Showing appreciation to staff has been a frequent goal at Caring for Kids’ partnered schools over the years, especially during Parent-Teacher Conferences and Staff Appreciation Week in early May. This year, with the additional challenges of teaching either virtually, safely in person, or a hybrid model, principals are looking to community partners for additional ways to encourage and reward staff throughout the school year.

At Center’s Boone Elementary, community partners created gift bags with a gift card, snacks, candy, and small items such as notepads, hand sanitizer, and chapstick. If staff were unable to pick up their gift bags, partners delivered the bags to their homes. In addition, 7-Eleven provided coupons for free food and drink items to the staff at Boone and Yellowjacket ELC plus Free Drink Fridays. Other Yellowjacket partners also have supplied treats for their staff, who taught students in-person until mid-November when they changed to distance learning.

At Meadowmere Elementary in Grandview C-4 School Distict, Caring for Kids partners and PTA members provided candy treat bags in teacher’s mailboxes. Principal Stephen Fielder noted the importance of ongoing teacher appreciation: “Any support we can provide to teachers and staff members is much needed. We are trying to make sure they are appreciated no matter what part of the year it is.” The school and PTA also provided staff dinners during conferences. A mobile espresso cart is planned for December.

In Raytown, partners provided teacher treats at Southwood and Westridge Elementary Schools on their first day back for in-person learning.

At Ruskin High School in Hickman Mills, staff received a note of appreciation along with vouchers for a free hot dog, slice of pizza, Big Gulp and Slurpee at 7-Eleven.

Wingate Agency provided Shawnee Mission’s Rosehill Elementary staff with various types of coffee, tea, hot chocolate and fruit smoothies from Grounded Mobile Coffee. Staff also were able to pick from a basket filled with affirmation statements.

In Kansas City Public Schools, Friendship Baptist Church had cloth masks made for all of the staff of its partnered school, Melcher Elementary.

School partners throughout all seven districts continue to collect gift cards, books, and other items to let staff know how much they are valued.