By Bill Chatfield, CFD, MSBO Board President, Director of Operations, Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
This article is a shout out, thank you, and congratulations to the essential workers among us. Over the past many months, we’ve heard a great deal of adulation for those in the health care, grocery, trucking, emergency response and other industries that have been deemed essential due to their role in ensuring access to the services and resources we all need to survive. They are deserving of all the praise they receive as, without their efforts, the impact of this virus would certainly have been much worse.
There is another group of essential workers that have worked just as hard – that is the school support service employees. I’m referring to the food service employee, custodian, bus driver, mechanic, IT technician, payroll and accounts payable clerk, purchasing manager, maintenance technician, and yes, the School Business Official. All of these individuals have worked equally hard during this pandemic and deserve as much praise as those in any other industry. These individuals, while not generally on the front line of savings lives, have played a significant role in making Michiganders’ lives better and manageable.
Consider the food service workers. Since mid-March, thousands of kitchen managers, cooks, servers, delivery drivers and more have worked tirelessly to procure, prepare and distribute millions of meals to families in need. They worked all summer long as the financial impacts of the virus continued. Or the bus drivers, mechanics and dispatchers who helped deliver meals or turn busses into big yellow hot spots so students across the district would have internet access that enabled them to continue their education while schools were closed. The efforts of payroll and accounts payable staff ensured that paychecks remained available to employees to pay their bills and vendors to stay in business. Purchasing departments spent countless hours researching and procuring PPE supplies to ensure the safest environment possible when students returned. Not a school in the state would have been ready to resume in person instruction if it were not for the hard work of maintenance and custodial staff who spent all spring and summer fixing and preparing schools. Cleaning, disinfecting, repairing mechanical units, replacing air filters, distributing and installing PPE supplies and equipment, are just a sample of the endless efforts these folks provided to keep students and staff safe. And never before has the IT department played such a pivotal role in the success of student achievement. Hundreds of thousands of Chromebooks, laptops, notebooks, hot spots and more were procured, imaged and distributed to students and staff to ensure instruction and learning could continue regardless of where the teacher or students were located. Capacity, bandwidth, and virus protection issues had to be overcome and endless directions about how to utilize virtual meeting and classroom platforms led to an equally endless effort of troubleshooting systems and devices so that each and every individual could continue their education and job. All of these efforts and more are monumental tasks worthy of praise and appreciation equal to any other essential worker and all were done under the direction and support of Michigan School Business Officials.
The role that a teacher, parapro, and principal play in the education and development of our children is unquestionably important and critical. Yet, as the pandemic shut down schools and other industries, it was the school support services personnel who were deemed essential and reported to work to ensure the lives of others were better. So congratulations and thank you to all of the support service workers and school business officials who stepped up to make a difference for our children and communities. You are essential and you are educational heroes.
Other Articles in this Newsletter
- Challenge Yourself with the MSBO Leadership Institute
- Don’t Miss Out on These Scholarship Opportunities
- Here’s What’s on Deck with Certification Classes
- Is it Your Turn to Serve on the MSBO Board of Directors?
- MSBO Awards – Recognizing Members
- MSBO Update
- The Results of our Actions – Sharon Raschke, MSBO Board Member
- Welcome New Members