Opinion

Schools appreciate classified employees

By TOM MURPHY, Superintendent of the Federal Way School District

Bus drivers, secretaries, food service workers, custodians, maintenance and ground folks, security and prof-tech support personnel, managers and administrators, paraeducators and technology wizards — all of these people make countless contributions to the operations of our district every day, many of these contributions going unseen.

It is appropriate, then, that we take time this week to recognize our classified employees during Classified Employee Appreciation Week.

Approximately half of the people who work in Federal Way Public Schools are classified employees. Many of our classified employees interact with our children every day. Their efforts to assist all children to excel academically is well known and deeply appreciated.

From the bus drivers who are the first “face” of the district to thousands of students, to the food service employees who often give many of our children their first meal of the day, to the custodians and maintenance men and women who keep our facilities safe and clean, and to the para-educators who often provide the one-to-one attention so many of our children need, our children interact with people who understand the power of a kind word and the importance of an encouraging word.

The operational side of our district is in the very capable hands of our classified employees. From payroll to accounts payable to employee certificate verification to assessments to all issues technology, our excellent colleagues in our classified workforce bring dedication and focus to their work.

Throughout the district, our classified employees are working as diligently as they can in support of, and in some instances in direct involvement with, the education of all children. It is not always easy being in the “support” role as, many times, the “support” goes unrecognized. This week is our opportunity to bring this unrecognized support to the forefront and express our thanks and appreciation for jobs well done.

For all of those children whose day is made better because of a positive interaction with a bus driver or food service employee, for all employees whose paycheck is correct or whose placement on the certificated salary schedule is correct, for all of us who rely so heavily on our technology, for all children and adults who rely on attending a safe, clean and secure school, for the thankless task of meeting all of the state requirements associated with WASL testing, I say “Thank you.”

For the phones answered and the relationships developed with parents, for the meals prepared for our children, for the cleanliness of our grounds, and for the individual tutoring, the individual attention given to children every single day, I say “Thank you.”

The process of educating a child is not a solo enterprise. We, all of us together, must own the success of each child, each of us doing our part. I am thankful and grateful for the contributions of each classified employee to the success of all children.

Tom Murphy, superintendent of Federal Way schools, can be reached at tmurphy@fwps.org.

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