Vail Daily column: The quiet heroes of education
July 2, 2014
As organizations whose main goals are quality teaching and learning, school districts rightfully focus on the teaching profession and educators when it comes to advancing their mission of quality outcomes for students. But, public schools have a number of other services for students and communities that are critical for mission success.
Over the years, society has laid a number of community needs at the schoolhouse door. In addition to educating students, public schools are also responsible for transporting and feeding students. In most communities, the public school system has the largest footprint in terms of building and grounds square footage to maintain. And increasingly, communities look to the public schools to provide state-of-the-art access to technology for students.
These services and supports are critically important for our kids and community. At Eagle County Schools, we welcome these responsibilities and perform them with pride.
Consider these statistics and facts about the services Eagle County Schools provides:
• We operate 44 buses running 26 regular routes that take kids to and from school.
• In addition to regular routes, we transport kids all over the state to sporting events, field trips and cultural learning opportunities.
• All together, our buses log around 500,000 miles annually.
• Eagle County school buses have operated without a passenger injury for over a decade.
• The "Fresh Approach" program in all of our kitchens prepare meals that are made from scratch with healthy servings, 100 percent whole grains, fruits and vegetables with every meal.
• Eagle County Schools operates 14 kitchens that serve 550,000 lunches and over 100,000 breakfasts each school year.
• Eagle County Schools maintains 1.26 million square feet of indoor facility space.
• The district also maintains 155 acres of fields, landscaping and green space.
• For our educators, support staff and students, Eagle County Schools operates more than 3,600 computers or other technology devices.
• All Eagle County Schools have high-speed wireless Internet, and classrooms come equipped with large screen LCD panels, smart boards or computer projection systems.
• Every school has dedicated office staff to support parents and teachers so educators can focus on quality instruction.
We are very proud of all the services and supports we offer students. But, while the buses, kitchens, tools, computers and office machines are interesting to consider, the most important aspect of our support systems are the employees.
Eagle County Schools employs 327 support staff employees in roles such as drivers, mechanics, office workers, cooks, teaching assistants, electricians, groundskeepers and technology support. These individuals are proud, skilled professionals who work hard to make sure that every child in Eagle County has a quality experience in all of our schools.
Our support staff employees are also deeply embedded and involved in our community. They care intensely about our schools and students. They frequently go above and beyond their work responsibilities, volunteering and giving back to the community. Many of our support staff are also from families with generations of history in Eagle County — some dating back to Colorado pioneers who built the first towns and ranches in our community.
On behalf of Eagle County Schools, I honor and respect the talent and passion for excellence that all of our support staff employees bring to our schools every day. Simply put, we couldn't pursue our noble mission without them. Teaching and learning remain our primary purpose, but our support staff members are the unsung heroes that contribute to our ability to deliver on that purpose. We strive to have the best teachers instructing students and the best support staff to help support our mission. Such is the foundation for helping your school district become a world-class experience for the community's students.
Jason E. Glass is the superintendent of Eagle County Schools. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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