School Spotlight: Birchview Elementary School Turns 50
The start of a new school year is always a momentous occasion, even in a year when school isn’t exactly “normal.”
With COVID-19 and the switch to hybrid learning, most of the kids at Birchview are only in the building twice a week.
“I think the kids are adjusting really well to those new normal routines,” Farrington said. “They’re doing their best to keep each other safe and healthy. Our staff is doing a good job to just keep it fun and exciting for kids, even with the new regulations. And every day at Birchview is a great day.”
But there’s more to celebrate here than the fact that students have returned to campus.
“I had the opportunity to go to classes, each of the classes, and read to kids and tell them, ‘this is a big year to be a Birchview student,’” Farrington said. “And they were like, ‘why?’ And I said, because it’s our 50th birthday.”
This year, is Birchview’s 50th anniversary of serving students in the Wayzata School District.
To commemorate the milestone, the district has dug up old photos and other memorabilia from the past five decades.
“I had a lot of fun reading this,” Farrington said, while holding an old piece of paper. “This was the first newsletter sent out to families on Sept. 8, 1970, welcoming the kids to school.”
Back then, a student lunch cost $0.35, while milk was only $0.7. It’s just one of the many ways things have changed over the years.
“You’ll see smart boards in our classrooms. Fifty years ago you probably saw chalkboards,” Farrington said. “You’ll see iPads. Every kid has their own iPad. Fifty years ago they were probably using their notebooks and typewriters and all that stuff.”
Big year for Birchview’s principal as well
Yet as the school celebrates its 50th year, Farrington is celebrating a milestone of his own.
This is his first year as an elementary school principal.
“Who would have signed up to be a principal in the middle of a pandemic,” he joked.
Taking on that role during a pandemic is something that some people might shy away from, but Farrington says he’s ready for the challenge.
“Together we’ll work on improving our school and making sure we’re doing excellent work for our kids every day that we show up,” he said.
Whether the 420 kids enrolled at Birchview can return to full time, in-person learning this year remains to be seen.
But at the very least, they’d like to properly commemorate 50 years of history.
The hope is that later this spring, it’ll be safe enough to invite Birchview alumni to campus for a big party to celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary.