Lake Washington School District (LWSD) recently reached an agreement with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) on a new three-year contract.
Education Support Professionals Week 2019
There are over 1,250 education support professionals at LWSD. Below is just a sampling of what they do:
- School office staff
- Bus drivers and other transportation staff
- School nurses
- Maintenance personnel
- Business office staff
- Nutrition services personnel
- Instructional assistants
- Technology staff
- School security
Take a moment to thank one of these individuals who work hard to support student learning.
Read about some of the LWSD education support professionals below. More stories will be added throughout the week.
- Zac Aquino, campus security monitor, International Community School
- Alice Wheeler, office manager, Juanita High School
- Belia Lopez, custodian, Resource Center
- Andrew Nisargand, instructional assistant, Northstar Middle School, Emerson K-12 and Emerson High School
- Caroline Reilly, paraeducator, Audubon Elementary
Campus security monitors helps build trust and community
Parents of middle school and high school students are no stranger to the strong emotions of teens and preteens. At International Community School, “Mr. Zac” Aquino can sense when students are having a bad day. He lends an empathetic ear and can help students de-escalate and get back to learning. Aquino, a Campus Security Monitor, tries to be the eyes and ears of the school. He builds community and relationships as he chats with students during lunch and other activities.
“Having a positive attitude can really change their whole day,” he says.
LWSD’s Campus Security Monitors met Friday for a LEAP Day training. This training day allows Campus Security Monitors to learn from School Resource Officers (SROs) and others. SROs are professional law enforcement officers. As part of the training, Redmond Middle School SRO Kim Corbray explained legal guidelines for searches at school.
Staff learned how to recognize unknown bias from Gloria Henderson, LWSD Director of Opportunity, Equity and Inclusion. They also practiced their de-escalation techniques and clarified responsibilities during A.L.I.C.E. training. These training sessions build skills and confidence to increase the likelihood that students will get help when they need it.
Office Managers are the key to smoothly operating schools
With a brand new school under construction and a new principal, Juanita High School (JHS) is going through exciting changes. But one thing is always constant, Office Manager Alice Wheeler is the glue that keeps the school together. JHS Principal Kelly Clapp said that given this is also her first time as a high school principal, Wheeler has been a valuable resource to her as well as their school. From managing day-to-day office duties and providing support to the leadership team – not to mention, a school of over 1,300 students and 150 staff members, Wheeler has a humble demeanor. Principal Clapp described her as a calm, quiet leader who takes on big roles to keep their school running smoothly and efficiently. Wheeler said the most rewarding part of her job is working with the outstanding staff, students and families of JHS.
Currently, JHS students attend classes in the remaining portions of their old building, as well as in 15 double classroom portables. The first phase of the new school will open in fall 2019. Coming up this summer, the rest of the old building will be demolished. The full project will be completed in time for the 2020-21 school year.
Thank you, Alice Wheeler, and all of our classified school employees who are a crucial part of our students’ success!
Meticulous custodian finds joy in cleaning
Belia Lopez has a passion for ensuring that LWSD buildings are clean and presentable for staff, parents and community. She keeps the Resource Center shining by cleaning windows, dusting, emptying recycle bins, and ensuring staff have needed supplies. She wishes other staff members “Buenos días” or “Good morning” as they enter. Lopez arrives before everyone else, ensuring conference rooms are clean and ready for a full day of meetings and trainings.
Sue Huibregtse, a senior data services coordinator in the Resource Center, said, “Belia always has a welcome smile! You will see her cleaning floors or tables in the early morning hours; blowing leaves and debris off the exterior staircase; or sprinkling de-icer to be sure we don’t slip. I appreciate her commitment and care.”
Instructional assistants help students with day-to-day decision making
Andrew Nisargand is the only Instructional Assistant (IA) at Northstar Middle School. He’s also the only IA who supports students and staff at Northstar, Emerson K-12 and Emerson High School. He knows not every student can easily solve problems on their assignments and that all students don’t have the same level of resources at home. That’s why he got into this field.
Each day Nisargand goes to work, he remembers something he was once told: “Each interaction with you,” said Nisargand “might be the first positive interaction with an adult that students have had all day.” Whether it is having a casual conversation with students, finding a book for them to read or just walking them through math problems, Nisargand finds his work rewarding because he can positively impact the lives of his students.
Nisargand works with students on problem-solving in their different classes, including math, essays, reading and more. He helps them understand their errors in various assignments that they are struggling with. “It’s a lot of grinding through the small stuff.” said Nisargand, “But learning problem-solving techniques now will help build a foundation to deal with future challenges, both in academics and their daily lives.”
“Andrew is deeply engaged with supporting our students and staff on campus.” said Principal Nell Ballard-Jones. “He is proactive and responsive when addressing needs. Andrew has a unique ability to identify gaps in our systems and works hard to fill them.”
Please take a moment to thank Andrew Nisargand who works hard to support student learning!
Paraeducators provide important support for students who have physical, behavioral or medical needs
Did you know teaching elementary students about emotional intelligence skills can equip them to succeed both academically and socially? Not to mention, good communications with others are a gateway to better employment and key life events. That’s why Caroline Reilly loves what she does. In her 11th year as a paraeducator at Audubon Elementary, she is passionate about working with students in Special Services and teaching them how to identify emotions and use visual cues and empathy.
Reilly said, “The most rewarding part about my job is to be a part of a child’s journey.” She enjoys creating an environment that embraces diversity and helps students become successful leaders, not just in the classroom, but in life.
Principal Kimo Spray said, “Caroline does an amazing job with our students!” Known as an integral team player on their Special Services team, Spray said, “Caroline is a fabulous example of why Audubon has a strong working team of classified staff employees.