Ukiah Unified School District

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The Power of Partnership, Innovation and Learning

School Desk Blog: Many have positive impact on our students’ lives

Everyone knows the positive impact teachers and principals have on students’ lives. When I walk through classrooms, I see teachers who care deeply for kids knowing that without developing a relationship with students, learning falters. But there are others on campus who have a positive effect on student learning and campus safety. A safe and clean learning environment is essential for learning. There are many staff at a school site that support students’ learning and develop a positive learning atmosphere.

Every day I am in the school lunchroom. At Pomolita, we have three wonderful people who serve breakfast, snacks, and lunch. I see them interact with kids, knowing their names and asking questions about clothes, new haircuts, and favorite teams. The “Lunch Ladies” go out of their way to make food the students like and make special food for students with specific dietary needs. They smile and give a “hi” by name as students get food and walk by them. They work very hard to help make the kids feel good about eating and going through the lunch line. They truly care about the students and love their job. I appreciate what they do for our students.

Students need to feel safe at school. We have four campus security people who help students know the rules, but also keep a watchful eye on our campus. They develop wonderful relationships with our students. There are many students who go to campus security when they have problems at home or need help with friendships. On yearbook signing day, there is always a long line for campus security to sign yearbooks. Students trust and have great respect for our security team. 

Our after-school ASES program is a terrific help to our students. The program is staffed by dedicated people who incorporate homework, arts, crafts, and physical activities after school. It is a fun and successful time for students. There are specific people who work in our ASES program, but most are employees who add a few hours to their day. Many are para-professionals who work in classrooms in our special education program. These employees who work with some of our neediest students are phenomenal. Their empathy and patience is heartfelt. They are exceptional people who have great care for the kids they work with. It takes a very special person to do this job.

Bus Drivers have superpowers! They can concentrate on driving 60 kids around town and in the country, all while students are… being kids. I think they have two eyes on the road and one on the riders! They also know all the students on their route and where they get off. When a student, for some reason, doesn’t show up at home after school, it is the bus driver we contact first. They always know who is on their bus and what bus stop they exit on. I have had bus drivers call me about students with concerns on many occasions. They ask kids how their day went and always greet them by name as they get on the bus. They are terrific people with superpowers who care about our students. 

The custodians at our site are amazing. They do the tough jobs at our school. They deal with trash cleaning up after students, sweeping and mopping, all the tough jobs at school, and making our schools clean and safe. They get balls out of trees and off roofs, put away pallets of books and materials, fix all kinds of things that break, and check on fire extinguishers, to name just a few things. They also find time to help out with a special needs student who wants to watch them or talk to a student who needs an adult to talk to. School custodian jobs are tough and physically hard, but at Pomolita, our custodians care about kids and have big hearts.

I can’t ignore the office staff. This is the heart of the school. For a school to run well, the office staff must be welcoming, knowledgeable, efficient, and kid-friendly. Our staff creates relationships with students and are very supportive. 

A well-operating school should have many adults who support students. The most important relationship in a student's life is the relationship between student and teacher in the classroom. But there are many other people who have a positive effect on a student’s life and education. Here’s to all the support staff at a school site who love their jobs and care deeply for our students.