Quality and creativity permeated the submissions for the NYSUT 2014 School-Related Professionals Recognition Day contest, making the job for the selection committee. ever the more difficult.
“Our members really stepped up to the plate this year in recognizing SRP Recognition Day,” said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “From creating wonderful events, to continuing the celebration though union activism, the winning entries exemplify what is truly worth celebrating: your professionalism and creativity.”
First place went to the Long Beach School Employees Association. After attending a disheartening Board of Education meeting, LBSEA President Joanne Rea decided to cancel the local’s holiday party and instead use the money to buy LBSEA logo sweatshirts for her more than 400 members. They wore them as a show of solidarity, unity and strength on SRP Recognition Day.
But the local didn’t stop there.
When LBSEA food service professionals members were threatened with privatization, members donned their sweatshirts and canvassed the community with fliers in a door-to-door campaign to stop the district’s privatization plan.
LBSEA wins a two-for-one for the October 2015 SRP Conference at the Saratoga Hilton.
Second place was awarded to the Penfield Education Association, led by Russ Byer. This teacher-local started the school day by showing a one-minute video during the morning announcements in all six buildings. The video illustrated all of the SRP job titles and how they impact the student day.
Sue Mietus, editor of the Penfield EA newsletter, The Broadside, dedicated a special edition to honor the district’s SRPs. It included thank you messages from the local’s officers and the principals of each building and 13 pages of photographs of their SRPs, with names, buildings, job titles and testimonials from staff members. Coffee and cookie celebrations in each building rounded out the day.
“Our SRPs are the glue that hold everything together. They really are super and I’m proud to be spearheading this project as a LAP team member this year,” Mietus said. NYSUT will send the Penfield EA a basket of Fair Trade goodies to share at their next local meeting.
Third place went to Grand Island SRP local in western New York. President Linda Lichtenthal had a tough time scheduling the celebration this year because of weather. In November many areas in her region were buried in snow and schools were closed. Despite the delay, Lichtenthal asked students in the Grand Island Tech Club to engrave pub glasses with the school’s Viking mascot for her membership of more than 250. The students learned to use an Epilog Laser Engraver in the process.
“We chose this gift because, as SRPs, we work so closely with the students and we wanted to give something back to show our support in their education,” Lichtenthal said. “This helped them a lot. It was a learning experience and they were able to raise money for future projects.”
The local has also ordered SRPs Make a Difference T-shirts for all their members and on Dec.10, they finally held their celebration. Third prize is an SRP pen for each member.
NYSUT also had two Special Recognition Awards this year. These go to the Middle Country Secretarial Association and the Port Washington Para Association.
Middle Country embraced the spirit of recognition day with a great photo and message board for the school and community to see. It included photos of their members and all the other SRPs in their schools – working to unite everyone. Students and staff also attached Post-It notes with messages about how they appreciate the work of the support staffers.
The Port Washington Paras had three members speak at their district school board meeting about how they make a difference in their students’ lives. Co-presidents Pat Baglio and Brian Broderick said members Pat Baglio, Linda Cicchette and Lori Leeds chose to address the board members to enlighten them about what SRPs really do.
Other worthy submissions include Wayland-Cohocton ESPs for their project of having students design business cards for each job title and the Baldwinsville ESP for giving back to the community by making and sponsoring a mitten tree and making donations to the food bank. The Monroe Woodbury TA created a “Thank you SRPs for helping Bloom” flower bulletin board; the Glens Falls SRPs used the district website to highlight their SRPs; the United Teaching Assistants of Harborfields shared a student video; the Devereux Staff Association included all workers in their celebrations; the Galway TA members gave handwritten personalized thank you notes to all SRPs; the Whitesville TA gave out treats and created gratitude signs; and SABEA held a brunch celebration on SRP Recognition Day.
A special thank you goes to the West Seneca School District for working so hard to recognize their SRPs. Though snowed out twice, the third time was the charm and school administrators, superintendents, and school board members visited each school personally bringing treats to all the support staffers. They had fliers in all buildings and made morning announcements thanking SRPs for a great job.