Area parents aren’t letting the school closures stop them from recognizing teachers and school staff during the national Teacher Appreciation Week.
Instead of providing breakfast and snacks, parent-teacher organizations have turned to chalking messages of support at schools, handing out gift cards and sending videos to say thank you. Social media posts recognizing teachers have been plentiful this week.
“It didn’t feel like it was right to not acknowledge that teachers are doing a little bit of extra work,” said Corey Hawker, a parent at Hollymead Elementary School.
Hawker organized the appreciation efforts at Hollymead, as she has for the past two years. On Thursday, Hawker and other parents handed out Hollymead-branded tote bags filled with goodies to teachers. Teachers drove up to receive the bag while parents and students cheered them on. The giveaway continues Friday.
Teacher Appreciation Week — a staple of May — comes nearly two months after schools closed for the academic year, classes moved entirely online and parents started homeschooling their children.
“Everyone is missing [teachers] a little bit more right now,” Hawker said.
Hollymead families provided 100 gift cards ranging from $15 to $25 to staff as part of a PTO drive. Supporting local businesses and teachers through gift card purchases was a common tactic among area PTOs. In addition, other school communities showed their appreciation through different activities each day this week.
Clark Elementary parents are encouraging students on Friday to draw a picture showing their teacher what they have been doing at home or take a photo of something from nature to send to their teacher.
Earlier in the week, Clark parents chalked thankful messages on the school’s blacktop that were captured by drone photos and posted on social media.
“Our teachers make Clark a family,” one message read.
“A nice opportunity to let them know they are appreciated,” said Joey Conover, president of the PTO at Clark. “It’s hard for everybody. But they are missing their students.”
Clark has more than 80 staff members, and Conover said the PTO was working to coordinate a gift for each of them.
Teacher Appreciation Week is always important, Hawker said, but parents recognize and empathize a little more this year.
“We have our children and are trying to do what they do,” Hawker said. “… Not only do our children count on you, but we count on you too.”