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As school year wraps up, some east AL teachers prepare for retirement

Published: May. 26, 2021 at 11:37 PM EDT
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EUFAULA, Ala. (WTVM) - Schools across the Chattahoochee Valley are wrapping up this week, with many already out of school. With COVID-19, it’s been a challenging and unusual school year, and it’s the final one for some teachers who are retiring.

Kim Jackson has been the band director at Admiral Moorer Middle School in Eufaula for 19 years. Each year brought its special moments.

“[I love] the 6th grade, when they’re beginners, watching the light bulb go off when they finally get something,” she said.

But this school year brought its challenges with the pandemic, especially when teaching music virtually.

“Playing an instrument back, we all didn’t play at the same time,” she said. “They didn’t all want to play because they weren’t in a situation at their house where they could play.”

But Jackson said she and her students persevered.

“It’s almost back to normal, and the kids loved being back,” Jackson said.

Thursday will be the last day they’re together. After 25 years overall as a teacher, Jackson will be retiring.

“It’s been a very emotional week,” she told News Leader Nine. “I’m sure there will be a few tears shed. Several of them have already said, ‘We’re going to miss you.’”

With an unusual and challenging year now behind them, Jackson is joining four other teachers in the district who are heading into retirement. Superintendent Joey Brannan said he is proud of their dedication, especially this year.

“It was a really tough year, on teachers probably more than most,” he sad. “We just appreciate all the hard work that they’ve done for all the years that they’ve done.”

Jackson is pursuing a new opportunity in education: a drum circle music program for special needs children across the area.

I was determined to start it here, and once I got it rolling, I’ve just seen the kids shine through it,” she said. “I don’t want to give up teaching full full time, but this way I can keep my hand it and enjoy it.”

While regular classes at Eufaula City Schools ending tomorrow, they’re gearing up for summer school next month. District officials say 45% of K-5 students and 30% of 6th through 12th graders are participating.

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