For close to 15 years, teachers and staff at Spring Woods Middle School (SWMS) have benefited from a special partnership with Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church (MDPC), specifically with members who serve as mentors to students at the school.
Over the years, MDPC’s IMPACT Mentors have delivered teacher appreciation items, but one part of this fall’s generosity reflected the strange times in which we are living: face shields were provided by the church for teachers in the Special Education department.
Other more “traditional” treats were also given to the school’s staff, including gift cards, snacks and bottled coffee drinks with tags that said, “Thanks a ‘latte’ for all you do.”
SWMS English-Language Arts Department Chair Regina Cooper was surprised and delighted.
“Lately, more and more work is necessary to do our jobs effectively, with very little time to accomplish it all,” said Cooper. “It felt nice to be recognized for our efforts.”
MDPC members Sharon Fox and Kathryn White coordinated the teacher appreciation provisions at SWMS this fall.
“We understand the extra strain on the teachers and staff at the school. Nothing is 'usual' about this year,” said Fox.
“We hope these treats will remind teachers and staff at SWMS that they are not alone, that there is a caring and supportive community cheering them on!”
The gift of time
Hundreds of church members have served as mentors to SWMS students during middle school, through high school and beyond! The IMPACT Mentors from MDPC serve SBISD students under Spring Branch ISD’s SpringBoard Mentoring Program.
“Mentors help build student confidence and help coach students through life,” said Cooper. "Thank you, [mentors]!! The time and energy you spend on our students is priceless."
Fox has mentored a SWMS student for three years, following her to Spring Woods High School this year, although in-person mentoring visits are not currently possible because of COVID-19.
Mentors are doing their best to stay in contact with their mentees via letters and electronic communication methods allowed by the programs’ guidelines.
“I think we are all feeling a bit lost this year as to how we can continue mentoring and supporting our schools,” said Fox. “We communicate with our mentees through texts and emails, but it's just not the same as being present with them in person.
“We are so anxious to get back into the schools to continue mentoring, tutoring, volunteering, loving and supporting students and teachers,” she added.
Appreciation flows both ways
SWMS Principal Cristian de la Riva is very thankful for the support the students and staff receive from the church. “Spring Woods Middle School is blessed to have a partner in MDPC,” he said. “IMPACT members and community from MDPC always rise to the occasion to support our students through mentorships, and thoughtful appreciations to staff through food and small “thank you” gifts.
"MDPC is truly making a positive impact on the campus and community. Thank you!”
If your organization would like to partner with a school to show support and appreciation, please contact email@example.com. Your efforts will provide a spark and a smile for our hard-working educators.
Submitted by Becky Wuerth, SBISD Communications