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Staff, Students Show Care for D49 Family

Melissa Watts, staff member at FESoT, is recognized during Fantastic 49 festivities Jan. 14.

In the midst of a challenging time for learning, both staff and students are taking time to demonstrate care and compassion for each other. The board of education and senior leaders honored warm-hearted employees and students during Fantastic 49 festivities Jan. 14 before the monthly board of education meeting.

The board and leaders first learned about the work of Melissa Watts, family community liaison at Falcon Elementary School of Technology. Watts is instrumental in connecting families to numerous community resources such as Koats for Kids, and Care and Share Food Bank. “Melissa comes to school every day with a big smile on her face,” shared Stacy Packer, administrative assistant at FESoT who nominated Watts. “We couldn’t exist without her in our community.”

Carri Crowe, instructional coach at Skyview Middle School, was next to receive accolades for her creation of a zen room at the school for staff to relieve stress and anxiety during today’s challenging times. Tony Marino, P.E./health teacher, nominated Crowe and shared, “I am here to recognize Carri’s efforts for looking out for the mental health and well-being of our staff. The zen room is equipped with yoga mats, calming music, adult coloring books, refreshments and a soothing water fountain. It’s a hit with staff and greatly appreciated.”

To wrap up the night’s celebration, the Junior Student 2 Student group at Falcon Middle School was honored. “Our JS2S program is truly a pillar of the Firebird Nation spirit, and it’s helped us instill a stronger culture overall throughout our entire campus,” shared Brian Smith, executive principal of Firebird Nation.

The JS2S program is a partnership through the Military Child Education Coalition and began as a program to welcome new students to FMS, but it’s grown to include working on larger projects such as producing videos to help students transition back to in-person learning and creating a new rewards program for positive behavior. 

“Our sponsors, Mrs. Villani and Miss Murdock, lead this program well and ensure all students are included and vested in our core values,” Smith added. “To my four student core leaders [Helen Bozzo, Jeric Goin, Samantha Stutz and James Vignery] – thank you to each of these students … I am encouraged for this world’s future because of what these students do each and every day.”

Fantastic 49 is D49’s recognition program that honors staff, students and volunteers for their contributions and achievements in the district. Selected individuals are recognized before each monthly board of education meeting.

School Board President John Graham congratulates honorees during the Jan. 14 Fantastic 49 celebration. Carri Crowe, employee at Skyview MIddle, is honored during Fantastic 49 festivities Jan. 14. Brian Smith, executive principal of Firebird Nation, honors JS2S sponsors at the Fantastic 49 presentation Jan. 14.

Amy Matisek
amatisek@d49.org