Today is #GivingTuesday: a “global day of giving”
It’s hard to believe that we are celebrating our fourth year of hosting our very own version of #GivingTuesday. We launched an initiative to do the “giving” on #GivingTuesday by surprising an individual who has gone above and beyond for students in each Kalamazoo Public School building with CIS presence.
Each CIS site team has selected a KPS staff member who has demonstrated a commitment to working with CIS to help students succeed and making sure students’ needs are met. On this special day, we are delivering a special gift to each person. Check out the descriptions below to learn about the inspiring work being done by school staff.
Arcadia Elementary, Jennifer Eubanks, secretary – Jennifer Eubanks is an honest, caring, and on-top-of it secretary. Any time there is a student in need she is willing to check up on them, whether that be for a scraped knee, tummy ache, or a student in distress. She also goes above and beyond to stay involved with parents—answering questions, calls and assisting with conferences. To help even more, she cultivates community within the staff by planning/hosting event nights, as well as creating community by participating in the creating and implementing of event team nights. Truly, she is a wonderful co-worker and deliberately, consistently, cares for the overall community of Arcadia.
Jessica Rasnake, secretary – Jessica Rasnake is a devoted secretary, who is one of the ﬁrst in the building and last to leave. She works hard to be helpful to everyone in the ofﬁce, teachers, staff, students, and parents. There is no information she does not know, and she is always patient and willing to help someone ready to learn. She is willing to help students that need extra guidance, work to see students in trouble succeed, as well as assist parents to varying degrees to see their student/s succeed. There is nothing she cannot and will not do to see Arcadia a place of growth for families, staff, and students. She sees potential in the building and does all the behind the scenes to ensure Arcadia reaches its goals.
Edison Environmental Science Academy, Kimyatta Armstrong, food services supervisor – “Ms. Kim” works tirelessly for our kids every day. She ensures more than just nutritious meals for our children; she is efficient and caring toward each student. Ms. Kim is an extremely important member of the Edison Family, and we are very fortunate to have her! Thanks Ms. Kim!
El Sol Elementary, Mr. Catarino, activity helper – We would like to recognize Mr. Catarino because of his many years of dedication to the students and families of El Sol Elementary. He makes himself available to all students and staff. He works as a bridge to connect families and students with services provided for CIS. He creates long lasting relationships with our families, and they are always happy to see him. Mr. Catarino is greatly appreciated here at El Sol Elementary School.
Hillside Middle School, Lucille Neal, Interventionist – Mrs. Neal is always ready to listen to students and work with them to help them when they need help. She understands where the students are in their development and how to talk with them when they need help.
Kalamazoo Central High School, Rebecca Kuesters, secretary – Becky is always willing to help CIS but more importantly she helps me as a Success Coach. She runs all of the Tier III case managed student transcripts and gathers important data for our building to assist our team. Becky has a warm heart and giving spirit.
King-Westwood Elementary, Jennifer Lesterhouse, teacher 3rd grade – Ms. Lesterhouse goes above and beyond every day. Each of her students is welcomed into a nurturing and challenging environment – one in which individual and group needs are met. She continually assesses and identifies strengths and needs with her students and reaches out to CIS and other resources to ensure her students get the support they need. When it comes to scheduling tutors or other supports, Ms. Lesterhouse prioritizes this time, showing a great deal of respect for the tutor and the student. She is simply the best.
Lincoln Elementary, Aaron Wilson, paraprofessional – Mr. Wilson is all about helping students here at Lincoln. He helped create a program entitled “Caugh Doing Good” to highlight students doing the right thing in school. He also helps facilitate a program called “Building Healthy Communities” here at Lincoln, which helped provide new playground equipment for all of our students. Mr. Wilson is engaged with helping every student. He finds time to coach basketball and run his non-profit “Charlie’s Place”.
Linden Grove Middle School, Mr. Michael Hughes, Principal – This is Mr. Hughes’ first year as principal at LG. and his first time working in a school that has CIS. He has been accommodating, flexible, and open to working with right from the start! Mr. Hughes embraces the CIS Model and truly wants the best for the students here at LG. Having Mr. Hughes’ support in our mission makes our work here possible.
Loy Norrix High School, Mr. Edward Gross, 504 coordinator – Mr. Gross is an extremely engaged and enthusiastic coworker. He is friendly and hardworking. Mr. Gross is extremely helpful with all the CIS supports put into the school. He is always asking in which ways can he support us. We love working with Mr. Gross at Loy Norrix!
Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts, Ms. Karol Ford, security officer – Ms. Ford helps out CIS during the daytime and after school by always offering the different things CIS provides with every staff, student, and parent(s) that walk by the security office. She is always willing to help support CIS by donating clothes, providing ice cream sundaes for ASP, as well as always making sure that our team is doing alright physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Milwood Elementary, Mrs. Uhl – Upper El Resource room teacher – Mrs. Uhl always goes above and beyond for her students. She is an incredible teacher!
Milwood Magnet Middle School, Keith Jackson, day custodian – Mr. Jackson is always willing to help and he is very supportive of the CIS mission to help students. He is always kind and helpful. Keeping the school cleaned and safe for students.
Northeastern Elementary, Darci Dumont-Phillips, teacher 5th grade – Ms. Phillips goes above and beyond for her 5th grade students and is always ready and eager to partner with CIS by referring students, utilizing our services, and collaborating to meet their needs every day. Whether it’s making sure the right students are participating in the right groups, to making sure they have everything they need for field trips like camp, Ms. Phillips is amazing.
Lisa Newberry, teacher 3rd grade – Ms. Newberry is an amazing teacher, and huge support to CIS! She works tirelessly to serve our students and school, and is always ready to collaborate to meet the needs of our students as a team! Ms. Newberry also donates to our Kids Closet on a regular basis, and is ready to help wherever she can. Not only is she a rockstar in her classroom, but to CIS and our school as a whole.
Northglade Montessori Magnet School, Cyndi DeYoung, school secretary – Ms. Cyndi shows up for the kids every day. Many of our CIS kids visit her office every day for playground injuries, snacks, or just to give her a hug. She works hand in hand with the CIS team to make sure kids are coming to school, and that they have everything that they need to succeed. We couldn’t do it without her, and that’s why Ms. Cyndi is our Giving Tuesday award recipient.
Paramount Charter Academy, Genevieve Wrobleski – Genevieve has been a HUGE help to CIS. This is the first year we have been in this school and I could not have done this without her. She has such a special relationship with students and parents. Genevieve tells me anything I need to know about the students and families because she knows them so well. She also brings in items for Kids Closet.
Parkwood Upjohn Elementary, Monaesha Phillips, lead activity helper – “Ms. Mo” helps our students each day to make respectful, responsible, and safe decisions in the cafeteria and on the playground. She ensures that kids have fun, enjoy fresh air, and blow off steam before heading back to the classroom and encourages other activity helpers do the same. Additionally, when kids are asked if they have a grownup at school that they can talk with if they need support, many will reply that Ms. Mo is their go-to. She sees to it that kids have what they need both in physical terms (a warm coat in tough weather) and emotional support as well (a warm hug on a tough day).
Phoenix High School, Melissa Ottesen and Ryan LaBudda, new comers teachers – Ms. Ottesen and Mr. LaBudda are champions for their students and consistently look for outside resources, such as Communities In Schools, to benefit their students.
Prairie Ridge Elementary, Joletta Drake, Principal – I have witnessed Mrs. Drake go above and beyond to assist students in need more than once. She has no problem reaching into her own pocketbook to assure that students as well as parents have the things they need in order to succeed. Mrs. Drake does the things she does from her heart and not for notoriety.
Spring Valley Center for Exploration, Amy Bell, food service supervisor – Amy goes above and beyond for the Afterschool program. Food service currently doesn’t have anyone to stay and prepare their meals so they are made ahead and always cold. Amy goes out of her way to make hot meals for the afterschool program kids whenever she can and makes sure that they have the best meals possible.
Tonya Thompson, D & L Custodian – Tonya goes above and beyond every day to not only make sure our school is clean but to connect with staff and students. She is always anticipating what students and staff might need and is one step ahead. She listens and finds solutions. She cares deeply for our students and finds anyway she can to help them achieve.
Washington Writers’ Academy, Joy VandePol, secretary – When I first showed up on day 1, Ms. Joy has always been so kind, generous and willing to go the extra mile for these kids. I have seen Ms. Joy juggle several things for myself and everyone else around. If you need a soft hand to make you feel better, you go to Ms. Joy. If you’re tooth fell out and you need a tooth capsule, she’s got that for you. Ms. Joy is a Joy to Washington, and I am so happy to give thanks to her for all she does! Thank you, Ms. Joy!
Woods Lake Elementary School, Kelsey Calton, teacher 3rd grade – Ms.Calton shows up every Tuesday and Thursday for our CIS program. After she has taught her 3rd grade class all day. She is always prepared and excited to be with us. She gives her all. The students are always engaged because she brings fun and educational work to the table. She very much appreciated.
Woodward School for Technology and Research, Serena Smith and Claudia Barbee, food services staff – Serena and Claudia are our lunch ladies here at Woodward. These two are ALWAYS going above and beyond for our kiddos to make sure their tummies are full. The love they have for the kids is expressed with the food that is served daily. Serena even serves the afterschool kids! We appreciate them both, so much.
From all of us at Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, thank you. We are proud to partner with you.