The Suffolk School Board and Suffolk Public Schools recently recognized the top Partners-in-Education and top volunteers for the 2018-19 school year.
Partner-In-Education organizations work directly with schools to provide financial resources and donations, as well as human resources. This year, throughout the 21 schools and programs/centers, 77 unique organizations served as Partners-In-Education. Many of those serve in more than one school, bringing the total number of partnerships up to 112 this year.
The division ended the 2018-19 school year with more than 2,200 registered volunteers. Since last July, the number of volunteer hours logged in the Volunteer Connect system totals 7,010 hours of donated time. According to the Independent Sector Network, these logged hours are equivalent to a $193,000 financial contribution to Suffolk Public Schools. Volunteers have to self-report their hours, so the division estimates hundreds of additional volunteer hours have not been logged. For the 2019-2020 school year, Suffolk Public Schools will begin to using the free volunteer management module of its Raptor visitor system, which will automatically capture volunteer hours.
- Katie Seibel is a devoted volunteer at Hillpoint Elementary School, who has logged more than 460 volunteer hours this school year. Seibel has counted out positive behavior reward tickets, stuffed envelopes, designed t-shirts for students and staff, prepared fundraiser packets, and shelved and repaired many library books. In addition, she volunteers countless hours during yearly book fairs. “She is a value to our school and we very much appreciate her service,” said principal Catherine Pichon.
- Barbara Howell, who has logged 570 hours this school year, volunteers at Oakland Elementary School. She works mostly in the school library, supporting the reading lessons and celebrating students’ achievements in Accelerated Reader. Ms. Howell read all of the Battle of the Books titles and created questions to help prepare our students before the city-wide competition. She was a Young Writers Award judge and supported our holiday dance and March Madness events. “As thoughtful as she is helpful, she has been known to show up with high-interest books to supplement our collection and meet the needs of our students,” said principal Temesha Dabney.
- Michelle Brooks has logged close to 750 volunteer hours this year at John Yeates Middle School. Not only did she step up to the challenge of re-imagining school’s PTSA program by serving as president, but she also became an integral extension of the front office staff. She has also worked closely with the library media specialist to make literacy and reading a priority in our building. In addition, Ms. Brooks has been instrumental in putting together activities to foster continued connections with JYMS students, families, and communities. “She is a wonderful example of our community investing in our school, through her ideas, actions, and kindness, and we — as a faculty, a school, and as a family — are better for it,” said principal Wendy VanHosen.
- The Mount Suffolk was recognized for the impact its partnership has made this year at Turlington Woods School. Through talks, discussions, and activities, Pastor Karl Wilkins has helped mentor students and offer guidance for their future. Principal Kinsey Bynum said he “spreads his enthusiastic energy to both the students and staff. His naturally calming demeanor disarms our most volatile students and gains their trust and respect. He has helped us maintain a pleasantly positive atmosphere, which is very important for “worth – the – risk” young men.” One example … He organized a basketball game with other Suffolk pastors, and then provided each young man with a pair of new tennis shoes to reinforce positive behavior. “He is a true role model for our students because of his admirable passion toward community service and strong sense of commitment,” Bynum added.
- Walk In It Inc. was nominated by Hillpoint Elementary School, but also provides mentoring at three other Suffolk elementary schools, four middle schools, two high schools, and the alternative program. At Hillpoint, Walk in It Inc. and Dr. Jennelle Riddick have worked throughout the year with the Young Ladies of Distinction — a mentoring program for 4th– and 5th-grade girls. She meets with the students each month to encourage them to work hard at school, and to inspire them to be the best they can be. She has also organized, supported and participated in wonderfully motivating activities with girls, such as the Mother-Daughter Paint Night … the Pink and Black Gala … and the Walk In It Kick-Off Walk in September, where the Hillpoint girls won most spirited. Through a combination of practical life skills and empowering life improvement strategies, Walk in It and its Ladies of Distinction program serves more than 600 girls each month.