Grandview Heights Schools classified employees share annual award
Grandview Heights Schools' annual Win-Win Award traditionally honors a classified employee for his or her outstanding job performance.
But this year, everyone is a winner.
The award is announced at the staff convocation held by the district at the beginning of each school year.
This year's event was held virtually ahead of the Aug. 17 start of class, when students were using the full distance-learning model.
"Win-Win is equivalent to the Teacher of the Year Award," said Carrie O'Mara, a paraprofessional who works in the district and serves as president of the Grandview Heights Educational Support Staff Association.
The association represents about 45 classified employees in the district -- including food-service, transportation and maintenance workers -- and administers the Win-Win Award, she said.
"Usually, we like to honor one support-staff member who, over the last year, has gone over and above their regular duty in supporting staff and students," O'Mara said.
"This year, the GHESSA executive committee decided that because of all the COVID stuff happening in the spring, there were so many members who were going over and above," she said.
"It was impossible to single out one individual, so we thought, why not recognize all our employees?"
The support staff does "all the work behind the scenes so that teachers can teach and students can learn," O'Mara said. "They are the unsung heroes of schools."
That's been true even as the teaching and learning moved online after school buildings were closed in March due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, she said.
"It's the custodians and groundskeepers who worked so hard to prepare the schools to make sure everybody is safe when they return; the cooks who helped to prepare meals for students who needed them; the administrative assistants who were able to get reports cards out on time; technology (staff) who picked up devices at home so students could continue to learn; and paraprofessionals who have continued to support students both online or in person during the pandemic," O'Mara said.
"It's a real team effort," she said.
Sharing the award among all of the support staff "is reflective of the tremendous work and dedication that every person in our district exhibits doing their respective roles in our organization," Superintendent Andy Culp said.
"That became even more important during this challenging and unusual time," he said.