May 27, 2021
IPS only puts in the spotlight some of the IPS staff, students and parents who have gone way beyond that this year.
Despite the ups and downs of this school year – or perhaps because of it – six people not only persevered personally, but also showed what it really means to help others in their need.
You are the embodiment of what it means to be stronger together.
Here is just a sample of their stories:
- Jamie Thompson, A Pre-K teacher at Clarence Farrington School 61 assisted the school’s families by allocating food, money, and furniture. When the pandemic started, she stepped up her efforts, working daily to drive families to pantries. Jamie even started collecting groceries and supplies, turning their garage area into a storage space for families to come in and pick up extra resources.
- Angela Ritter, a Family and Community Engagement (FACE) liaison at Raymond Brandes School 65. During the pandemic, Angela continued to make house calls almost daily to make sure every family has what they need – from pencils to appliances to groceries. Once she even went to Merrillville (about two hours away) to deliver school supplies to the children who lived with her father! 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 school’s students.
- Deidre Fallon, a parent at George Washington Carver School 87, was always a very dedicated parent prior to the pandemic – volunteering classrooms, organizing events, and working to ensure a positive environment for everyone at the school. When the pandemic broke out, Deidre found the school was unable to get the replacement teachers it needed to meet the needs of staff absent due to illness and quarantine. So she took it upon herself to make a difference. She applied for her substitute teaching license and began accepting substitute teaching positions when no one else could fill the positions. She did all of this while working full-time at IU Health, where she also volunteered to be the coordinator for COVID-19 vaccine sites.
- Kelia Müller, a Crispus Attucks High School senior and an IPS Honors student. When the rest of the high school students went back to school for personal study, Kelia decided to stay home with distance learning. She did this while doing a part-time job and volunteering at two organizations as a mental health attorney for other teenagers. Despite these extracurricular activities, she graduated number one in her class. This fall, Kelia will attend IUPUI and study child psychology.
- Tim Friedrich, an administrative assistant and the parent of two students at William McKinley School 39. Tim does his best every day with a smile and a positive attitude during school, but he also takes his free time for William McKinley’s students, staff and families . Tim has built and installed a free lending library, tending the school’s chickens on weekends and holidays, changing flat tires for the staff, and fixing cars for the parents – and these are just a few of the many things he does for the school community outside of the school School has done its working hours. Tim even gave his car to a parent who didn’t have one instead of trading it in at a dealership.
- Bethany Jackson, a teaching coach at Henry W. Longfellow Medical / STEM Middle School 28. Bethany is very aware of the impact COVID is having on the lives of Longfellow students and has helped in a variety of ways over the year. Recently, Bethany has been buying small toiletries and distributing them to students in need. She asked friends and neighbors for help on Facebook. The spate of support resulted in donations of $ 1,500 that Bethany used to purchase additional personal hygiene items for the students.
IPS owes a HUGE thanks to each and every one of these great people for their dedication not only to the district staff and students, but also to the community.
These are just a few of the many people who have gone past this school year.
IPS will be highlighting additional employees, students and parents throughout the summer.