IPS is shining a spotlight on just a few of the IPS staff, students and parents who have gone above and beyond this year.
Despite the ups and downs of this school year — or maybe because of it — six people not only persevered personally, they also displayed what it truly means to lend a helping hand to others in their time of need.
They are the embodiment of what it means to be Stronger Together.
Here’s just a snippet of their stories:
- Jamie Thompson, a Pre-K teacher at Clarence Farrington School 61, worked to support the school’s families through the allocation of food, funding and furniture. As the pandemic started, she stepped up her efforts and worked daily to drive families to food pantries. Jamie even began collecting food and supplies and turned her garage area into a storage space where families could come and pick up additional resources.
- Angela Knight, a Family and Community Engagement (FACE) Liaison at Raymond Brandes School 65. Throughout the pandemic, Angela has continued to conduct home visits on an almost daily basis, ensuring that every family has what they need — from pencils to devices to food. At one point, she even drove to Merrillville (about two hours away) to deliver school materials to children who were staying at their father’s house! She has also spent her days off driving to various community partners (some up to an hour away) to collect books and other donations for the students at the school.
- Deidre Fallon, a parent at George Washington Carver School 87, has always been a very involved parent prior to the pandemic — volunteering in classrooms, organizing events and working to ensure a positive environment for everyone at the school. When the pandemic hit, Deidre noticed the school wasn’t able to get the substitute teachers necessary to meet the needs of staff that had to be out for illness and quarantine. So, she took it upon herself to make a difference. She applied for her substitute teaching license and started accepting substitute teaching positions when no one else was able to fill the openings. She did all of this while working her full-time job at IU Health where she also volunteered as a COVID-19 vaccine site coordinator.
- Kelia Miller, a Crispus Attucks High School senior and an IPS Honors student. When the rest of the high school students went back to school for in-person learning, Kelia decided to remain at home on remote learning. She did this while balancing a part-time job and doing volunteer work at two organizations as a mental health advocate for other teens. Even with those extracurricular activities, she still graduated number one in her class. This fall, Kelia will attend IUPUI and major in child psychology.
- Tim Frederick, an administrative assistant and parent of two students at William McKinley School 39. Tim gives his all each day with a smile on his face and a positive attitude during school hours, but he also gives of his own time for the students, staff and families of William McKinley. Tim has built and installed a free lending library, tends to the school’s chickens on weekends and holidays, changes flat tires for staff and repairs cars for parents — and these are just a few of the many things he has done for the school community outside of his work hours. Tim even gave his car to a parent who didn’t have one, instead of trading it in at a car dealership.
- Bethany Jackson, an instructional coach at Henry W. Longfellow Medical/STEM Middle School 28. Bethany is very much aware of the impacts that COVID has had on student’s lives at Longfellow and has helped out in multiple ways year. Recently, Bethany has been purchasing small hygiene items and giving them out to students in need. She reached out to friends and neighbors through Facebook for help. The outpouring of support resulted in $1,500 in donations, which Bethany used to purchase additional personal hygiene items for students.
IPS owes a HUGE thank you to each and every one of these amazing individuals for their dedication to not only the district staff and students, but to the community.
These are just a few of the many individuals who have gone above and beyond this school year.
IPS will continue to highlight other staff, students and parents throughout the summer.