KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
August 24, 2020
By Jennifer Miko
A special Facebook group has been created to show support and recognize Katy ISD teachers and staff. Almost 2,000 district employees have been "adopted" so far, but more are waiting to be chosen.
Deb Ambrosi (left) adopted Vanina Orendorff, Keiko Elementary art teacher.
Since March, Katy ISD teachers have had to adjust to virtually teaching over 80-thousand students. To prepare for the 2020-21 school year, they’ve invested many hours, adjusted teaching methods and mastered new technology.
“As a parent in Katy ISD I am always grateful for the endless support and dedication of the teachers and educators in Katy ISD,” says Melanie Dubendorff. “Now more than ever our teachers need to know that we appreciate them and value them.”
Sarah Robinson heard about the “Adopt a Teacher” program from Klein ISD. She teamed up with Dubendorff, and the business partners took to social media to rally support for educators in Katy ISD.
The “Adopt a Katy ISD Teacher” Facebook group opened in the beginning of the month. After two weeks, over 7500 people had joined. Currently, there are more than 8800 members. The program is not affiliated with Katy ISD.
“We would love to see every single teacher on our page be adopted,” says Sarah Robinson. “It’s not too late! It’s not just teachers, but school nurses, bus drivers, paraprofessionals, Katy ISD police - it’s everyone in education.”
The Beckendorff Junior High Counseling Team
This past week, teachers encountered many obstacles in an effort to run their classes in the “new normal.” For the first three days of school, they responded to emails from parents and helped students navigate the (sometimes overwhelming) online arena to locate their assignments.
“We know our teachers are going through rough times, and they need some extra love and support right now,” says Robinson.
"There are no requirements for the amount of encouragement given throughout this school year," says Dubendorff. "All forms are welcome: notes, gifts, supplies, etc."
Jessica Wright (pictured) has been teaching at West Memorial Junior High for the past 17 years. During the school day, she says she sits in her classroom, expecting her students to come in when the bells ring.
“With the empty classrooms, it’s eerily quiet and surreal,” says Jessica Wright.
Wright admits she was apprehensive about the “Adopt a Teacher” idea at first. But a persuasive friend changed her mind.
“I reached out to Jessica and asked her if I could adopt her since she hadn't posted her profile on the Facebook page yet,” says Katy mom Angie Waller. “I've known Jessica for close to 10 years, when our kids were in first grade.”
“Angie asked me if I was going to sign up and I told her I wasn’t sure,” says Wright, “and she said, ‘well I’m adopting you anyway!’”
“I think parents want to show appreciation - to a teacher that their child has or had, or even a teacher that they don’t know,” says Wright.
Waller surprised Wright with a Starbucks gift card for the first day of school and plans to recognize her throughout the year.
“Teachers aren’t signing up for this to get free stuff,” says Wright. “Teachers really like words of encouragement, especially when there are so many social media posts from angry parents who are disappointed with online school.”
“It's important to show our teachers we support them during this difficult time,” says Waller. “There is so much negativity in the world right now, it's nice to show teachers many still care.”
"I hope the adopters continue to support the teachers and staff throughout the year," says Robinson.
For more information, visit the Adopt a Katy ISD Teacher 2021-21 Facebook page here.