May 2019

Secretaries & Administrative Assistants Week

This week is one where we celebrate the people who are the heart of our district. They are faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, are able to leap tall buildings, can change toner faster than light. Simultaneously , provide a sharpened pencil, dispense Kleenex, point to the lost and found box, and answer the phone without missing a beat.

This week we celebrate secretaries and administrative assistants in our schools and departments. School secretaries and Administrative Assistants are usually the first folks to greet/meet people in a building or a department. Most of the time, you establish first impressions for a student or family or patron. You make a difference each day. Relationships matter.

From all of us in the AAA/Eschool/Records Department...Happy Secretary/Administrative Assistance Day.

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Relationships Matter

Springfield Public Schools staff make a difference each day in the lives of people they encounter. From administrators, principals, teachers, custodians, bus drivers, nutrition services staff, para-professionals, to school secretaries and everyone in between, each of us impact a student's day in some form or another. When we least expect it, someone will even tell us how much we meant to them in their life. Relationships matter.

I will share a personal story of just this. I taught 9th grade at Kickapoo. Our department was being supportive of a writing initiative another department was asking support of, and had my students write a thank you note to a person of their choice in history or their life as practice for writing with specific details. I asked them to utilize multiple paragraphs to express their appreciation to this person emphasizing the value of examples of how this person positively impacted the world or their life. I urged them to write detailed examples to solidify their thoughts in writing to this special person. I explained that if the individual they were writing to were alive, i would try to mail the thank you note to the person for them.

One student in particular stood out in this exercise. He stated he was writing to a former SPS staff member who had made a huge impact on his life. He explained his mother had passed away suddenly during his first year in school. He was only a kindergartner. This staff member, his kindergarten teacher, took extra care with him, went out of their way to check in with him, sat at lunch with him on many occasions. She listened to him when he was sad, which he tried to hide from people, but she seemed to know. Her gentleness reminded him of his mother, and he felt comforted. He recalled this and other lovely memories in his thank you letter to her. She had retired after that year, and this exercise made him wish he could tell her how much she meant to him. His letter was heartwarming, filled with specific examples of how she made a difference to him then and how much she affected his outlook on life at a devastating time.

I wrestled with how in the world could I find her? I had made a promise to try to deliver all the thank you notes. That afternoon I went to our school secretary. Of course, school secretaries have the answer for everything! I presented her with the situation, asked if she could think of a way i might find this special person. She looked up at me with a huge smile and said, "Ann, I sit next to her at choir tonight. I will take it to her." I was astonished!

That night the teacher opened the thank you note. She stated it was one of the sweetest thank you notes she had ever received and was moved to tears. She never realized what a difference her actions had made in his life.

The teacher reached out to her former kindergarten student and his father. They were overjoyed at finding her after all these years. The student's father, the student and the teacher met for lunch shortly afterward. It was a wonderful reunion for them all.

The moral of the story? We never really know what a difference we make on other people. We understand the power of positive customer we greet people, even when we have so much work to do, so many things to slowing down and being fully present with someone can have BIG results even when we are not aware.

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SPS Volunteer Program

Spring is definitely here! We celebrated National Volunteer Recognition Month in April. Celebrating our volunteers and the service they provide was an opportunity to say a special thank you for their time given to your building. We sent your principal and the Site Volunteer Coordinator a total of volunteer hours from July 1, 2018 through April 18, 2019 for your convenience.

Please take time to recognize your volunteers even if in a small way. So far, in kind services from our volunteers total in excess of $532,414.00 dollars. That is half a million dollars! This is the highest volunteer hour total we have had since we have been keeping detailed information.

Thank you to everyone involved in helping us keep track of these volunteer hours.

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Chaperones & Field Trips and Volunteers

Spring and the last weeks of school bring the all familiar field trips and contests and celebrations that require parents or other interested individuals having a volunteer application and a current background check.

Please remind your parents or other individuals in order to attend field trips or help with other student outings, they must be an approved current year volunteer. Volunteers need at least 3 weeks advance notice of field trip dates so the individual will have time to complete the background check form. Once a background check is submitted, it will take 4-7 business days to return the results. At that point, the volunteer will be approved or declined based on the background check results. Our background checks are good for four years from the approved date.

Did You Know?

Did you know that Amy Patton will be replacing me, Ann White on July 1, 2019. Her title will the Coordinator of Student and School Services. She will be responsible for handling parent-patron calls of concern, Immediate and Transitional Transfers and Revocations, Residency Concerns-Residency Waivers, Parents Hunting for their Children and the SPS Volunteer Program.

Mrs. Patton will have an office at the Kraft Administrative Offices, 1359 St. Louis Street. So if you have parents hunting or quizzing staff of the whereabouts of their children, you will send them to Amy after July 1 and direct them to KAC, not the Bentley Building. Some of these duties have been associated with the Records Office. We are hoping to avoid confusion when school starts in August 2019.

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Immediate Transfers for 2019-2020

May 1, 2019, is the date that our secondary Immediate Transfers open for approval. This allows the newly accepted transfer student to schedule for classes, get involved in clubs, sport or other activities that align to Missouri High School Athletic Association guidelines.

Our elementary Immediate Transfers open on August 1, 2019, and may take up to a week of school before our principals understand how numbers total in the grade levels.

If your elementary or secondary building has a new principal assigned, make sure they understand they need to contact Amy Patton via email to make sure they have access to approve their building forms.


In the year 2011, the winners of an Utah elementary school spelling bee received a trophy reading "Viewmont School Spellling Bee, 1st Place." Yes, the word spelling was misspelled.

Too bad they did not have their school secretary/administrative assistant spell check it before sending it out to be made!

excerpt: Reader's Digest