Heart-warming initiative recognises vital work of school staff

Heart-warming initiative recognises vital work of school staff

As 2020 draws to a close, students and parents across South Australia are being invited to say ‘thank you’ to the educators who have made a difference in their lives this year.

The South Australian Government’s ThankED initiative – an online recognition platform – lets South Australian families acknowledge the efforts of those who have been working tirelessly in public education throughout this most challenging year.

ThankED will showcase a selection of the achievements, efforts and notes of thanks to the teachers, leaders, allied health, support and corporate staff working in and for public education.

Rick Persse, chief executive of the South Australian Department of Education said the state has been “incredibly fortunate” to only lose a handful of school days to COVID-19.

“A lot of that is down to the remarkable adaptability and hard work of our educators and support staff,” Persse told The Educator.

“I’ve been in awe of their ability to keep the day to day show on the road, while also doing the difficult work to make the switch to home-based learning if required. That’s why we sent chocolates to every staff member at our schools and preschools this year as a small token of thanks for the extra effort”.

Persse said one of the silver linings to come out of this year is that “people have come to recognise “what an impressive group of people teachers, principals and school support staff are”.

“I can’t remember a time when the profession has been held in higher esteem”.

Persse said ThankED is a way for families and staff to publicly recognise great work, and for the Department to showcase the achievements of its people.

“The big advantage of this approach is that it encompasses both the small and large ways that teachers, leaders, allied health, support and corporate staff make a difference,” he said.

“Sometimes the day to day touches don’t get the full recognition they deserve.

Persse said that in many ways it’s the little efforts, or the small but consistent way someone goes above and beyond, that makes the biggest difference.

“ThankED is the way of putting the spotlight on that work”.

Persse commended the inspiring and uplifting ways that the state’s school communities have risen to the occasion to tackle the massive challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented.

“It’s hard to go past the efforts of the school communities that had to temporarily close because of a confirmed case. The care and devotion to students really shone through,” he said.

“When you see staff who have to manage their own isolation and quarantine requirements prioritising student wellbeing and learning that’s something that really speaks to their calibre as individuals”.

Persse said the Department has asked a lot of its educators and support staff this year, and they’ve risen to the challenge again and again.

“We probably won’t fully realise the positive impact that effort has had on the lives of our young people until years into the future”.