Jim Starrs

    Social Studies/Language Arts Teacher         

    Phone: 780-6552

    We had a wonderful video clip on kindness on Oct. 15's Coho Day. It dovetailed nicely with this poem that I heard. The poem is more complex, but the bottom line is the same. 


    Naomi Shihab Nye, 1952

    Before you know what kindness really is
    you must lose things,
    feel the future dissolve in a moment
    like salt in a weakened broth.
    What you held in your hand,
    what you counted and carefully saved,
    all this must go so you know
    how desolate the landscape can be
    between the regions of kindness.
    How you ride and ride
    thinking the bus will never stop,
    the passengers eating maize and chicken
    will stare out the window forever.
    Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
    you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
    lies dead by the side of the road.
    You must see how this could be you,
    how he too was someone
    who journeyed through the night with plans
    and the simple breath that kept him alive.
    Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
    you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing. 
    You must wake up with sorrow.
    You must speak to it till your voice
    catches the thread of all sorrows
    and you see the size of the cloth.
    Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
    only kindness that ties your shoes
    and sends you out into the day to gaze at bread,
    only kindness that raises its head
    from the crowd of the world to say
    It is I you have been looking for,
    and then goes with you everywhere
    like a shadow or a friend.
                                                                                                 cycling in Italy
    This last summer I celebrated a milestone birthday by cycling in the Dolomites and Alps of Italy. This picture is on the Passo Forcola di Livigno. It wasn't the highest or the most challenging, but it was sunny and the mountains were inspiring. After getting to the top (and enjoying a nice lunch break) I was treated to almost 34 km of mostly downhill to Tirano. This was the last day of a week of cycling.
    After all that exercise I'm pumped about starting another school year. I'm looking forward to soaring up and over challenges, enjoying nice breaks, and exhilirating along well-deserved stretches.
    This will be another year with my great teaching partners. Ms. Barrett and I will each teach language arts and social studies to half the students on our team. Ms. Evans will teach all the science classes. Ms. Speerstra will teach all the math classes.


    1958: I was born in New York City and lived there three years.


    1961: I moved to Chicago. There I started my school career in Ms. Hanburger’s kindergarten class.


    {Skip forward many years during which I continued my schooling through elementary school, high school, college, and post-graduate studies. I also developed my love of travel, bicycling, reading, the outdoors, art, and many other things.}

      travel    bicycle    reading    outdoors    art

    2018: I teach 6th grade social studies and language arts at Sakai Intermediate School. Even though I have been teaching in the Bainbridge Island School District since 1990 (a long time) where I’ve been happy and lucky to work with great fellow teachers, great families, and the best students in the world, every year brings something new for me. 

    This year we'll have some things the same and some different. We'll still have our classrooms side by side on the 100-south level of Sakai. We'll still teach the same subjects and get to know you as individuals. Students will have language arts and social studies classes with one teacher and those classes will still be scheduled to be back-to-back. The new things this year will be details like our new ChromeBooks and small tweaks to the curriculum.

    I've had a good summer--some travel as mentioned above and some work on projects at home. I'll take one more quick trip to visit family in the DC area and then I'll be back getting our classroom ready. I hope to have fun working and learning with you this year. 

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