Jessica Sargalis of TLC wins the day off
Gift cards to be awarded to Jen Platt (TLC), Jon Aery (IS), Ana Ventre (MS) & Lori Reed (HS)
The power of teamwork was the resounding theme of the 1st Quarter nominations. In fact, the parent of a pre-kindergarten student who nominated Sargalis submitted multiple nominations because she was so impressed with the administration, faculty and staff.
Until enrolling her at child at B-P, “we were so used to feeling like we have a horrible child and people throwing their hands up at her,” the parent said in TLC Principal Brad Strait’s nomination. But that’s drastically changed. Throughout all of nominations submitted by this parent, she sang the praises of B-P’s staff and talked about the remarkable progress she’s seen in her daughter.
This anecdote sums it up best: In recalling a conversation with Strait, the parent remembers him saying, “You’re at the right place.” Her response? “Yes. Yes we are!!!”
Parent to Sargalis: ‘Thank you for expressing your love for our child, because we do not hear that often’
Jess Sargalis is the physical therapist at TLC by day and a modified soccer coach by night. While coaching a game, Sargalis stopped the parent of a player to share love for her younger pre-k student.
“Thank you for stopping to show me the interactions you are having with my daughter,” the parent said in Sargalis’ nomination. “It seems that the methods you are using are really helping her get through the day. I have been so excited about the ‘out-of-the-box’ interactions and observations being made that I share it with everyone I meet. Thank you for expressing your love for our child, because we do not see or hear that often. I loved hearing she was ‘your best friend’ and how you loved her hugs. I love learning about what happens in your room. We are very optimistic about the rest of the year.”
Sargalis said it was very special to have been nominated by a parent.
“A lot of the time, what we do here isn’t always shared at home. So, it’s nice to know the child is having a positive experience, and that a parent felt we are really helping her daughter just by interacting with her, talking to her and making her feel special.”
Sargalis said the work of her office is a team effort between occupational and physical therapy assistants Kristen Miller and Megan Sherman, and, of course, teachers and staff members.
“Students and parents see big changes because everyone works together and we make great connections,” Sargalis said.
Jen Platt (TLC)
Jen Platt is a teaching assistant at The Learning Community. Platt was nominated by a colleague and parent who was grateful for the extra attention Platt gave her child during a particular morning program.
“Thank you for making my child feel comfortable and safe during morning program,” the nomination says. “You always go out of your way to help him when he is having a rough morning. The little things matter.”
It took a moment for Platt recall the situation because she didn’t think twice about it at the time.
“He came in crying that day, so I comforted him,” Platt said. “It’s just what I do. I enjoy my job. If kids need a little extra love, that’s what they get.”
Jon Aery (IS)
Jon Aery is the art teacher at the intermediate school, though Principal Casey and others will tell you that’s a limited title considering all that he does at the IS. Aery is also the district’s mentor/coordinator for the First Lego League, a global Lego robotics program.
Aery was nominated by a first-year Lego coach. Aery said the demanding program requires coaches “to jump in with two-feet and wade through a huge world as they learn about programming, building and engineering.”
“Mr. Aery’s genuine regard and respect for the kids and the parents is profound,” the nomination said. “Mr. Aery has logged a lot of hours and gracious support to me and the team in order for all to go well. He has a way of explaining key concepts to fourth graders and ensuring that the ownership is ultimately upon them; this is a hallmark of all excellent teachers.”
Aery was humble in accepting the nomination.
“I’m so grateful. It’s a nice feeling that the coaches are finding value in any feedback that I give them,” Aery said. “I’m very appreciative, but I’d like to send the gratitude back to the volunteers. They take on a huge role in an important program for these kids.”
Ana Ventre (MS)
Ana Ventre is a new math teacher at the middle school who started this year. She was nominated by her mentor, who was moved by Ventre’s collaboration with her coworkers and her dedication to her students.
“She helps make learning fun by teaching the students songs that she has made up to help them remember different math rules,” the nomination said. “The other morning before school, she had three math teachers, one English, one social studies and one Spanish teacher trying to help her come up with a song. Although I don’t think we helped her very much, it was great to have all of us engaged.”
“She also is great at chasing kids down, holding them accountable but doing it in a way that is loving and supportive,” the nomination continued. “We are very lucky to have her as an addition to our faculty this year.”
Ventre said she was surprised and honored by the nomination, and expressed her appreciation for the Successories program.
“To be recognized by someone who’s been teaching for 30 years is a great honor,” Ventre said. “Time is short, and people have so much to do. The fact that she took time out of her day to do that was so thoughtful.”
Lori Reed (HS)
Lori Reed is a food service worker at the Broadalbin campus. She was nominated on behalf of a high school student in recognition of Reed’s generous spirit and nurturing character.
“I realize the extra care Lori puts into taking care of the kids’ needs and feeding them at school,” the nomination said. “She is always there to listen to the kids if they need to talk, and she makes sure their needs are always met, even if it comes out of her own pocket.”
Reed said she has a “Band-Aid fund” of loose change that she is happy to pull out anytime a student doesn’t have enough money for the food on their trays.
“It’s nice to know the kids appreciate it,” Reed said. “I hate to deny them anything. Sometimes, school lunch is the only decent meal they get during the day.”