The impact of secretaries, registrars, and bookkeepers on student achievement is all but ignored by the general public. Why? These individuals are key to our schools being able to assist parents, register new students, or stay afloat financially. Their jobs require a constant adaptation of their skills.
The “polar vortex” event in early January (2014) resulted in districts cancelling school because the temperatures plunged below zero. School staff stayed home in the face of this terrible weather. Well, all staff except custodians in many districts, who stayed at their buildings around the clock to make sure the heating and plumbing systems were safe and would be ready for use when students and staff returned. Custodial and maintenance work goes far beyond cleaning the cafeteria after lunch or making sure the grass on the sports fields is mowed. The work is diverse and yet another essential cog in the functionality of our schools.
One of the many economic realities of American life right now is the fact that families often struggle to put food on the table. Students come to school not having had adequate meals and studies consistently show that an under-nourished child will struggle to learn. Enter our food service professionals. They provide our students with a nutritious breakfast and lunch, meals which they might not otherwise get. Their work helps our students stay nourished, focused, and learning.
They are often the first person students see as they begin their school day. They may be one of the first persons to notice bullying behavior. They have the responsibility of safely navigating dangerous highways and local roads to deliver our children to school each and every day. They are more than just bus drivers, rather they play a vital role in getting the learning process started every day.
The demands of classroom instruction are well-documented and daunting. When coupled with students needing special assistance, the prospect of authentic, lasting learning can seem next to impossible. This might all be true were it not for the work of Paraeducators. They provide valued instrumental support to students in both regular and special education classes and, in many districts, work side-by-side with the teachers helping severely-disabled students obtain the same valuable education which other students receive.