Welcome back Jeffco teachers! Here’s our message to our amazing staff heading back to work tomorrow!
Message from Jonna:
When volunteering for the Action Center’s School Supply Distribution this week, I was reminded of the important role our teachers and staff play for those students and families who may be dealing with difficult times.
We often talk about the Free and Reduced Lunch rate in Jeffco – it’s about a third of our students (34%). We have 86,000 students in Jeffco, so that would mean about 28,000 kids in our community are at or near the poverty level. Worse yet, our homeless numbers are right around 2,000 (+/-).
So while there are many of us well aware of the numbers, it really needs to be pointed out that our teachers and staff are the ones who are up close and personal every day of the school year. The numbers are such that, no one can say it’s limited to the “high poverty” areas any more. Homelessness and poverty happen everywhere in our community and touches all of us. It doesn’t make any difference if you are in the Ralston Valley area or Bear Creek.
For these students, the one constant throughout is the school’s teachers and staff. They know the students who are undergoing difficult times. They are tuned into what’s going on at home, and what the family situation is. They can see when a youngster comes to school hungry or stressed.
It’s our teachers and staff who are on the first line of defense. They are the ones who try to find a way to help without making it seem obvious, and they are the ones advocating for some of our kids (our Jeffco kids) who may have no one at home who can.
Parents, when you walk through the doors for the first time this school year, open your arms (and heart) and give our teachers and staff a very warm welcome. For them, being on the job isn’t just about the hours between the morning school bell and end of day. For them it’s about getting to know and truly care for every child who walks through their door.
Be patient with the new staff and appreciate the years of experience of those more seasoned. Be grateful that there is no need for them to advocate for your child today; but things change and bad stuff can happen, and if or when it does, you will be relieved to know our teachers and staff would do for your child what they do for some many others.
Welcome back Jeffco teachers and staff and thank you for caring so much!
Message from Shawna:
I remember the day after the election in November and walking through the halls at my school. I remember the tears and hugs from some very special teacher friends. That is a bond that Jonna and I share with so many of you. We love Jeffco and so do you!
For the first time in many years, I’m not the PTA President and I’m not going to be there to provide a PTA welcome and breakfast to my favorite teachers and staff in the world. I’m missing that. We’re off to middle school this year with all new teachers and staff to get to know. A few I know from our joint advocacy efforts and I’m so grateful to them for that link. To me, it means so much more than you’ll ever understand. You are my heroes for standing up for kids!
What our teachers provide for our students (and for parents), is so much further than a basic education. There are always those who become a part of your family and, if you’re lucky, some of your best friends. I know there are teacher friends watching out for my daughter (and yours!) every single day. I am grateful for the support they give our children and also to me!
I’m grateful for the teachers and staff who are advocates for education and for our kids. Though you may not ever personally be “our teacher,” there are so many of you who are my favorite friends in the world! I’m in awe of your determination, commitment, and the grace with which you go about your work.
While I’m still extremely sad that so many staff members have left our district over turmoil and often wish I could turn back time, I feel the need to thank those of you who have remained. Your commitment to Jeffco, in taking a reduction to your salary, in receiving less than other districts, and in loving our district and kids will always be appreciated. Thank you for staying. Thank you for thinking of the future and for joining with us to make Jeffco what it should be.
Summer is that time that proves to me that the staff at the school is better than I am! Trying to get things accomplished with kids in tow is a tough job! Sometimes impossible!
Once I drop off my daughter, and after I dry my first day tears, I’ll lift my Starbucks up to cheer you all on for another amazing year and know that I’ll be grateful for all of your efforts for every Jeffco kid!
While you are working, we’ll continue working on advocacy to help all of the students, teachers, and staff that we love.
I wish you an amazing year filled with positivity, appreciation, love, respect and, hopefully, a bigger paycheck coming soon. We know how much you donate to “Support Jeffco Kids.”
One last thing – Thank You!