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Public School Employees of Washington union celebrates Federal Way staff

A celebration for the district’s classified staff was held May 26.

Despite intermittent downpours, local education leaders had something to celebrate.

On May 27, the Public Schools Employees of Washington union hosted a drive-thru style appreciation party for Federal Way’s classified staff. Three union chapters exists within Federal Way Public Schools, comprising approximately 800 employees from para-educators to nutritional staff to bus drivers and everyone in between.

“These folks worked throughout the pandemic. They didn’t stop and go home,” said Travis Tingvall, political and communications specialist for the union. “We wanted to thank those individuals who didn’t get a break.”

Classified staff fill an often fill many needs of a community, Tingvall said.

While state and county guidelines changed almost weekly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, classified staff worked to keep communities fed through meal programs and delivered school supplies, homework and textbooks to students throughout the district, said bus driver Jennifer Hoover.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Federal Way Public Schools has provided more than one million meals to local families. These meals were packed and delivered by classified staff.

“We’ve been strong and rolled with the punches,” said Hoover, who has been with the district for eight years.

Union leaders and classified staff set up at Celebration Park in Federal Way on May 26. Amid bouts of rain and sun, dozens of staff stopped by for a sweet treat courtesy of Sugar + Spoon Cookie Dough, raffle prizes, and to see familiar faces.

Across the state, pop-up celebrations courtesy of the Public School Employees of Washington union are happening to show appreciation for the 28,000-plus members.

“Classified staff never got to recharge their batteries. These people never quit,” said Union President Charlotte Shindler. “This is our way of saying ‘thank you for the work you do.’”


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