The 2010/11 school year has ended for me, in Junction City, Kansas, on a high note. I can honestly say that out of my 20 years of teaching, this was my best year ever!
It must be so, because the Kansas Commissioner of Education wrote teachers a letter titled, ìBeating the Odds. She stated that despite financial and educational obstacles, Kansas schools continue to meet increasing performance targets. However we know that while test scores and accountability are important, there is so much more to making a school year successful.
The question now on my mind is, ìHow can we help Fregenet School beat the odds?î For you see, the real reason I had the best year ever in teaching, was because of my month in Ethiopia last summer. I traveled with the Fulbright-Hays Project Abroad program. Our group of teachers from around the U.S. spent a day with teachers at Fregenet. Together we shared ideas on how to get books into the hands of children through bookmaking projects. It was a powerful day of collaboration. As the librarian at Sheridan Elementary I brought all that I learned in Africa to my students. We have gone on this journey together loving every minute of it. We have delved into literature and culture to make connections meaningful. They want to know more about Ethiopia and so do I.
Once again, I have the opportunity to return to Fregenet School with Ethiopia Reads to observe students in classes and work with teachers and librarians. Our new team of teachers, along with Chris Kurtz, will go this summer to build relationships and share ideas which encourage literacy skills.
Auto Tafesse Woubshet quoted Helen Keller in his first newsletter. This quote suggested education provides safety and harbor for our lives if we can access it. Fregenet School will beat the odds if we pull together to create a safe harbor for children to access education. I look forward to seeing Fregenet School again, nurturing literacy skill development, and building relationships.