The week of March 13th - 17th is Education Support Professionals week - the week where we get to recognize and celebrate the amazing work our classified school employees do each and every day!
Over the course of each school year, we're frequently reminded of the vital importance of classified staff; these reminders are generally associated with times when their critical role becomes evident in relation to some event, activity, or issue.
With that being said, take just a moment to think about schools without these people - imagine the “day-to-day” of a typical school district minus secretaries, custodians, maintenance staff, cooks, bus drivers, mechanics, IT technicians, and paraeducators. Clearly, the task is impossible - our schools simply wouldn’t function without the contributions of our classified staff. It's been said before, but it's important to say it again - these people are the operational backbone of our school systems.
Without the work of our classified staff, there's no way we would be able to provide exceptional learning environments for kids: Most students would never arrive at school; buildings and facilities wouldn’t be clean and well-maintained; employees wouldn’t receive paychecks; computers wouldn’t get fixed; phones would go unanswered; kids would go without necessary nourishment; and many of the academic interventions administered on a daily basis simply wouldn't happen. These employees do incredible work!
A few quick facts about the work of our classified staff in Deer Park:
- In the 2021-22 school year, Deer Park’s food service staff served approximately 400,000 lunch and breakfast meals.
- Deer Park's bus drivers drive just under 300,000 miles each year getting kids to and from school and to their various activities. Also, DPSD mechanics received another “exceptional” rating for their bus maintenance from the Washington State Patrol…as they have each year for at least the last decade!
- In addition to the daily tasks related to attendance, registration, announcements/bulletins, answering constantly ringing phones, checking students in and out of school, and providing a welcoming smile to guests at our schools, secretarial staff in our buildings made over 31,000 changes/updates to student information in the district's student information system in the 2021-22 school year.
- Paraeducators work with kids and provide support for teachers in myriad ways, providing various intervention services to hundreds of students each week! The 68 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 typical 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 staff moved some 6 feet of snow from walkways this year (and dumped 2 pallets of de-icing salt and sand on walkways), this team mows and maintains 65 acres of grass on a weekly basis during the growing season, and they care for over 10,000 furnishings in our schools.
- Deer Park's payroll department (that is, a dept. of 1 person!) processes over $30 million in employee payroll on an annual basis - along with all the related statutorily required and regulatory responsibilities associated with payroll.
- Deer Park's accounts payable department (again, consisting of 1 person!) processes district payments to over 200 vendors on a monthly basis.
- The four employees that comprise Deer Park's IT Department, provide service and support for just around 6000 end-user devices, over 50 network switches, over 100 wireless access points, 20 servers, as well as support and management for no less than 20 software products.
The list of contributions our classified staff makes is seemingly endless. Fact is, providing students with a safe and productive learning environment is an incredible team effort and our classified staff do a fantastic 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 classified staff members who help to 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.
Thank you to our classified staff! 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!