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Registration is now open for the 2021-22 school year.
The Last Day of School?
That last day of school can be filled with many emotions—elation for summer activities, pride in
one’s school achievements and trepidation for what’s to come.
During my childhood elementary years, the last day meant we could finally wear shorts to
school. It was a small, benevolent concession from the powers that be that summer was around
the corner and students had knee caps under their trousers. Like now, the last day wasn’t really
a day, more like a few hours—a chance to say goodbye to our beloved teacher, clean out our
desks and receive our report card, an actual document in an envelope that miraculously made
its way into our parents’ hands. We never said farewell to classmates. We knew we would see
them around the neighborhood or at the local swimming pool.
On the last day of kindergarten, my teacher surprised the class with the announcement that we
would be hearing a short story that she had penned. It was a tale about what each of us would
be when we got older. I don’t recall the story’s specific plot, theme or moral except that at
some point in the narrative, I appeared in the guise of a mail carrier.
In 1968 we spent our final hours watching television coverage of Robert Kennedy’s unsuccessful
struggle to stay alive. Our final few hours together were the culmination of a turbulent year
when, all too often, current events time was dedicated to assassinations, war and national
turmoil. Even on the final day of school that year, the classroom was a haven that provided
community and collective catharsis.
In seventh grade, our principal dropped his stern, stoic façade and played Alice Cooper’s
anthem to summer, School’s Out, as new teens filed out the door cheering our freedom from
tyranny, oppression and un-coolness. I know my principal must have been celebrating
There never seemed to be a last day of school when I was a high school senior. Due to open
campus privileges for soon-to-be matriculants, one might briefly show up the last week of
school to take a final exam, attend graduation practice, or clean out a locker. No finality, just
completing checklists that catapulted you toward commencement and college.
Law school’s final day was the most anticlimactic; no real celebrating until you passed the bar
I’ve now come to the realization that there is really no final day of school. Sure, we stop
attending a physical building, but learning is a life long endeavor. And while summer provides
us with an opportunity to step away from desks and smart boards, it also affords us the chance
to learn about nature through experiences such as camping, family trips, and playing outside.
Summer also frees up time to invent, reflect, read, keep a diary, hone sports skills or learn a
new art technique, recipe or musical aptitude. Did I mention reading? (One can never read too
I tell students all the time that I’ve never had a last day of school; that I’ve attended school my
entire life, as a student, teacher, principal and life-long student. So, naturally, I won’t think of
June 17, 2022 as a finish line. I know that every day after, I will seek out reasons to volunteer,
contribute and learn.
I can’t thank you enough for your support and encouragement over a multitude of years and
final school days. It has been a privilege to be your child(ren)’s principal. I have had the
amazing fortune of working with many of you along with an incredible staff who have shared
their talents and leadership to enrich our students’ lives. To all the students of Island Park, I
say: Stay healthy. Stay happy. Stay curious. I will miss you all. You have given me the
invaluable gifts of optimism, perspective and eternal youth. Here’s wishing everyone a lifetime
of laughter, love, learning…and endless last days of school.
About Island Park
Island Park is one of four elementary schools in the Mercer Island School District. It is located in the middle of the island, at 5437 Island Crest Way.
Principal David Hoffman and Associate Principal Tara Eanzy lead a staff of 65 who serve approximately 425 students. We are host of the district's English Language Learners (ELL) program and Personalized Learning Program (PLP) for students with special learning needs. Other special programs include a Special Education Resource Room; Counseling, LAP (remedial reading); technology integrated classrooms; music, art, Spanish, library, and PE specialists; technology TOSAs; a tuition-based foreign language program; student council; before school choir, band and orchestra programs; and after school clubs including chess and art clubs.
Island Park uses district adopted curriculum as the foundation for its instructional program. Individual teachers and/or grade level teams assess students' needs and adapt instruction as necessary for learning to occur. Teachers frequently integrate material from several disciplines to make learning more meaningful for students.