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Who better to celebrate and thank teachers than students? That’s exactly what Friendship Public Charter School Online (FPCSO) school liaison Cheryl Ryder and operations manager Shauna Chastang thought. Since students, parents, and school staff meet weekly at a school partner’s campus, they planned a surprise celebration for them during Teacher Appreciation Week last month.

The gathering included FPCSO staff, parents, and students. “Before the school year ends, we wanted to take a moment to recognize the staff of our online school for their dedication, guidance, extra help when needed, boost of confidence, and welcoming presence in our community,” said Mrs. Ryder. “This is the first of its kind for our school and we hope to make it part of the fabric of our campus. Led by Mr. Sloane, head of school, the online teachers and staff have made virtual education a very valuable option for students in Washington, DC.  They are trailblazers of this unique model of learning. You may not hear much about this staff, but they are everyday people whose love for education has helped transform the lives of many families in Washington, DC.  They are the unsung heroes of online education!”

Each educator was presented a certificate of appreciation, a rose, a heartfelt thank you from a student, and a fun dessert – an iced cookie shaped like an octopus.  “I know what you are thinking – that’s the only one they had at Starbucks!” Mrs. Chastang laughed. “But, it turns out that the octopus has quite a few qualities that remind me of our incredible educators!”

Mrs. Chastange then read a brief description of the sea animal and lightheartedly compared those qualities to the team members:

  • They are considered the most intelligent of all invertebrates.
  • They are capable of complex and flexible behavior.
  • They learn easily, including learning by observation of another.
  • They can solve problems.
  • They can lose an arm and regrow it later.
  • They use crustacean shells to build fortresses around their lairs.
  • They can camouflage themselves, change color, and squeeze through the tiniest crevice.
  • They quickly adapt to their environment and surroundings.
  • They have eight legs and one very large brain.

“I see our FPCS staff as the unique limbs that meet in the middle and work together creating this fortress of learning for our incredible student body,” she said. “Thank you for all that you do online, offline, here and there, each day.”

About The Author

Suzanne Conway

Suzanne teaches grades K-5 at Friendship Public Charter School Online (FPCSO) in Washington, D.C.  She loves teaching in a virtual environment, where the focus is on learning! Suzanne brings 20 years of experience in education and community development. She has taught in public and private schools, served as division director for the American Heart Association (AHA), and as community relations coordinator for EEI, one of the largest women-owned companies in the U.S. After raising over $1 million for AHA, she returned to her first love: teaching.  Suzanne earned her bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in education: teaching and learning.  She is highly qualified in reading and language acquisition and middle school English language arts.  Suzanne lives in Haymarket, Virginia, with her husband, Rick, and their dog, Ginger.  She enjoys swimming, traveling, decorating, the arts, the Washington Nationals, and keeping up with their sons. 

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