The week of March 9th-13th is Education Support Professionals Week! Please join us in recognizing our classified staff by showing your appreciation for Deer Park’s amazing support staff who work each and every day to see that our schools provide an amazing educational experience for the kids we serve.

At various times throughout a typical school year, we have occasion to highlight the important work of our classified employees; this “occasional mention” generally takes place at times when their critical role becomes evident in relation to some event, activity, or issue. That said, take just a moment to think about schools without these folks – imagine the “day-to-day” of a typical school district minus secretaries, custodians, maintenance staff, cooks, bus drivers, mechanics, IT staff, paraeducators, and other specialists. Of course, the task is impossible, as our schools simply wouldn’t be great places for kids without the contributions of our classified staff. It’s been said before, but it’s important to say it again – these folks are are the operational backbone of our school systems.

Fact is, without the work of our support staff, school districts simply wouldn’t function:  Most students would never arrive at school, buildings and facilities wouldn’t be well-maintained and clean, employees wouldn’t receive paychecks, computers wouldn’t get fixed, phones would go unanswered, kids would go without necessary nourishment, and many important and impactful academic interventions would never take place.

A few quick facts about the work of our classified staff in Deer Park:

  • In the 2018-19 school year, Deer Park’s food service staff served just under 170,000 lunches, 95,000 breakfasts, and 725 after-school snacks!
  • Deer Park bus drivers accumulated almost 300,000 miles in the 2018-19 school year getting kids to and from school and to their various activities. Additionally, ONCE AGAIN, Deer Park’s bus mechanics received an “exceptional” rating from the Washington State Patrol (based on annual bus inspections performed by WSP).
  • In addition to the daily tasks related to attendance, registration, announcements/bulletins, answering constantly ringing phones, monitoring our single-point-of-entry vestibules (checking students, parents, and guests in and out of school), ordering and managing school supplies, and providing a welcoming smile to guests at our schools, secretarial staff continue to be the heartbeat of our school buildings. The work these ladies accomplish amidst the “organized chaos” of a school office is absolutely amazing!
  • Paraeducators work with kids and provide support for teachers in myriad ways, providing important intervention and support services to some 1300 of our students each week! The 70 paraeducators working in Deer Park Schools provide an annual average of 97,000 hours of instructional support that make a huge difference for kids.
  • In addition to routine maintenance tasks, which include daily care for over 360,000 square feet of building space in nine separate facilities around the district, our facilities/maintenance/custodial responds quickly to help mitigate health concerns related to viruses, they move massive amounts of snow each winter (while also spreading tons of gravel and de-icer), they care for and mow 65 acres of grass on a weekly basis during the growing season, and save the district thousands (if not hundreds of thousands!) each year by performing repairs, updates, renovations, and improvements in-house.
  • Deer Park’s payroll department (consisting of 1 person!) processed close to $25 million in employee/benefits for DPSD employees in the 2018-19 school year. This role supports employee onboarding, provides employees benefits support, coordinates/reconciles employee leaves, supports retirement planning/eligibility/reporting, and analyzes a multitude of payroll reports and calculations to ensure accuracy and audit compliance.
  • Deer Park’s accounts payable department (again, consisting of 1 person!) processes district payments to over 200 vendors on a monthly basis, reconciling and accounting for all of the district’s purchasing activity. In addition to this duty, this person also manages Deer Park’s student and staff data, ensuring compliance related to course, student, and staff information reported to the state (to include standardized state course codes, student demographic information, enrollment data, student schedules, grades, and program participation).
  • The four employees that comprise Deer Park’s IT Department, provide service, support, and security services for approximately 4000 end-user devices (consisting of 4 different operating systems), over 50 switches, close to 150 wireless access points, 15 individual server environments, as well as support and management for no less than 20 different software products.

The aforementioned provides just a quick look at the ways support staff ensure that school happens every day; honestly, the actual list of contributions is seemingly endless. There is no doubt that providing students with a safe and productive learning environment is an incredible team effort and our classified staff do an amazing job of keeping our district operating efficiently and safely. Please, don’t let this “behind the scenes” work go unnoticed. Take a moment to thank a classified staff member for the work they do. Deer Park is fortunate to have so many phenomenal education support professionals who help ensure that students are safe, secure, and cared for from the time they leave home in the morning until the end of the day when they return home.

A sincere thank you to all of the professionals that provide support to our schools. You play a critical role in our success as we work together to provide the best educational experience possible for the kids in the Deer Park School District. Please join us in recognizing these dedicated individuals as we celebrate our Education Support Professionals this week!

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