Students streamed out of Sanborn Elementary School late Tuesday morning, much like students poured out of every other school around the same time.
The only difference was that at Sanborn, the students were encouraged to give before getting to go on summer break.
Students partnered with the Cause Fund to walk around the school in order to raise awareness and donations for issues from homelessness to heart disease. They walked excitedly, chatting about their upcoming summer and all the fun that they had planned for the next couple of months.
Principal Jason DiCarlo played music as students walked. Each student had a solid color shirt of some hue: red, yellow, green, pink, purple or whatever color was associated with their cause. Students were grouped sometimes in monochrome clumps of friends, other times they were all mixed together. Teachers oversaw them as they walked around the school before ending with a big dance on the playground.
It was a fun way to end the year, which focused as much on academics as it did on social development. And it was a great way to send the fifth-graders off onto their next chapter in life: middle school.
“The theme for their celebration of learning was 'High, High Hopes,' inspired by the song from the band Panic! At the Disco," said Principal DiCarlo. "What we are trying to do is prepare them for their new adventure and journey on to 6th grade, but always reminding them to have high, high hopes for themselves, but also to have high hopes for others."
Tuesday was the last day of class in the Andover School district, bringing about the end of the school year for more than 6,000 students across six elementary schools, two middle schools, and Andover High School.
DiCarlo had nothing but praise for the graduating class of 5th graders, who “had tremendous growth not only academically, but in their social interactions as well. They’ve really come together as a class and built strong relationships over this past year.” DiCarlo attributed this growth to “the teachers who embraced professional development with such dedication and commitment,” and that “we are seeing positive results in our students especially with literacy and data.”
Sanborn isn’t alone in this trend. Superintendent Shelley Berman said that this was “a year to take a step back and take real pride in our work,” referring to increased teaching surrounding literacy and data for students.
Berman noted that he was pleased with the budget support that allowed for the district to reduce kindergarten tuition this year, and that “hopefully that will be something we can eliminate in the future.”
Berman also commended the faculty and administration of Andover Public Schools, recalling how “I’m always impressed moving through class rooms, this town is very fortunate to have the talent and commitment of this staff. I think that today we had some wonderful celebrations of learning, and a very good close to a very good year. Even within our summer schools we are still making incredible progress with dyslexic learners and other types of students with different educational abilities.”
In addition to the march around the school on the last day, students and staff at Sanborn celebrated last week as well,
"We had an all school meeting where we had great games where teachers got to play against the students," said teacher Suzanne Crowley. “We also had a Sanborn band that was student composed and had drums, violin, and piano.”
Teacher Molly Diodati noted there was also a big cookout for the students and afterwards they all walked to Indian Ridge for a swim and a day of fun.