- Meridian Ranch Elementary School
Fantastic 49 Fanfare Wraps Up Semester
In the midst of the holiday season, District 49 took time to celebrate some of the individuals who are gifts to our D49 community during the Fantastic 49 presentation on Dec. 15. The line-up of honorees introduced to the board of education included a student, parent and several staff members.
Benjamin Chapman, senior at Falcon High School, was honored for crafting two buddy benches for learners at Bennett Ranch Elementary School as part of an Eagle Scout project. Buddy benches allow for students to see when another learner might need a friend. If a student sees someone sitting on the bench, they can sit with them to talk or invite them to play. “I personally have wanted buddy benches at the schools I’ve worked at for 10 years,” Rebekah Lusk, counselor at BRES said. “Our kids have done so well with them.”
The next individual recognized was Julie Platt, reading interventionist from Falcon Elementary School of Technology. Platt is instrumental in supplying teachers with resources and data to help struggling readers. “Julie is a phenomenal educator … she looks at everything as a problem to be solved, thinking how she can help students and families,” shared Ed Kulbacki, principal. “She has great trust with our staff and community, and she sends communications to families to help them understand how they can support their child in reading.”
Director of Nutrition Services Monica Deines-Henderson was nominated for recognition by one of her kitchen managers, Olga Sandoval at Odyssey Elementary. Deines-Henderson is dedicated to providing nutritious meals for students, and she is committed to taking care of her employees. “At the end of the day, it is really my honor to serve students and work with the most incredible people, our nutrition professionals in District 49,” said Deines-Henderson.
Parents play a key role in D49 schools, and Inspiration View Elementary recognized one of their own. Carolyne Morris, parent volunteer at the school, received accolades for all she gives to the school. “Carolyne has been a treasure to Inspiration View,” said Pam Holloman, principal. “Where there is a need and there are students, that’s where you will find Carolyne. Because of Carolyne, IVES is better in so many ways.”
Jacki Ballou, community care advocate in the Falcon Zone, was thanked for her contributions to Falcon Middle School. She genuinely supports learners and families with attendance, academic and behavioral concerns, and is a true example of the D49 Cultural Compass. “Jacki is one of the most positive people … she knows what is going on and will always reach out to support us,” said Brian Smith, interim Falcon Zone leader. “Jacki cares for kids and cares for others.”
The evening’s festivities wrapped up by honoring the special education team from Falcon Middle School: Joy Kovanda, Brianne Packard, Nick Wiley, Elizabeth Koch, Whitney Smoote, Robin Bird, Derek Faw, Marci Strunc and Kevin Henderson. “This team is dedicated to students. They make sure they meet the individual needs of every student on their caseload. They are student-focused and care about how they are doing academically,” Smith said. “I’ve never had so many phone calls from parents about how this team is better servicing those students who need individual support.”
Fantastic 49 is the district’s recognition program that celebrates fantastic staff, students, parents and community members before the board of education meetings. A sincere thank you to Air Academy Federal Credit Union, Dion’s, and Texas Roadhouse for donating gift cards for honorees.
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