I have been thinking recently about the support staffs at school. This is the custodial/maintenance people, bus drivers, kitchen staff and the para-pro’s. You could also include the coaches that are involved in the school district as well. At this time of year, some of these people get recognized. Usually it is the custodians for getting the buildings shined up for the first day and the cooks for making the Welcome Back Breakfast. But outside of this, there isn’t a lot of attention given even though they can make a significant impact on the students.
Now this lack of attention or recognition is not intentional in anyway. They just aren’t usually in the public eye unless something goes wrong. The fact that they do their jobs well is probably the reason people don’t tend to think of them. The teachers, principals, superintendent and school boards are most often the first line of sight when someone looks at a school district. But the support staff is like the glue that holds it all together.
For example, it was 20 minutes before a home track meet was about to start. At my school we use an electric cart to move hurdles and starting blocks during the meet. This is a huge need in order to keep everything running smoothly and on time. I go to get the cart and the key is missing. After a short panic, I call our Head of Maintenance on his cell phone. It’s after work hours for him so I am hoping he picks up. Long story short, he answers, leaves his house, rushes to the track and wires the cart so we can use it for the night. Then assures me he will get it fixed permanently later in the week, which he did. On his own time, without complaint he was there. You cannot put a price tag on that. In the big picture, that had an impact on hundreds of people (athletes, coaches, workers, parents and fans).
What if you had a child that needed a 1-on-1 aide. Wouldn’t you want someone as close to an Angel as possible taking care of them when you’re not there. What about a child with severe food allergies. The cooks are literally in a life or death situation in some cases. There is no room for error. Anyone who has sent their kid to school for the first day of Kindergarten can appreciate the bus driver who greets them with a genuinely warm smile. And the first time your kid is on a team, who doesn’t want the coach that teaches the skills of the game, while giving them a positive experience that will keep them wanting more.
Bottom line, a school district doesn’t function without them. It is to their credit that they go unnoticed, but lets remember throughout this school year to make it a point to say “Thank You” and “Good Job”.