In the beginning of May, teachers all around America are celebrated for their hard work during Teacher Appreciation Week. Since schools were shuttered, teachers had to move all of their lessons to online learning platforms. They’ve missed out on events, and face to face contact has happened through Zoom rather than in the classroom. However, our teachers persevered and Arcadia schools celebrated them in every way they could think of. 

At Arcadia High, each day of Teacher Appreciation Week held a new surprise for educators. They were showered with gift certificates for movies and dinners, and students sent out thank you letters and a short video showing teachers their love. 

“We can’t thank our Arcadia teachers enough for their immense work and the positive impact they continue to make in these challenging times,” said parent and PTO co-president Tricia Longnecker. “Their passion to help students learn and grow has spilled over into virtual classrooms. We truly recognize and appreciate how our teachers play such a pivotal role in our children’s lives, making a difference in their well-being and long-term success.”

At Hopi Elementary, students had virtual themes for each day of the week to show teachers some love. They drew pictures, dressed up like their teachers for “Twin with your Teacher Tuesday,” emailed thank you notes and shared what they love about their teachers. At the end of the week was “Free Friday,” where students showed appreciation with videos, flowers and notes of thanks. 

Hopi also teamed up with My Slice of the Pie to offer a pizza dinner for each educator. 

“The shift to virtual appreciation was a challenge for us, but we are hoping that our daily virtual touches remind our teachers that now, more than ever, they are loved,” said PTA President Heidi Richardson. “We are hopeful that our virtual show of love will translate to our staff as TRUE appreciation.”

The parents at Christ Lutheran School banded together to show support for their teachers and staff. Two CLS moms helped raise funds to have over 70 signs made for the teachers and staff that said “A CLS Staff Superhero Lives Here!” They were delivered around the Valley, and made it as far as Surprise, Chandler, Cave Creek and Mesa. 

“While our families have always been generous, Teacher Appreciation Week was more important this year. Because we’re so relational here and such a tight community, the separation has been hard for all of us,” said Business Manager Kim Walton. “It was important to the parents that they could say thank you to the entire staff, including teachers, pastors, office admin and maintenance. The outpouring of parents who were willing to drive all over the Valley was amazing. It was a wonderful gesture and really appreciated by the staff.”

Biltmore Prep also took time to recognize their teachers by having a different activity for students each day. Monday was “Make them Laugh” day, where students sent teachers a funny joke or video. On “Chalk the Walk” Wednesday, students took a picture of their sidewalk chalk designs and sent them in. On “Throw Back Thursday” students sent their teachers a note of their favorite memories in class.

“While recognition and praise are important and valued throughout the year, the dedicated week set aside in May known as Teacher Appreciation Week provides an organized time where school community stakeholders; students, parents and administrators can come together to shower our hardworking teachers with all the love and appreciation,” Principal Stephanie DeMar said. 

Tavan Elementary PTO was able to send each teacher a gift card to Target so they could stock up on essentials or splurge on a gift for themselves. 

“Teacher Appreciation Week is so important, especially at this time, because the teachers never skipped a beat and kept the kids moving forward,” Tavan Math Coach Jenny Martin said. “The kids still had a comfortable place to be with their teachers, even online. Teachers have been a comforting presence and given them that security among all of the chaos.”

Tavan’s principal, Julie Ballard, had a special message for the teachers that seems fitting for educators all around the world.

“I celebrate you each and every day. You make an impact. Children will be better, stronger, and kinder because of you. So, THANK YOU for what you bring with you every day: kindness, love, compassion, strength, creativity, truth, trust, wisdom, and, above all, the belief that what you do makes a difference. What you do changes lives!”