Today is #GivingTuesday: a “global day of giving”
It’s hard to believe that we are celebrating our third year of hosting our very own version of #GivingTuesday. Two years ago, CIS of Kalamazoo 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 coordinator 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. Because we are back in person this year, we are thrilled to hand deliver a special gift to each. Check out the descriptions below to learn about the inspiring work being done by school staff.
Arcadia Elementary – Teacher Robin Burke always shows up and goes above and beyond for kids. Ms. Burke, thank you for doing your best to see your students have their needs met.
Edison Environmental Science Academy – Tonya Orbeck, head secretary, is always there when I need her. She makes lists and prints needed documents, as well as takes calls. She is prompt and wonderful at all she does. Thank you, Ms. Tonya!
El Sol Elementary – Ms. Baustert, an ESL teacher, works diligently to help our English learning students develop their English language skills. She does so by creating fun and enriching goal-oriented lessons for students of all levels.
Hillside Middle School – Ms. Ford, senior security officer, greets the students and staff every morning when they arrive. Her caring spirit shows every day when she asks students about basic needs like coats, hats, gloves, or if they are hungry. If a student is in need, she will refer them to the CIS office for help. Ms. Ford has also made donations to Kids’ Closet which benefits kids directly. We are fortunate to have such a wonderful CIS advocate at our school. Thank You, Miss Ford!
Kalamazoo Central High School – Juana Garza, the school principal’s administrative assistant, supports the entire faculty at K-Central. She coordinates so many auxiliary functions, which enable students more opportunities for life success.
King-Westwood Elementary – Peggy Crawford, an activity helper seems to be everywhere at once. Whether it’s supporting individual students, classrooms, recess support, running the book fair, or volunteering for Girls on the Run. She is a constant presence in the school and her support is felt schoolwide.
Lincoln Elementary – Takara Dunning, behavioral specialist. Thank you so much for all you do! You are appreciated!
Linden Grove Middle School – John Buchanan is a very important member of the LG community. As part of the support staff, Coach Buchanan helps to keep students and staff members safe all day long. Throughout the community and the school he is known to some as “John John” and his familial demeanor makes everyone feel comfortable to be open and be themselves. His kindness comes with a necessary sternness as well, especially in difficult situations. There is never a day when students do not have a positive experience or anecdote about him.
Loy Norrix High School – Carlotta Frazier, English teacher works hard and tirelessly, as so many other teachers do, to provide quality education and instruction to the students of Loy Norrix, especially during these most difficult times. We want her to know that she is doing a great job!
Maple Street Magnet School for the Arts – Assistant Principal, Erin Rolfe work very close with our CIS team to make sure that every student at Maple Street knows what CIS can do for everyone. She is constantly making sure that I am doing everything that I can do to support the mental health of our students.
Milwood Elementary – Marshera Ogletree, an activity helper, always goes above and beyond to help the Milwood students, both during and after school. She is always so kind and patient with all the students she works with.
Milwood Magnet Middle School – Kawther Mohammed, an ESL lead teacher, works not only with our ESL students, she works with any student in need. She is a tireless ambassador for Communities In Schools.
Northeastern Elementary – Deborah Bartley, lead secretary, supports our students and the CIS team nonstop. She makes sure that the students’ needs are met. Deb communicates quickly and efficiently while nurturing our students. She connects us to families and other resources whenever necessary.
Northglade Montessori Magnet School – Christy Roth, reading recover teacher, goes above and beyond every day to make sure our CIS students succeed. From donating books, to working with students, to being our mask fairy, Mrs. Roth is all in for our CIS students. Thank you, Mrs. Roth!
Parkwood Upjohn Elementary – Brandi Hughes, food services manager, works with care and efficiency to provide quality nutrition to our students. She is a team leader and builds connections with her staff and students.
Prairie Ridge Elementary – Terrence Hess, a behavioral specialist, does his best to help the school function properly! He is committed to helping students be successful in school and provides support to all staff and students. He is always willing to lend a helping hand.
Spring Valley Center for Exploration – Sharon VanDyke, a behavior specialist, has done an amazing job getting to know the students as this is her first year at Spring Valley. She has gone above and beyond to help students transition back to school after a year of virtual learning.
Washington Writers’ Academy – Secretary Joy Vandepol and retired behavioral specialist Yolanda Kirk are the mothers of the building with no questions asked. They support everyone from students to staff. Mrs. Kirk, “retired,” is still a pillar of this school.
Woods Lake Elementary School: A Magnet Center for the Arts– Maria Garcia, a bi-lingual paraprofessional, always goes above and beyond to ensure our bi-lingual students and families receive services and are aware of the services CIS provides. She is always more than willing to help with phone calls and recommending students who need support. We truly cannot say thank you enough for all the hard work she does.
Woodward School for Technology and Research – Cheryl Snow, a 4th grade teacher, always says yes to hosting tutors in her room, and finding innovative ways to meet the needs of her students and volunteers. This year, she has gone above and beyond by hosting the most volunteers in her classroom, as well as a German class from Kalamazoo College.
From all of us at Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo, thank you. We are proud to partner with you.