PFA puts together a virtual staff appreciation week

A time to celebrate those who help run our school

Photo courtesy of Helen Tesoro
Staff appreciation signs made by MCMS PFA Hospitality Committee Co-Chair Krista Laughton placed at Oak Park High School

The staff at Oak Park Unified School District have had to work harder during remote learning in order to effectively deliver curriculum through online platforms. With the pandemic changing school life for virtually everyone, teachers have had to adapt to these changes and find new and innovative ways to keep students engaged. During teacher appreciation week, the Parent Faculty Association is working to recognize the staff of OPUSD.

PFA President Helen Tesoro along with OPHS PFA Hospitality Chair Karen Farnsworth put together a week of virtual appreciation for all Oak Park High School staff from May 4-8. Recognized by the National Education Association as National Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, the PFA decided that social distancing would not stop their gratitude.

“I have been very impressed with how quickly teachers got up to speed on using technology, and adapted to the new world of virtual classrooms,” Tesoro wrote to the Talon. “Graduation and other senior celebrations have had to be completely reimagined.”

The original plans for this week, such as the luncheon, had to be reimagined to accommodate social distancing measures. To do so, the PFA decided to send Amazon eGift Cards to all the teachers and staff, as well as placing signs, designed by MCMS PFA Hospitality Committee Co-Chair Krista Laughton, who also helped with the planning, around the OPHS campus and along Kanan road.

“These were emailed to everyone: not just teachers and administrators, but also counselors, aides, custodians and campus supervisors etc,” Tesoro wrote. “We also joined forces with the MCMS PFA to place thank you signs along Kanan Road for all in the local community to see.”

Students and families can also get involved with the appreciation by sending emails filled with positive messages of appreciation to teachers and staff.

“It’s great that the PFA has organized a way for us to show appreciation for our teachers, even though we cannot see each other in person,” junior Miriam Gabai wrote to the Talon. “My mom is a teacher, so I’ve seen firsthand how much hard work the transition to distance learning entails. So, although it might feel unconventional to celebrate teacher appreciation week in this way, this year more than ever we have a lot to thank our teachers for.”

According to Tesoro, the teachers and staff have done so much for OPHS and the students who study there. It is always important to show appreciation but now more than ever.

“It was extremely important to me that the teachers and staff are honored this week, and while a gift card and some signs may be the least we can do, I hope they feel the depth of appreciation that comes along with it,” Tesoro wrote.