Cinco cheers for teachers

Marisa O'Neil

Teachers are getting their due this month in the form of gifts, food

and praise.

What started off Teacher Appreciation Week has unofficially turned

into teacher appreciation month at Newport-Mesa schools. Some

schools, like Harbor View Elementary, got things started Wednesday

with special staff luncheons.

"This is my thank you for all their hard work and dedication,"

Principal Mellissia Christensen said as teachers noshed on taco salad

in the staff room.

Harbor View used Cinco de Mayo as an extra excuse to hold a

Mexican-themed luncheon for teachers. Christensen brought all the

fixings for the lunch and topped things off with festive sombreros.

"You feel very appreciated here," teacher Joan Byrne-Wilkinson

said. "Parents tell you that they appreciate you all the time. And we

feel extra appreciated by the principal doing this."

More schools are planning events for next week and the following

week. Whittier Elementary School will hold a barbecue lunch on

Wednesday and Victoria Elementary School has plenty in store for its

teachers May 19.

School board members will visit each school this month. They will

present teachers with soft-side briefcases with the district logo,

given on behalf of the superintendent's office and the district.

"I love seeing what [teachers] are doing," school board President

Dana Black said. "I look forward to going to the schools and letting

them know we are aware of what they're doing."

The district extended the Teacher Appreciation Week to give board

trustees time to visit every site, spokeswoman Jane Garland said.

"California Day of the Teacher" is May 14 and National Teacher Day

was Tuesday.

Former teacher and board trustee Martha Fluor on Wednesday visited

Woodland Elementary School, which her children attended. A few of the

students were a little confused, however, about the celebration was

for.

"I went into some of the very classrooms my kids were in and asked

some of the kids what today is," Fluor said. "They said 'Cinco de

Mayo,' and 'Mother's Day.' Then they remembered: 'Oh, it's Teacher

Appreciation Day.'"

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