The staff of the Sioux Falls School District cannot be praised enough. Each day, nearly 3,000 people come to work for the students of this community: keeping hallways and classrooms clean and sanitized; assisting students who are learning the basics of English – and often how to hold a pencil for the first time – and welcoming them to Sioux Falls; helping those who are sick get medical attention; making healthy meals to keep minds focused on learning; teaching the life skills students will need to succeed in the future; and working with students who are struggling with difficulties at home. We are proud of each member of our staff, from the curriculum coordinators to the clerical staff in the school office, from administrators to psychologists, and from child nutrition workers to AP Spanish teachers. Despite the day-to-day challenges they constantly meet, and the larger challenges, like massive state funding cuts to education which result in reduced pay, our employees exceed expectations.
So while it is not surprising, it is always appreciated when members of our staff are recognized by our constituents, the national media, and by the business community in Sioux Falls.
In the past two weeks, several of our teachers have received such recognition.
Wal-Mart surprised 10 teachers at Garfield Elementary with $100 gift cards through their Teacher Rewards Program. Because our teachers routinely spend hundreds of dollars of their own personal money on classroom supplies each year, this program seeks to help cover those costs for the dedicated teachers in the community. The teachers honored at this ceremony were Kayla Carlson-K04, Julie Nelson-103, Kathy Holter-201, Angela Hall-453, Sheri Schneider-Math Teacher, Courtney Wynthein-Reading Teacher, Emily Leskee-Art, Lennie Davis-Music, Gretchen Eisma-457 and Char Bentaas-Special Education.
On October 4th, Office Max surprised dedicated teachers around the country with similar rewards, this time bringing Garfield Elementary Teacher Holly Bickley $1000 worth of school supplies to honor her and her devotion to students. Furthermore, Office Max surprised Garfield Principal Nancy Duncan with an additional $1000 in school supplies donated by Office Max customers at the local Sioux Falls store.
And finally, High School Instructional Coach, Deb Wolf, was named as one of the 20 Educators to Watch by the TechSmith Corporation. Her dedication to Mastery Learning in her chemistry classroom led to the innovative use of “vodcasting”, in which students can watch the lecture part of class as their “homework”, lending more time to experimentation and answering of questions in the classroom. Various other lessons are a part of the vodcasts, so that students are able to learn at their own pace, pause and rewind lectures and lessons as necessary, and become masters of the material. You can learn more about Deb Wolf and the elite company she shares, by checking out this MarketWatch article.
We could not be prouder of our staff, and announcements like this share with you the honors they so greatly deserve.