Celebrating the extraordinary work of school staff in a time of crisis
Each May, California’s local educational agencies celebrate Employee Appreciation Month to recognize the teachers, classroom aides, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, custodial workers, administrative staff and others who dedicate their lives to promoting the success of children.

Now, amid school closures caused by COVID-19 and the important work being done to support students every day, under extraordinary circumstances, it is more important than ever to honor these employees.

“The work accomplished by our educators and classified staff and the passion they have for improving children’s lives is incredible even under normal circumstances,” said CSBA CEO & Executive Director Vernon M. Billy. “If there is one thing this pandemic has shone a spotlight on, it is the deep commitment that California’s school employees have to their students. It is an honor to celebrate these heroes who regularly go above and beyond what it expected of them.”

There is no shortage of examples of educators and school staff throughout California, and the country, putting in time and effort — sometimes at the risk of their own health — to brighten their students’ days.

Cafeteria workers and other school staff members are preparing and serving millions of grab-and-go breakfasts and lunches to ensure children still have access to free, nutritious school meals. And in the middle of this pandemic that has caused unprecedented job loss and economic upheaval, many are doing what they can to bring a sense of normalcy and cheer to students’ lives. Just a couple examples include staff writing positive messages on bananas, adding stickers to lunch bags and even dressing up in fun costumes.

School bus drivers — often one of the first faces seen by students each weekday morning — continue to remain a familiar sight as many have begun delivering meals to designated stops along their routes. Many of them are are also parking buses in neighborhoods to provide broadband internet access so students in need can access technological resources and complete their school assignments during the extended school closures.

Teachers are tasked with making the difficult and immediate transition to distance learning, through which many have sought to provide a sense of stability for children whose routines had been upended and whose homes were now more stressful than ever before. To connect with their students beyond a computer screen, San Marcos Unified School District educators organized a 50-car parade through neighborhoods as children and families stood outside their homes smiling and waving.

Meanwhile, teachers in the Bay Area have pledged all or part of their federal stimulus checks to the families of their immigrant students who were ineligible for the economic aid and other safety net programs. Elsewhere, Fresno educators raised $10,000 to help feed families in need by hosting a virtual concert for viewers at home.

CSBA has created a sample resolution declaring May 2020 as Employee Appreciation Month. The resolution can be found at