Appreciation for all who help Phillips school, students

The holiday season brings thoughts of appreciation for the wonderful occurrences and people in our life. This is especially true in schools that have the opportunity to reflect on the learning process with students, and how learning compassion can benefit them for a lifetime. It is also a time to acknowledge the community support that is given to help meet the individual needs of all our students. Without our outside agencies, organizations and resources, our school could not help as many students and families.

I want to take this opportunity to thank and praise the Phillips staff for being compassionate about all students. Before the school year even began, the Phillips staff rallied to help the victims of the West Virginia flood. Many of our staff worked diligently and sat in the hot sun for a day to accept donations and supplies for Bridge Elementary School in West Virginia. With the generosity of the staff and others, they managed to raise over $2,000 in money and supplies to aid in the relief project for this flooded school. This compassion is seen by our staff on a daily basis for all of our students at Phillips.

Now that the holiday season is upon us, many of our staff are sharing their compassionate gift by teaching our students about compassion and kindness. Several classrooms have a Countdown to Winter Break Random Acts of Kindness Calendar. Each day is a random act of kindness ranging from sending cards and notes to past teachers, to collecting can goods for a local food pantry or other worthy cause. It is also the simplest of kindness such as holding the door for someone or drawing a picture for a friend. As the students have been learning, no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.

These acts of kindness are also modeled by our growing parent-teacher organization. Phillips has increased their PTO meeting membership and volunteers over the past year. These parent volunteers have such a positive impact on our school. We can definitely see how this makes a difference in our students by their willingness to want to give back to the community. One example is our Santa Shop. Several PTO members spend much time in November to organize this student centered store. Students are able to come down and purchase gifts for their family members for a small amount of money. Most of the gifts offered are not more than $1.25 per gift. However, the best part is the individual bagging of gifts and the interaction with students to make sure they didn’t forget anyone. The compassion of helping the students pick out that perfect gift that says, “thank you,” to a family member.

Phillips PTO supports our staff and students in many wonderful ways. Our PTO does a good job of providing support, both monetarily and through volunteers, and provides a good balance between student fun and academics. Through fund raising events, our PTO is able to provide a birthday treat to each student, a spirited Phillips T-shirt to each student for free and fun events at the end of year, just to mention a few. On the other hand, our PTO is supportive of the academic process of our students. In the last two years, our PTO has purchased approximately 20 Chrome Books to be used in the classrooms. In addition, they have helped our staff by giving each staff member an amount of money to assist with personal classroom resources. Our PTO also helps to encourage reading by organizing the Scholastic Book Fair twice a year. This is such a valuable asset to the school where students can purchase quality books for their own collections.

With all of these compassionate and giving acts of kindness and support, we would like to wish a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all of the many community businesses, churches and organizations that have helped the students, families’ and staff at Phillips Elementary School. A sincere Phillips thank you and appreciation goes to the following businesses and organizations for your continued support.

A-Z Learning, Boy’s & Girl’s Club, Brookdale of Marietta, Dorothy A. Oyster Advised Fund, Doughboyz (PIE), Ely Chapman, Edward Jones, Family and Children First, First Baptist Church of Marietta, Presbyterian Church of Marietta, Go Pack Program, Hampton Inn (PIE), Healthy Kids, Hopewell Health Centers Inc., L & P Services Inc., Marietta College and the Marietta College Education Department, Marietta Family YMCA Kid’s Company, Marietta City Health Department, Marietta Fire Department, Marietta High School Alumni and Friends Foundation, Marietta Kiwanis Club, Marietta Noon Lions Club, Marietta Paint and Janitorial Supplies, Marietta Police Department, Marietta Rotary Club, Marietta Safe Routes to School Task Force, Marietta Youth League, Marietta Welfare League, Mobile Dentist program, Norwood Methodist Church, The Sixth and Washington Church of Christ of Marietta, Phillips Parent and Teacher Organization (PTO), Phillip’s volunteers, The Counseling and Wellness Center of Belpre, Walgreen (PIE), Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Washington County Children’s Services, Washington County Career Center, Washington County Sheriff’s Office, and Wendy’s (PIE).

Todd Caltrider is principal of Phillips Elementary School.