Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sand Pine Elementary shows teachers its appreciation

Sand Pine Elementary teachers Tabatha Whaley, Jen Turner and Nadine Lambert open treasure chests with chocolate and a personalized thank you note from the school administration.

JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK | Times

Sand Pine Elementary teachers Tabatha Whaley, Jen Turner and Nadine Lambert open treasure chests with chocolate and a personalized thank you note from the school administration.

WESLEY CHAPEL — Tabatha Whaley and Jen Turner dropped off their students in the Sand Pine Elementary School cafeteria and headed to the outdoor covered play area where they knew only that a surprise awaited.

Reading specialist Angie Westbrook stood outside the lunch room door, holding a handful of keys — one for each teacher — to receive a treasure chest with a personalized thank you note and chocolate inside. A few feet away, assistant principal Todd Cluff fired up the grill to prepare burgers and hot dogs for the staff lunch.

Abba's Super Trooper blared through the speakers.

Turner and Whaley laughed as Westbrook draped the blue ribboned key over their necks.

"Awww, this is wonderful," Whaley said as she opened the small chest. "I love it, love it, love it."

It's been a rough year for teachers. They've endured a new reading textbook adoption, additional training on Learning Focused Strategies, implementation of daily physical education classroom lessons and more. And that's on top of a tight financial year in which the district has not given raises or even contracted step increases for an additional year of service.

"Our teachers are being pulled in so many directions, and they're really doing a fantastic job," Cluff said.

Rather than just say "thanks," Cluff, Westbrook and principal Ginny Yanson decided to do a little something special for the teaching staff. That was a lunchtime barbecue complete with homemade side dishes, chocolatey treats including a cake with the frosted inscription "We treasure you," and an after-school happy hour at Tijuana Flats.

"They're always good to us," said technology specialist Michelle Lattke, Sand Pine's teacher of the year, as she spooned some potato salad onto her plate. "But this is such a nice treat. You can't go wrong with food."

"It's just nice to know that they care," ESE teacher Jessica Medina added.

Inside the cafeteria, students eating grilled cheese sandwiches and pizza slices were jealous that the burgers and hot dogs were just outside the door. But they didn't begrudge their teachers the treat one bit.

"They deserve to be treated special, because they teach us a lot of things that can help us in life," fifth-grader Nick Franco said.

"They work hard," fifth-grader Alyssa Chermak said in agreement. "And they're cool."

Westbrook shared the kids' view of the teachers, and said she thought Friday's celebration was the least she and the other school leaders could do.

"It's important to stop and acknowledge people, especially when they're working so hard," she said.

Speech pathologist Gina "Mighty" Miller suggested it's the little things that make all the difference.

"No other school would ever do this," she said. "I don't know of any reading specialist and assistant principal that would do this as a thank you. This is what makes us come back."

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at solochek@sptimes.com or (813) 909-4614. For more education news, visit the Gradebook at blogs.tampabay.com/schools.

Sand Pine Elementary shows teachers its appreciation 11/14/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 18, 2008 3:43pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The rise and humiliating fall of Chris Cantwell, Charlottesville's star 'fascist'

    Nation

    The white supremacists, nationalists and far-right trolls who starred in last weekend's violent Charlottesville, Virginia, rallies have suffered no lack of humiliation in the days since.

    White nationalist Chris Cantwell has had quite the week after being featured prominently in an HBO news program on the march in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. [Evelyn Hockstein for The Washington Post]
  2. MLB umpires wear wristbands to protest 'abusive player behavior'

    Ml

    Major League Baseball umpires wore white wristbands during games Saturday, protesting "abusive player behavior" after Detroit second baseman Ian Kinsler was fined but not suspended for his recent verbal tirade against ump Angel Hernandez.

    Home plate umpire D.J. Rayburn wears a wristband to protest "abusive player behavior" on umpires by players as Rayburn heads to his position to call the first inning of a baseball game between the Milwaukee Brewers and and the Colorado Rockies late Saturday, Aug. 19, 2017, in Denver. [Associated Press]
  3. Tropical Storm Harvey could regroup but stay clear of Florida

    Weather

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop into severe weather.

    The remnants of former Tropical Storm Harvey could rebound while two other systems brewing in the Atlantic Ocean are unlikely to develop, according to the National Hurricane Center. [National Hurricane Center]
  4. Fatal hit and run closes section of Nebraska Avenue

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Police are investigating a fatal hit and run crash early Sunday morning on Nebraska Avenue.

  5. Sunday Conversation: Roberto Torres talks immigration

    Human Interest

    YBOR CITY

    Roberto Torres stands as one of the city's most impressive rising entrepreneurs. The owner of Blind Tiger Cafes, Black & Denim clothing company and CoWork Ybor has expanded his reach with locations at Tampa International Airport and The Morrison, a new mixed use development in the SoHo District. Torres, …

    Roberto Torres receives his American Dream award from U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor on Aug. 15.