The Humboldt Unified School District governing board honored three Bradshaw Mountain Middle School VIPS at its March 4 meeting in a "bittersweet" tribute, as two employees will be moving on next year to other endeavors.
Classified honoree Angie Castaneda has worked at the middle school for two years as a special education aide. She also is a full-time college student working toward a counseling degree. She has a variety of tasks at BMMS, said Principal Jessica Bennett.
"Angie helps with all special education documentation and testing for the students. She works with a small group for reading intervention. She serves in three different classes depending on students and teacher needs, covers lunch duty each day, and she also runs a small group counseling session each week," Bennett said. "The students trust her and know that she cares about each of them."
Science teacher Cathy Alger will be moving to Montana at the end of the school year to be closer to her family, "and because she needs a larger state that she can fill with her energy and love," Bennett told board members.
Alger has taught science at BMMS for six years. She works with students of all ability levels who are engaged, and actively participate, in the lessons.
"One of her greatest talents is being able to ask questions at a variety of levels which gives all students a chance to be successful; they all know that at any time, anyone could be called on," Bennett said.
After this past year's seventh-graders in the Gear Up program benefited from a visit to Northern Arizona University, Algers wanted this year's students to have the same opportunity, and she is working to raise money and organize a similar trip.
HUSD's Volunteer of the month is Amber Schaffer, mother of two with a seventh-grader at BMMS.
Bennett said Schaffer had all kinds of ideas for fundraising, but found the school ineligible for many because the Parent Teacher Student Organization was not a 501(3)c non-profit entity. Even with her full-time job as bookkeeper, Schaffer was able to fill out forms, get questions answered by the IRS, publish the articles of incorporation, and submit everything this past month.
"Amber's diligence enabled us to get everything submitted this year, and we are now in the process of working with foundations and businesses that provide service work and donations to schools and non-profits," Bennett said.
She added that prospective grants could provide materials and training for BMMS programs, "all thanks to Amber Schaffer and her willingness to share her time, talents, and expertise with our school."