Schools show teacher appreciation with Great Giveaway

January 27, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — Tess Aficial said it was a shock, taking home a 55-inch television.

“I never win in drawings,” she said at Mohave High School last week.

She can’t say that anymore, not after taking the big prize at the Great Giveaway, a teacher-appreciation event that concluded Colorado River Schools’ winter professional development day.

Aficial, a K-2 special education life skills teacher at Desert Valley Elementary School, said she would place the new TV in her living room, while moving her existing set to a bedroom.

The Great Giveaway saw more than $2,000 in prizes awarded to teachers. The TV was valued at $600. Prizes included personal care items, resort stays and gift certificates for food, coffee, groceries and other items.

Members of the Colorado River Union High School District and Bullhead City Elementary School District governing boards donated most of the gifts.

Lori Crampton, president of the CRUHSD board, said board members came up with the giveaway as morale booster for teachers, during a brainstorming session

“(We were) trying to think of ways to show appreciation for our teachers,” she said. “It’s just a token to let them know how appreciated they are by us. I love their excitement when they win.”

Crampton said board members would like to be able to pay teachers more, but state aid formulas mean there usually isn’t money in budgets for the raises they deserve.

“Arizona is not good at funding education,” she said. It makes it hard to pay teachers what they deserve, and leaves them with less money per pupil to have all they need to educate them.

Professional development day drew more than 375 faculty and staff members from area schools. It’s a gathering of educators from local school districts and charter schools.

The January event — one of two each school year — consisted of about 80 sessions for those working with students at all grade levels. Sessions covered topics that included improving teaching by subject matter, computer skills and classroom fundraising.

Presenters were primarily from Tri-state schools, but also included representatives of the Arizona Department of Education and the Arizona Science Teachers Association.

Attendees included teachers from the Bullhead City, Colorado River, Mohave Valley and Topock school districts, from Montessori Preparatory Academy and Young Scholar’s Academy, and individuals in the “Grow Your Own” teacher development program (a partnership of Colorado River Union High School District education professions classes and Northern Arizona University).

Colorado River Schools spokesman Lance Ross said that schools conduct smaller professional development events each month on individual campuses.

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