UNcommon Sense: Support Staff

by Marlow Public Schools Superintendent Corey Holland

All public schools in Oklahoma are made up of two categories of employees: certified and support. Certified employees are mainly teachers and administration. Support employees are mainly all the other positions in a school. No school can be successful without great employees in both categories. We have typically done a great job showing appreciation of our certified employees but often overlook our support employees’ contributions. Teachers are an important part of a student reaching his or her potential but this impact would not be possible without support employees. As Superintendent, I get to see first-hand what many outside of the school may miss. Marlow’s support employees are vital to our school.

Many of our support employees are the first to report to work each day. They open the buildings and make sure everything is ready for the day’s activities. They clean and sanitize our classrooms and address messes that could become a slip hazard. Some support employees repair equipment, do electrical work, construction projects, and grounds maintenance. Another group begins preparing a meal early each morning for the hundreds of students who eat breakfast at school each day. Several others begin their bus route in the darkness of morning where they will eventually pick up hundreds of students and deliver them to school. All these support employees are often some of the first adults our students see and interact with each day. The work these employees do daily contributes to the positive culture and student safety goals we have in the district.

Support staff in the site offices have a variety of responsibilities. While primarily they do reports, data input, clerical and secretarial duties, they also do other tasks outside of their main roles. Whether it be assisting administration and teachers by disseminating or collecting information or helping with other tasks and issues that come up daily, these employees help keep the offices moving. Support staff in the administration office does payroll, invoicing, purchase orders, activity accounts, human resources, insurance and contracts. Both office staffs are often the first point of contact with visitors and calls. Without these employees, the daily mechanics of operating a school could not take place.

We also have support staff for information and technology needs. These employees install and monitor all the district’s technology, fix computers, work on servers and the internet. Our student information, payroll, intercom, phones, and accounting system cannot function without technology. Other support employees work directly with the teacher and help support student learning. They help the teacher prepare materials for each day’s lessons. They work with students in small groups and even one on one. These employees are an important part of a teacher and student’s success.

I have not shared all the duties and responsibilities of our support staff team. There are many other things this group of employees does that most people will never see them do. Those of us who work in the district are keenly aware of how these employees give of their time to support students and other school staff. Our support employees work really hard to make our school run smoothly. Not only that, this group models very well what it means to be a true Outlaw. Marlow is lucky to have such a quality group of support employees.