Sunday, Jun 25, 2017

Crosby says goodbye to first class

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The third-grade class at Crosby Elementary School represents the first class to complete all grade levels – kindergarten to third grade – at the school, which opened in the fall of 2010. HML PHOTO BY JAY SCHULZ

Richard D. Crosby Elementary School recently graduated its first class of students to complete all grade levels – kindergarten to third grade. The facility opened in the fall of 2010 and was designed to hold more than 1,000 children in kindergarten through third grade.

Crosby Elementary has been an important addition to Harvard because it allows the district’s youngest students to stay in the same building for the first four years of their school careers.

“It is the first new school in the district in 48 years,” said Crosby Principal Debbie Holland. “The consistency of programs and services offered when students attend one school is invaluable. Prior to coming to Crosby, students in third grade would have typically gone to Washington School for kindergarten, Jefferson School for first grade, Central School for second grade and back to Jefferson for third grade.”

Holland believes keeping children in one school building has helped provide a secure educational environment.

“Having students for four consecutive years has reaped its benefits,” she said. “They are familiar with Crosby routines, which allows us to start a school year learning right away and not teaching procedures and school rules. We have worked with this class from day one on our district expectations for being respectful, responsible and safe.”

Another interesting fact about the school is that it is designed around a “neighborhood concept,” where all classrooms of the same grade are grouped around a common discovery center.

“The staff teaches reading and writing across the curriculum as an integral part of the overall academic program,” Holland said. “Teaching strategies encourages student creativity, responsibility and self-motivation. As with other elementary buildings in the district, volunteers help with all parts of the curriculum, including art, reading, science and social studies,” she continued. “Early intervention programs [also] are available for students in order to improve and strengthen academic skills.”

Though the first graduation is an exciting time for the school, it also is bittersweet.

Christine May, a math teacher and former librarian at the school, said she has enjoyed working with the first crop of Crosby graduates.

“I have had the pleasure of watching our current third-graders grow physically, emotionally and academically over the past four years,” she said. “In my role as a librarian, I had the pleasure of seeing every student at Crosby Elementary each week. It’s a great privilege to know every third-grader in our school. Every child brings something special to Crosby.”

One aspect of the school that makes it unique, May said, is the fact that the school is goal-oriented and staff members strive to make a difference by working regularly with small groups of students.

“Crosby Elementary is an amazing school because of the people who spend their days in it. ...[though] our school is not unique in this respect, as elementary schools across our country are filled with people who love children and want great things for them,” she said. “Crosby’s collective staff is kind, talented, hard-working and generous of their time and resources. The children have learned academics, compassion, respect and responsibility from our outstanding staff.

This year’s third-graders will carry these fundamentals with them to Jefferson School and beyond,” she added. “Every child is unique and has something great to offer the world. It is the responsibility of every person who works in a school to channel that greatness. ...We are blessed to have had the opportunity to watch this year’s third-graders grow over the past four years. There will be another group of third-graders next year, but there will never be another group exactly like this year’s class.”

The 208 third-grade graduates will attend Jefferson School in the fall.