Randi Weingarten, president of OSEA’s national affiliate, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), made a special trip to Oregon on Aug. 30 to visit Greenway Elementary School in Beaverton, Ore. The visit was part of AFT’s national “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities” campaign to address learning loss, literacy and loneliness.
“Greenway is a school that serves a lot of kids with special needs,” said Weingarten. “This school is showing us how to have the real solutions that actually address not only the needs of kids but how those kids thrive.”
On a tour of Greenway Elementary, accompanied by OSEA President Sarah Wofford, OSEA Beaverton Chapter 48 President Kyrsti Sackman, district representatives and student ambassadors, Weingarten met many OSEA members of Beaverton Chapter 48. At each step of the tour, staff shared the work they do every day to support student learning and wellbeing.
OSEA President Sarah Wofford said the visit was an ideal way to raise the profile of the classified staff and our essential role in student learning. “Thank you, Randi, for coming and spending this time at Greenway… this is what is special about classified. This is really where real solutions – those wraparound services provided by classified – can come together and work for students,” Wofford said.
The wraparound services on display at Greenway included the school library, food pantry, technology center and several classrooms. At each stop of the tour, a different student need was highlighted, along with the classified staff who have stepped up to support that need – whether through one-on-one reading coaching, nutrition support for students and their families, or classroom support to keep students engaged and learning.
“I don’t think there’s a single classified staff that wouldn’t say that we didn’t all sign up for this job for the kids. It’s for the kids and for our community. It’s for giving back,” Sackman said.
Weingarten’s closing remarks at the end of the visit highlighted just how much the dedication and care of Greenway’s classified staff matter. “I just loved today and the school we saw and all the work you see. These are the building blocks we could use everywhere: connecting the dots, spending the time, looking at the joy in the first two weeks of school, of these wonderful educators who just care so much about our kids in Beaverton and in Oregon,” she said.