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Our HEART Champions
Click on a name to see the Nominator and the reason they deserve to be acknowledged everyday for their actions.
Officer Donesta Wilkens/ Officer Brandon McCruel -AJ Rickoff/Safety & Security
HEART Nominator: Terika Spratt, Kindergarten Teacher / Diana Gatson, Kindergarten Teacher / Keli Zehnder, Pre-K Teacher
SCHOOL: AJ Rickoff K-8
The nominators agreed that Officers, Brandon McCruel and Donesta Wilkens are instrumental team members at Andrew J. Rickoff and have a can do approach with anything asked of them. They shared the following: “Our Safety and Security Team have recently changed with how we welcome students at A.J. Rickoff in the morning simply by changing their greeting. We have initiated a PBiS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support) Team through our early childhood department and Donesta and Brandon were quick to jump on board”. Officer Wilkens specifically changed the simple verbiage of good morning to "You are amazing, awesome, and wonderful." Donesta has her "amazing scholars bunch" that often require a little more support and she does so with a smile on her face and demonstrates empathy for all of our scholars. Per Principal Schutt, Andrew J. Rickoff has noticed a SIGNIFICANT decrease in morning referrals and students making it to class on time, which leads to an increase in instruction.
Officer McCruel, has truly been an influential male role model for many of the young scholars at A.J. Rickoff. Brandon has a way of speaking to children that helps them to understand their feelings of frustration and connect with them to turn their behavior around. Brandon currently has several programs that he runs at Rickoff. In October, he has ”Sock-tober” drive, where he collects socks for our students. Brandon is also currently working on donations to secure us a washer and dryer. Most recently, Mr. McCruel, purchased 6 winter coats for students. The staff shared they are not at the school to punish and have altered the impression of an Officer’s role. Not only do they nurture the students, but they are responsive and caring to the staff as well, lending a hand or a positive word of encouragement anytime they see a teacher who needs to be uplifted.
You both truly exemplify that in Communicating with HEART that the “Role of the Educator is bigger than the tasks associated with his/her job”.
Davina Brown -Willow School/Safety & Security
HEART Nominator: Tammy Walker, Environmental Service Specialist
SCHOOL: Willow K-8
Officer Brown was nominated via an email from Tammy Walker who shared the “great job” Officer Brown was doing. Her exact words were “this young lady deserves your attention she is doing exceptional work with the children”. This includes running the anti-bullying program at Willow and her nominator shared “the children’s perspective on life has changed for the better”. She shared that Officer Brown, has through her skills to relate to the children, taken her positon of authority and transformed it into showing our children different ways of dealing with problems, such as having a compliment box set aside where the children can say very refreshing things at their own leisure”. She continued by stating, “This young lady teaches the kids, parents the kids, and listens in ways and on levels some of us can only imagine. The kids are more inspired to learn”. Officer Brown held an event where the children played against the Cleveland police department in basketball to show the kids that Cleveland Police in other ways besides the negative. Ms. Walker states, That activity had a great turnout and that these things are just a few examples that show your dedication to the children at Willow School. Ms. Walker also believes the adults at Willow are responding to one another in a more positive manner and attributes that to the “contagiousness’ of what Officer Brown has started with the students. She states, “Officer Brown has become a great role model for our children she continues to come up with great ideas for the kids to do; and in the end still reminding them of how important it is to do well in school and be polite to one another”. Your nominator sees you as a “young woman with great promise because your first thought is the children each and every day”.
We thank you Officer Brown for Communicating with HEART and showing positive interaction every day and every time, which is a key focus and expected outcome of the HEART model itself.
Christine Higgins, Health Services/Nursing
HEART Nominator: Karen Perez Steigerwald, Health Services & Nursing
Location: 1111 Superior
In this scenario, Christine you assisted her fellow educator/nominator with a multitude of questions/concerns regarding a somewhat complicated student/student family health issue. Ms. Steigerwald, states, once she shared the problem (that is not disclosed her due to sensitive nature), Christine immediately stepped in and provided the necessary information needed to assist the student/student family. Your response was immediate providing CMSD resources as well as outside agencies, and helpful age-appropriate youtube/TED talk segments. The student/student family was also grateful for finally being able to obtain services and voiced a sincere appreciation for forwarding of the youtube segments. This all occurred because of your wide knowledge base and willingness to respond and communicate to this request in a timely manner - which is not uncommon. Christine you are often the "Go To" resource not only for your nominator, but also for many CMSD nurses. You respond immediately (within minutes) via email or phone call throughout the school year to assist staff and student/families with questions/concerns regarding- Immunizations, Vision, Speech/Hearing, ACE & Toxic Stress, Lice, CPR, Sexual Health, Diet/Nutrition, Mental Health, Nsg. Professional Days/CEUs, Work Day and Eschool issues. Christine your nominator shares that you are an exceptional experienced school nurse and is truly and asset to CMSD!
We acknowledge you for consistently Communicating with HEART via the building of rapport and relationship with our CMSD Customers!
Beth Claudio, Lincoln West Global Studies - Teacher Intervention Specialist (AUT/MD)
HEART Nominator: David Spanos, CMSD Nurse
School: Lincoln West – Global Studies
Beth Claudio was nominated for her inspiring ability to respond with HEART in the most challenging situations. Her nominator shares she's clearly one of Cleveland's most talented intervention specialists, because of her ability to respond with empathy which he states is embedded in love. This has allowed Beth make it a practice to exemplify HEART in the midst of her role, which can include formal meetings for IEPs that may last for hours and often places her in a “service recovery mode” of empathizing and attempting to right what the customer feels went wrong. In these meetings Beth herself may be viewed to be a part of the system, but Beth has displayed the ability to really listen and empathize through situations and information that may make some bow their head in defeat – but it is said that “nothing discourages” Beth. Not outrageous remarks, not anger, not resistance. The nominator shares, it is because of this, that Beth is successful at reaching her students in the most challenging instances. He states, “Beth focuses on the scholar by seeing them as part of a family and helping them learn with the deepest sense of empathy ever witnessed”. We thank you Beth for Communicating with HEART through the work/system barriers that arise.