Through the “Adopt a Teacher” program, Williamston residents pick teachers or staff at the Explorer and Discovery Elementary Schools who they want to appreciate through words or gifts.
“I saw another community doing it where they were adopting teachers for their whole school system,” said Emily Bouck, co-director of the Williamston’s PTSA. “I presented it to our PTSA, and everyone got excited and thought it would be a great idea.”
Bouck said it’s up to parents to decide what they do for their adoptee.
“It can be what anyone wants,” said Bouck. “It can be as little as sending emails every other week saying ‘we support you, you’re doing great, we appreciate you’ to buying a gift card.”
The PTSA decided to expand the program beyond teachers.
“We’re also adopting all of our administrators, the secretaries, the para-professionals that work in the building, as well as the custodians,” said Bouck. The goal was to make sure all of the individuals working in the schools felt appreciated, said Bouck.
Kae Dubay, a Williamston parent, agreed with being more inclusive.
“Schools are a lot more than just the teachers,” said Dubay. “There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that I think often get forgotten.”
Some parents adopted more than one teacher or staff.
“I sponsored six educators,” said Melissa Indish, a Williamston parent. “Some are teachers (who) that my children have or had in the past. I thought it was nice so that they know we’re thinking of them and support them and appreciate the hard work.”
Dubay said she is sponsoring several teachers.
“It was kind of a mix of people who have made direct impacts on one or both of my children,” said Dubay.
So far, Dubay said she has written out thoughtful notes and given them a giftcard to Groovy Donuts.
“All of our educators have been adopted,” said Bouck. “We definitely had some members of our community to step up to adopt to make sure everyone was covered.”
Many adopted beyond just their own class and teacher, said Bouck.
“We saw members of the community adopting a teacher that their older students had when they were in the elementary school,” said Bouck, “or even adopting someone they might not have a personal connection to but wanted to make sure that person felt appreciated.”
“The overall goal is just making sure elementary educators know that the community supports them and appreciates everything they are doing,” said Bouck. “Whether they are teaching in person or virtual, whether they’re cleaning up the classrooms or walking the students into the building.”
Dubay said the program was a win-win for staff and parents.
“I think it was a good opportunity for the parents to still be supportive of all the staff given the circumstances and the limited ability for parents to be involved so far this year,” said Dubay.
The PTSA was excited to have support for educators, said Bouck.
“If we have the ability, and we can make sure that the educators know that we as a community support them and see them and appreciate them,” said Indish. “I think this program just helps reinforce that.”