This week, I will be returning to the school where I began my career as an Educator back in 2006 exactly 10 years ago. I moved twice during my first year at the Holmes within the first five months of the school year. I worked there as a Paraprofessional for six years before budget cuts resulted in me moving on to two other schools after the 2010-11 school year. Now I will be returning to my first school community once again as a full-time staff member.
The Holmes School is in Boston’s Dorchester neighborhood. The last time I worked at the Holmes school, I lived in Roxbury between two bus routes that got me close (22 and 23) but I could walk straight there if I wanted to. Now I live in Hyde Park next to Dedham. To get to the Holmes, I’ll walk from my house to the Fairmount Commuter Rail Station, which is a short walk from Cleary Square on River Street. I’d then take the train two stops Inbound (to South Station) to the Talbot Ave. station, which was under construction during my first tenure at the Holmes. From there, it’s a short 5-minute walk to the school.
I’m intentionally not giving away exact locations since I don’t want to give away too much about how I travel to and from work. Plan B would also likely be a one-way trip going Inbound: I usually do my mid-week shopping after work so…yeah. Massive detour to Downtown Crossing and/or Back Bay! The tradeoff with that is I could just hop on the Orange Line to Forest Hills from either travel hub and take a taxi (usually do if I’m out past 8:00PM) or the 32 to get home.
Getting back to the main topic, the Holmes School uses an inclusion model and it’s where I learned what an inclusive classroom is supposed to look and feel like. The difference between the Holmes and Mission Hill is one is K0 to Grade 5 and the other is K0 to Grade 8. The Holmes actually also has more classrooms than Mission Hill despite having less grades: Before I left the Holmes, the school had 6 kindergarten classrooms: One K0 and 5 K1-K2 classroom. The school has three classrooms for grades 1 to 5, totalling 21 classrooms total (5 x 3 = 15 + 6 = 21). The Holmes also does not have multi-grade classrooms, which Mission Hill does. The benefit to two-grade classrooms is students will have the same teacher for two years. This is why Mission Hill has less classrooms than the Holmes in comparison despite going to Grade 8: One K0-K2, 3 K1-K2, 3 Grade 1/2 and Grade 3/4 and two Grade 5/6 and two Grade 7/8 Classrooms, totalling 14 classrooms. That’s a 7-classroom difference. Having worked in both schools for several years, I can make that comparison.
The one thing I want to stress is for the return to the Holmes, I’m alot more experienced than I was 10 years ago. I’m a lot less naive for one. I’m also much more focused like I was during my last year at Mission Hill. Focused on the work that needs to be done and what I need to do. I’m also less stiff and rigid, which is always handy =D
The 2015-16 Boston school year begins this Tuesday!