Four employees were selected for the April 2017 Excellence Award recognition. They were honored at the April 25 school board meeting. Pictured above from left to right are:
- Sarah Miller, teacher, Chinook Elementary
- Catherine Reynolds, paraeducator, Lincoln Elementary
- Lo Balik, paraeducator, Chinook Elementary
- Pat McGraw, paraeducator, Columbia River High School
The Excellence Award is given to two to four employees and/or small teams from October to May each school year. Nominations are open to staff, students, parents and community members. Nominees are selected for recognition by a committee of their peers.
If patience is a virtue, Lo is exemplary. Many students and staff members will attest to her ability to help struggling learners. Explained one teacher, “She figures out the holes in understanding that are preventing the kids from being successful in math. She then lets me know what they need and if she has an extra moment during the day, she works with those students to help them catch up.” Lo also is a positive force in providing students with a supportive learning environment. Said one, “She lights up the room and helps students, no matter what. She’s always there for you.”
Because her enthusiasm for teaching and learning is contagious, Pat has a unique ability to reach students. Over the years, she’s learned special skills such as American Sign Language to engage students better, and it’s her vigilance that helps those at risk of slipping through the cracks stay on track to graduate. Explained one nominator, “She is more than an assistant. She is often a co-teacher.” In addition, Pat is quick to volunteer to help her colleagues. “She truly embraces our school as a second family,” said one of them, “and goes out of her way to encourage and support everyone.”
Congratulations to these staff members! They join the many VPS employees who have received Excellence Awards since 2007.