More than 40 teachers, support staff and administrators at Ranchwood Elementary School were honored Thursday by the school’s parent-teacher organization for their efforts during a two-week walkout.
The PTO provided each employee with a gift bag containing a number of items, including candy, photos, business cards and a $25 gift card.
The women received a gift certificate for a pedicure at Shangri-La Nails, while male employees received gift cards from Academy Sports.
Erin Johnson, whose son is a third-grade student at the school, came up with the idea of providing gift bags last week. She posted the idea on Facebook and quickly raised $1,000 that could go toward purchasing the gift cards.
Johnson said the teachers showed their support for the district during the walkout, and the gift bags were a way to show how much their efforts meant.
“I’ve been overwhelmed by how much presence the Yukon schools had at the Capitol, and how much they (teachers) had from Dr. (Jason) Simeroth and Mrs. (Kristen) Lipe. As a parent, it makes you feel so good that the whole staff was up there to support our kids. Everyone was up there. We wanted to make sure they knew we had their backs,” she said.
The gift bags were handed out to the staff during the morning assembly Thursday.
Lipe, the school’s principal, said she knew the organization had something planned, but expected it to be something like doughnuts. She had no idea they were planning to give gift bags.
“I’m very surprised, as you can tell by my tears. It just shows how blessed we are to be in a community with wonderful families and their support. They make our jobs a lot easier,” Lipe said.
Teachers in Yukon, as well as across the state, walked out of their classroom April 2 to rally at the state Capitol for additional funding for education.
Their 10-day effort forced the state Legislature to push through several tax packages that will increase the amount of money going to education each year.
Teachers in Yukon returned to the classrooms on Monday.