This time of year serves as a reminder that “It takes a village to educate a child.” That’s because April and May have many days and weeks designated to recognize and honor a wide variety of school employees. These employees’ jobs are very different, but what they all have in common is that each plays an essential role in helping our students succeed.

Xavier Botana is the superintendent of Portland Public Schools. He can be reached at [email protected]

For example, National Assistant Principal Week was in early April. A key responsibility of assistant principals is ensuring all students have someone who knows them well and understands their needs. Thank you to our amazing assistant principals for all they do to make sure our students connect and engage with school.

National School Librarian Day was April 4. We appreciate our librarians for not only creating welcoming learning centers with diverse resources but for being fierce guardians of access to appropriate literature that challenges students to think, question and grow.

Paraprofessional Appreciation Day, honoring educators such as educational technicians, was April 6. We are so grateful to our ed techs for the wide variety of work they do to support students and teachers. They punch far above their weight.

April 27 is National Administrative Professionals’ Day. We deeply appreciate these vital staff members at our schools and other facilities, including Central Office. Our district simply could not function without everything they do, often behind the scenes. They’re the heart of our district.

April also is Occupational Therapy Month. We’re so grateful to our expert occupational therapists for all their work to reduce barriers to participation for our students and help them succeed.

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School Principals’ Day is May 1. Principals shape their schools’ learning environments and climates through their support and guidance of teachers and other staff and the relationships they forge with students and families. The fact that we have great public schools in Portland is a testament to the amazing educators leading them.

May 2-6 is National Teacher Appreciation Week and May 3 is National Teacher Day. The pandemic has given us an even greater appreciation of teachers. We saw them transition to new ways of teaching and learning and rise to the challenge of finding the best ways to connect with students and engage them in learning. We’re so grateful to our dedicated teachers for all they do.

National Interpreter Appreciation Day is May 4. Our deepest thanks to our multilingual parent community specialists, who assist our families as interpreters, translators and connectors in a wide range of situations and also help families with food insecurity and employment, housing and health issues.

On May 6, we celebrate School Lunch Hero Day. Through remote learning, hybrid learning and in-person learning, our Food Service team has made sure students always had access to school meals. Now they’re working with community partners to introduce culturally important foods to our school lunch menus. They truly are heroes.

National School Nurse Day is May 11. A huge shoutout to our school nurses for the pivotal and pressure-packed role they have played throughout this pandemic to keep students and staff safe and learning.

Speech Pathologist Day is May 18. Thank you to our speech-language pathologists for their tireless work to help students with speech and language problems that can make it hard for them to succeed in school.

Unfortunately, I don’t have space here to highlight all employee groups, but please know I am deeply grateful to ALL our PPS people. Thank you to each and every member of our PPS “village” for what you do each day to help students succeed!

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