Aiding the success of students

Jennifer Honrado knew some­thing was up when she saw a group of student-athletes walk­ing down the hall­way car­ry­ing their jer­seys. When one of them stopped in front of her, hand­ed her his blue foot­ball jer­sey, and explained the “MyJersey, Your Impact” theme, she was moved to tears.

“It meant the world to me,” Mrs. Honrado said. “It was so spe­cial. It made my week.”

Mrs. Honrado is an instruc­tion­al aide at Quakertown Community High School. And that inter­ac­tion with foot­ball play­er John Eatherton, who thanked her for “being a pos­i­tive influ­ence in school and always smil­ing,” “meant the world to me,” she said.

It’s the type of mag­ic moment aides in the Quakertown Community School District often receive as they make a pos­i­tive dif­fer­ence in the lives of stu­dents, some of whom have a 504 and/or an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Donna Soriano, who has worked as an instruc­tion­al aide at Strayer Middle School for 18 years, recalled run­ning into one stu­dent at the high school who had been a “hand­ful. He saw me and broke down. He start­ed cry­ing and hugged me,” she said. “I knew I had made a difference.”

View open­ings for aides here

QCSD has open­ings for aides, both full- and part-time, in all build­ings for grades K‑12. There are gen­er­al aides, instruc­tion­al aides for both gen­er­al learn­ers and spe­cial edu­ca­tion learn­ers, and sub­sti­tute aides. Work hours are con­ducive for par­ents, who can be off when their chil­dren are home, includ­ing sum­mers and holidays.

Two-page pull­out with more pho­tos

“It’s a great place to work,” Strayer instruc­tion­al aide Tracy Moyer said. “It can be frus­trat­ing, but also the most fun you’ll ever have. It’s so worth it to see that moment when kids make and achieve the goals they want to achieve. You help them, you encour­age them, you believe in them and that helps keep them going. The best part is you see it in their face when it clicks. When that moment hap­pens. ‘Oh, wait, I can do this.’ That’s what makes the hard days worth it and they start to believe in them­selves.”

Debra Graver, in her 19th year as an instruc­tion­al aide at Trumbauersville Elementary School, agreed. “Whether it’s one-on-one or work­ing in a small group learn­ing let­ters and sounds. When it clicks for the kids, there’s noth­ing bet­ter than that,” she said. “One girl told me ‘I got this.’ Those small moments bring me here every day. Makes me feel so good to be so use­ful and help­ful to every­body here.”

Mrs. Graver has all sorts of duties, includ­ing cafe­te­ria, recess, main office, and meet­ing the bus­es for arrival and dis­missal. “Getting kids where they need to go is the high­light of my day,” she said. “They always have so much to share with me. They just want some­one to lis­ten to them. It’s the con­nec­tions you make and the rap­port you build. They trust you. You’re their con­stant. That’s so impor­tant to them.”

She also appre­ci­ates the “grat­i­tude and appre­ci­a­tion” shown to her by teach­ers. “I feel so val­ued as their wing­man,” she said. “It’s very hum­bling know­ing they know we help them and their kids.”

Wendy Stefenack, a learn­ing sup­port aide at Quakertown Elementary School, said whether she’s attend­ing a foot­ball game or mak­ing a trip to the gro­cery store, a stu­dent will stop by to say hel­lo. “It shows just the lit­tle bit of time I had with them made an impact,” she said. “You can’t put any amount of mon­ey on that. They con­tin­ue to want to learn, that’s what I’m here for. To see them suc­ceed, whether emo­tion­al­ly or edu­ca­tion­al­ly, it’s the most reward­ing thing you can ask for in a job.”

Marie Lee and Jen Jefferson, instruc­tion­al aides at the Sixth Grade Campus, each spoke of the love they have for their jobs along with the team­work they have with teach­ers and admin­is­tra­tors to do the best they can for stu­dents.

“We’re a safe haven for them,” Mrs. Lee said. “Because we may spend time with them one-on-one or in a small group, they come to us before they might go to a teacher. They can let their guard down with us.”

“It’s so impor­tant to have that con­nec­tion,” Mrs. Jefferson said. “They feel com­fort­able with us.”

They may also have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to see a stu­dent in two or three class­es through­out the day to note “pat­terns of behav­ior,” Mrs. Lee said. “There’s a chain of com­mand. We make sure every­thing gets passed on to the teach­ers as they will with us.”

Student: Mrs. Bauman, do you have an unsta­pler?

Student: Melancholy is an awful big word for a three-letter word (sad)

Mrs. Bauman: I told a stu­dent he was always smil­ing.
Student: I know, I can’t even con­trol it!

“It’s zingers like these that make my day,” she said.