This year’s project is done.

Ernest Hemingway, (1899-1961),is shown here in the far right with John Dos Passos, (far left), Joris Evans, (back to camera) and Sidney Franklin, (American bullfighter) in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War.

As in the past, at just about 9:20 AM this morning the kids all lined up along the hallway lockers, and as music, barely discernable this year, mumbled over the intercom, the fifth grade marched out of the building.

On to middle school.

Hooray. I found this year’s fifth graders to be the noisiest, most anarchistic group ever. It was true when they were in kindergarten and it never changed. They were charming. smart and funny. A few were amazingly artistic. I grew to like them all. But the artroom was a challenging place whenever they walked in.

Our building, the smallest in the district, had no retirees this year. This is the first time that has been the case for as long as I can remember.

Our principal is leaving for a job in the central office, so there were some farewell rituals. But no retirement parties.

There is an interview committee for the new principal. For the most part, the older teachers stay away from committees such as these. The common complaint is that these interview committees are just a formality and the district administration doesn’t really listen.

I suspect that we’ll get a 29 year old guy who taught for three years and ran to get administrative certification because he didn’t really like teaching kids anyway. Then we’ll have a year where he kind of lays low, avoiding making waves. Then we’ll have the year of territorial battles. Then he’ll move on to an assistant superintendent for curriculum job in another district somewhere.

But that is for next year to worry about. Today I said my goodbyes, packed up my things, cleaned off the floors of my stuff for the summer cleaning crew, and sent an-email to the Local Governing Board thanking them for their hard work representing the interests of kids and teachers.

Tomorrow morning Anne and I fly off to Spain for two weeks. Madrid, Barcelona and Andalucia.

We follow in the footsteps of my father (who fought against Franco’s army and in defense of the Republic in 1936), of Hemingway, of Picasso and El Greco and the Moors. It is my first visit to Spain, but I feel a special bond. And I am excited to be going there.

I am not bringing my laptop, my iPhone or even a GPS. Anne bought a paper map! Can you believe it? If I find an internet cafe or a lavanderia with internet service, I may post along the way. Otherwise, talk to you in a couple of weeks.

Go Cubbies.

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