ABC is proud to say that the greatest gift we receive this holiday season is that of our tremendous staff. “100% of our staff busts their butt to achieve our mission and support our students,” said Director of Advancement, Carmen Lawrence-Bille. “I believe that each and every one of our staff is doing the most (and in many cases, more!) for our students. That thought alone brings tears of joy to my eyes.”
Our Resource Coordinators are just one group of ABC’s hard working staff. While their title may sound vague, their work gets specific and targeted to ensure that every student at their school has the tools they need to succeed. We’ve introduced you to many of our Resource Coordinators through the blog recently (check out our profiles on Roselawn Condon’s Darcus Anderson, Silverton Elementary’s Cheri Jordan, and Cheviot School’s Onyango Collier), and this week we’re taking a trip to Covedale.
To learn more about what ABC Resource Coordinators do, please visit our website.
Meet Taneeka Porter, resource coordinator at Covedale School. Taneeka holds a degree in liberal studies and sociology from Wright State University. Taneeka has over ten years of experience working with youth in different capacities, from Camp Counselor to Preschool Teacher to Mentor Coordinator and Mentor. In her role here at ABC, she coordinates and implements community partnerships and programs by engaging Covedale families and the community.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Interacting with students and getting to know them on a more personal level, while also allowing them to get to know me. I started in this position about a year ago (I just celebrated my one-year work-i-versary!), during virtual schooling when COVID was at some of its most dangerous, which meant that I didn’t really get to meet or interact with most students until late spring of 2021. It has been a privilege getting to know the students since then.
One of my favorite times every week is Friday lunch. I’ve started meeting with a group of five students that have had some behavioral problems, so over lunch we have ‘girl talk’ and get to know each other. We talk about a lot, from bullies and communication methods to positive motivators and how they can better support each other. These lunches have helped mitigate some of those disciplinary issues, but they’ve also allowed me to learn a lot about them while I also get to share with them a part of myself. It’s been eye opening and refreshing to get to know them.
I also love helping families and building relationships with them. There’s a particular family I’m helping right now: a grandmother who is undergoing chemotherapy and just got custody of her grandkids. We’ve rallied the community and connected her to the clothes and toiletries she needs to help her kids, and that warms my heart. I feel like in this job, I really make a difference.
What is something particularly unique/special about the Covedale School community?
The first thought that comes to mind is how amazing our parent/teacher association (PTA) is. Our PTA at Covedale is very involved! They’ve made me really feel welcome here. They do hard work around the school, appreciate our staff, and go above and beyond for our students. They are so supportive and I love how much they love.
That’s a great thing to be able to brag about! Schools nationwide really struggle to engage parents in this capacity. What is your secret recipe that gets your PTA so engaged?
Honestly, I wish I could take credit- but our PTA was amazing long before I got here. If you’re wondering what the secret sauce is that makes them so spectacular, it’s them. THEY, the parents and teachers, are the special sauce! They are flexible with and inclusive of each other in ways that make it easier to be engaged. Whatever they’ve done to build their PTA so strong, it has worked. They are amazing.
If you had $1,000 today to make a difference at your school, what would you do with it?
What a great question, because I’ve been looking for donations recently! If I could have that money today, I’d use it to buy more things I can give to our families in need, like clothes, food, and toiletries. We work closely with the church next door to the school, who has a free pantry, but we work hard to supplement what they can offer and make sure families in need have total coverage.
We’re also looking for more money to expand our elementary sports offerings. We offer a lot of cool activities at Covedale, including girls/boys basketball, dance, choir, 3D printing, student council, flag football, soccer, cross country, and even ABC Clubs. When the kids get engaged in these activities, it changes everything. These kids show up to school earlier, they study harder, they do better. The only problem is that we don’t have enough spots on the teams for all the kids that want to play. If we had a little more money for another basketball team, for example, we could get so many more kids engaged in enriching activities that make them more successful throughout their lives.
What is something you are excited about this school year?
Like I mentioned, I started during COVID- which means I haven’t had all the time to get to know students that I wanted. Now that I’m actually in the school with students, it makes my days so much better. I think I’m most excited to keep building relationships with students and see them grow throughout the school year and do all the things that had to be put on pause during COVID.
I’m just excited to be here. I love being able to support Covedale and our community here.