teachers will not have to endure the stress of standardized testing. Based on what I am hearing and reading, there seems to be more movement in ending it, even the SAT and ACT. After all, a standardized test will not know how Gibson can name all the dinosaurs and what they ate, how he can create interesting structures with a variety of building material, how he can work complex puzzles that I don't care to attempt, how he can bring to life any picture with his artistic abilities, how he can dance to music, how he can …
I admittedly got rather emotional when looking at his projected graduation date and likely will not be around in 2036 when considering the average years men live. However, it is my hope he will always fondly think of our time together and in some way carry on my legacy while establishing his.