Meet Flo Terrill Community School Coordinator for Garnet Elementary
by Matthew
April 25, 2022

We will be spending this coming Friday at Robbi’s alma mater, HH Garnet Elementary School

We’ll be giving two assemblies and doing an all-school book giveaway (made possible by a generous donation from the Friends of the Kent County Public Library).

We’ll be hosted by the wonderful Flo Terrill, Garnet’s Community School Coordinator and a veteran educator of 32 years. Flo was kind enough to take a few minutes to tell us a bit about her work and the Garnet community.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT YOUR JOB?
The students and my colleagues. I love to watch children learn and to see the excitement in their eyes when they make connections. We’re a family at Garnet, with an unspoken respect and sense of teamwork. We want the best for our kids and work our hardest every day to provide our students with a rich education—as well as support them socially and emotionally. We have an exceptional leader, Ms. Brenda Rose, whose never-ending support of her staff, students, and families makes a huge difference every day at Garnet.

WHAT ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL MAKES YOU PROUDEST?
The sense of family and community among our staff and students.

WHAT IS YOUR SCHOOL’S GREATEST CHALLENGE?
As a Title I school, we have children living in poverty whose basic needs are not being met, which makes it very difficult for them to learn. That is why we concentrate on the whole child at Garnet. Our mission is to build future leaders, thinkers, and innovators for the next generation. Many of our children have these skills—along with curiosity, grit, character, and resourcefulness, which are the keys to their success in learning.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR TOP PRIORITIES IF YOU HAD MORE FUNDING?
In a perfect world, Garnet could be a Community Hub, a place where students could come for food, clothing, health care, counseling, education, and enrichment activities. We’re trying to make this happen by becoming a Community School through a Concentration of Poverty Grant.

We also need smaller class sizes, especially in the lower grades, as those years are so pivotal to learning. Many of our students have needs that would be better met in classrooms with smaller numbers.

WHAT IS SOMETHING FUN/QUIRKY ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL, STUDENTS, ETC.?
We have a beautiful garden out front that was designed and created by local volunteers, and there are plans for our students to help maintain it.

Garnet was our community’s African American school until desegregation in 1967. We’re proudly named after the abolitionist Henry Highland Garnet, an escaped slave who became a well- known teacher, minister and orator.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SCHOOL TRADITIONS?
Spirit Week is always fun! Also Field Day, One School One Book, and Reading and Math Nights.

WHAT ELSE SHOULD WE KNOW ABOUT YOUR SCHOOL?
Our many offerings include summer programs, Title I tutoring, and tons of resources to help our students succeed. Our Judy Center works with families to help children prepare to be ready for school.

ANYTHING ELSE?
Yes! We are hosting a Community Resource Fair on Friday, May 6 from 5-7pm. Everyone is invited to join us in the playground behind Garnet to learn about the resources available to our school community—and to help Robbi and Matthew paint their bus

We’re so grateful for the people of Garnet elementary, where Alden and Kato both spent five great years and Augie is currently a fourth grader. We can’t wait to spend the day with them.

To learn more about the Busload of Books tour: www.busloadofbooks.com See less

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Recently:

The Busload of Books Tour is a year-long project to promote literacy and raise awareness of the challenges facing our nation’s public schools.

Author/illustrator duo Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr (that’s us) and our four kids will spend the 2022-2023 school year traveling the country in a school bus/tiny home, visiting Title I schools in all 50 states (plus DC), and giving away 25,000 hardcover books to students and teachers from underserved communities.

As we travel, we will be blogging, vlogging and posting frequently to social media. All of our content will be appropriate for bringing families and students along on our ultimate road trip.

The latest on Instagram:

The Daily Minute: 12.9.22
In which, having just arrived in Texas, we plan to spend the night in Jasper County.

#busloadofbooks
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Robbi got this text from Erica Bridwell (known to friends and colleagues as “B”), the first-grade teacher who hosted Jasper during Tuesday’s visit to North Pike Elementary School in Summit, Mississippi. We signed a copy of Everywhere, Wonder for B, and Robbi had written in the dedication to “keep fighting the good fight.”
 
It’s a difficult time to be a teacher, especially at a school with limited resources and especially when serving kids who bring additional challenges to school. Educators need a boost every bit as much as their students do.
 
We’re sharing this to show that the tour is also for them, and maybe even more so. 
 
“We miss y’all! It felt like a part of us left when y’all did. Y’all have NO IDEA the impact you’re making not only on kids, but adults too! I haven’t had the easiest school year so far. I have felt defeated, frustrated, and overwhelmed. My connection with my students has felt faint and really nonexistent… I’ve struggled to find ways to motivate them, encourage them more… then y’all come along and somehow it has put fire back into me. Your words have made me reflect since I read them… “keep fighting the good fight…” it was powerful. I had that “full moon feeling” that feeling of how much I love what I do. I thought of what it means to me and what those kids mean to me. I remembered why God chose me to do this. Your kind words lifted me up. So thank you. Thank y’all. What y’all are doing is amazing! Safe travels! I’ll be following!”
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The Daily Minute: 12.8.22
In which we bask in the sweet Louisiana night and brace ourselves for the enormity of Texas.

#busloadofbooks
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Whoever you are, take your seat on the bus!

Our adventure is your adventure. Our country is your country, too. Follow along with us!