Principal Road Trip Day 9: Athens

Pulling into Barrow Elementary in Athens, Georgia, I immediately noticed the school’s sign. I simply loved the message!

Principal Dr. Ellen Sabatini has been the principal of Barrow since 2010. She has seen her school go under a major renovation and addition during her time. A nod to the school’s past helped to retain its historical vibe after the renovation while also bringing forward a trendy design. The main hallway has a general reading area that also has two large televisions to display student work.

Barrow Elementary has the unique claim to be nestled literally within the University of Georgia. This allows a constant flow of education students to the building for practicums and student teaching experience, giving Barrow and other Athens schools a limitless supply of potential new hires. The challenge, she noted, is keeping those new teachers in the district. Due to the proximity to the University of Georgia, there is a large footprint of international students with ESL needs.

The heart and soul of every school is the media center. Media specialist Andy Plemmons is passionate about the role that the library can serve in supporting classroom teachers and students. He has created a makerspace in the media center, which he helped design for the renovation. Andy meets with staff each quarter to help partner media center activities with major units of study. Pretty amazing! I encourage you to meet Andy here.

Barrow has a Family Resource Office that supports students. They also have a very active PTO that assisted in raising money for a new playground and sending fourth- and fifth-grade students on a unique learning experience. They also have a STEM lab that teachers lead for their classrooms.

Hear from Dr. Sabatini as she shares the issues she stresses at Barrow Elementary.

Follow NAESP President Eric Cardwell as he travels on a nearly 4,500 mile road trip to visit schools around the country.