ARLINGTON — The Arlington School District recently recognized one of its parents, as well as a whole category of its employees, for their contributions of time and effort to the quality of local children’s educational experiences.
Arlington School District parent Mary Levesque was joined by her husband and most of her children at the Arlington School Board meeting on Monday, March 10, when ASD Superintendent Dr. Kristine McDuffy and Assistant Superintendent Diane Kirchner-Scott presented her with a certificate and small tokens of appreciation, for her many hours and years of volunteer service on behalf of the Arlington schools.
“Mary is just an outstanding community member,” McDuffy said. “You’ll see her everywhere, from the [American Council on Education] Committee to the PTA Council, the latter of which she currently chairs and she started to coordinate the PTAs in our district. She’s held office in the Kent Prairie Elementary PTA every year that she’s been here, and has held just about every office in that PTA by now.”
McDuffy also credited Levesque with helping to kick off the Arlington School District’s first back-to-school backpack rally, and noted the active role that Levesque has played in the annual Kent Prairie Elementary PTA Carnival, which took place on Friday, March 14, this year.
“She is extremely supportive of our schools and always willing to help wherever she’s needed,” McDuffy said of Levesque. “I can’t say enough about all that she’s done, and I’m so thankful that we’ve had her here.”
Levesque, an Arlington School District parent for the past eight years, was joined by her husband Ken, as well as her children Melanie, Deborah, Zachary and Katelyn. Daughters Emily and Natalie were unable to attend that evening’s Board meeting.
The Arlington School District’s classified employees were likewise honored, during that same Board meeting, for their own contributions to their schools.
Mike Johnson, executive director of human resources for the Arlington School District, joined members of the district’s Leadership Team in reading aloud state Gov. Jay Inslee’s proclamation officially declaring March 10-14 to be “Classified Employees Week,” in keeping with its typical annual celebration in March.
“Our classified employees are the muscle behind our schools’ operations,” said Johnson, who noted that classified employees include para-educators, bus drivers, food service workers, secretaries, custodians and maintenance workers — essentially, anyone working in the district who is not certificated. “They keep our schools clean, our children healthy and both of them safe. The amount of help they provide is amazing, and it makes them our superheroes.”
While each of the Arlington schools celebrated their classified employees slightly differently, common gestures of appreciation included special lunches, dessert buffets and non-classified employees covering their recess or lunchroom supervision duties.
Arlington High School Principal Brian Beckley reported that their classified employees would be treated to lunch on Tuesday, March 11, and breakfast on March 14, while Pioneer Elementary Principal Kerri Helgeson proudly touted that her school would celebrate Classified Employees Week as “Superhero Week,” complete with “hero sandwiches” for the classified employees on March 11.
“We cover our classified employees’ recess duties, even if it’s only for one day out of the entire year,” Eagle Creek Elementary Principal Kari Henderson-Burke laughed.
“We have something special planned for our classified employees too, but it’s a surprise, so we can’t say what it is yet,” laughed Terri Bookey, program support specialist for the Stillaguamish Valley School.
After Bookey, Henderson-Burke, Helgeson and Beckley joined Haller Middle School Principal Eric DeJong in reciting Inslee’s proclamation, the Board was treated to a slideshow of classified employees at work, and the classified employees in attendance were asked to stand so they could be applauded.
“We appreciate all that you do, every day of the year,” Board President Ursula Ghirardo told the classified employees.