'Best educators in the country.' State leaders urge businesses to participate in school staff appreciation program
It's National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time to recognize the important role teachers have--not just in kids' education but the direction of their lives. On Tuesday, in connection with that, state leaders announced a way to celebrate all school staff in the coming months, but they need help.
Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker encouraged Connecticut businesses to participate in this year's School Staff Appreciation Digital Backpack Program by opting-in to provide discounts and freebies to school staff over the summer.
The program will offer special deals to all preK-12 school staff, including Adult Education program staff. That includes bus drivers, paraeducators, administrators, school nurses, counselors, custodians, and anyone else who plays a part in a school system. They just need to have a valid school or employer identification card and work with students.
"We have the best educators in the country right here in Connecticut. To all our educators and school staff – thank you for the work you do every day to ensure our state's most precious resources, our students, can learn and grow," said Bysiewicz. "But appreciation for teachers and staff should not be limited to a day, week, month, or even just the school year. Through the Digital Backpack Program, from mid-June until the end of August, businesses of all sizes throughout Connecticut are encouraged to provide discounts to school staff as a small way to show appreciation for their hard work."
"As we celebrate National Teacher Appreciation Week, this program is a special thank you for school staff to enjoy during the summer months," said Education Commissioner Charlene M. Russell-Tucker. "All of our educators and school staff work incredibly hard to support our students every day; the discounts offered by businesses participating in the Digital Backpack Program can make a real difference for those who dedicate themselves to making a positive impact in the lives of our students and communities."
Last year, 23 businesses participated in the program, which ran from August to mid-September, according to Eric Scoville, communications director for the Connecticut Department of Education.
"Buy one, get one free deals, discounted tickets to games. This year we're hoping to have over 100 businesses participating," Scoville told News 12.
The program debuted last summer after the pandemic shined a spotlight on just how much educators do.
"Working in hybrid and virtual modes but also just with all the hats they wear all the time, right? It really is just a great way to pause and honor all the hard work of our school staff," Scoville said, adding that it's also an opportunity for businesses to bring in new customers.
To opt in, click here and fill out the form by May 31. After that, education officials will reach out to clarify the details. They plan to launch the program in mid-June and have it run until the end of August when school resumes.