Portage Township Schools has departments that work behind-the-scenes to make educating students top priority. While these departments are not what immediately come to mind when thinking about education, their effects on daily activities are numerous.
It takes quite a bit of work to make a school function, and much of that work comes from these behind-the-scenes departments before students even walk into their buildings. As a student, or even a parent, it is not common to think about how many bus drivers and attendants it takes to get all 8,000 Portage students to school, or how many mechanics it must take to keep 100 buses running. One does not typically ponder how many maintenance workers it takes to remove the snow from eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and the high school. Pencil marks that were all over a desk are magically gone the next day, many options are offered for both breakfast and lunch, and various programs have been installed on school computers – all behind-the-scenes tasks.
I believe the departments that make these things happen are a big part of the educational system. The Transportation Department puts a lot of work into making sure buses started and the fuel pumps did not freeze up this past winter. A team of four mechanics are to thank for that mission. The bus drivers are responsible for transporting students safely, while managing student behavior, which can be difficult during the freezing days we have experienced. We succeeded thanks to all the drivers, attendants and mechanics in the Transportation Department.
The Maintenance Department worked many nights clearing snow to make sure students and staff could make it to the buildings the next morning. That is in addition to the other duties they perform, including plumbing, HVAC, electrical and general maintenance. Our custodians surely had their hands full with removing snow from sidewalks and cleaning the salt tracked into the buildings. This past winter, their days were filled with keeping the buildings not only operational, but safe, as well as completing their regular duties, such as cleaning classrooms, floors and bathrooms.
The Food Service Department works hard to make sure that the students have well-balanced meals from which to choose. The options are more numerous compared to 1988! The IT Department offers many options as well, with a focus to make sure that all of the computers in the schools are running properly. They set up presentation programs/devices necessary for a student’s educational day, as well as assisting with the technology problems within the other departments. Finally, the Payroll Department is responsible for making sure all Portage Township School employees get paid for the services they provide. They have done a wonderful job of keeping records during the winter weather cancellations.
These departments are valuable to say the least. They provide services that are necessary to the school system and students’ education. Until I was part of the team, I had no idea how much goes into each job. I would like to take this opportunity to thank every single employee for the fantastic work you all accomplished during this difficult winter, and for the work you do every day!
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.