‘Rosie Project’ highlights kind acts by local teachers

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Teachers gathered at Bonsai Brewing Project last week for the Whitefish Education Association’s first Rosie Project celebration. (Daniel McKay/Whitefish Pilot)

Even the smallest act by a teacher can make a difference, a fact the Whitefish Education Association highlighted with the kickoff of its Rosie Project.

Whitefish public school teachers nominated their fellow teachers for their efforts to make a difference in the classroom. Those who were nominated were acknowledged by Kelly Talsma, counselor at Muldown Elementary School, during a gathering at Bonsai Brewing Project on Wednesday.

“It’s just people recognizing others going above and beyond, doing what teachers do — saying ‘That’s amazing what you did for those kids. They don’t realize that this happened and what’s going on in your life, but you show up,’” Talsma said.

A total of 15 teachers were recognized at the event, and each teacher in attendance put their name in for a chance to win one of the 10 $50 bills being given away.

Nominated efforts included things like the work Chris Holt does with the seventh and eight grade student councils, the willingness of Addy Connelly to step up and lead an additional kindergarten class days before school started and the way music teacher Paul Rossi interacts with kids onstage at Muldown.

“It’s a very small stage, so he has to make sure kids don’t fall off,” Talsma said with a laugh. “But in the midst of all that, we also bring in 150 five-year-olds, who are crazy enough, to have lunch while he’s teaching.”

The Rosie Project was also a chance for educators to focus on their financial future, Talsma said. Before ordering an after-work pint, teachers were asked to fill out information regarding their 403B or Roth retirement accounts, and if they didn’t have one, sign up.

“We want people to invest in their future, because we got a half percent raise,” she said. “And we’re losing teachers, because they can’t afford to live here, and it’s bad, so we want to make sure they invest in their futures.”

The Whitefish Education Association is part of the American Federation of Teachers, a union of educators “that champions fairness, democracy, economic opportunity and high-quality public education, healthcare and public services for our students, their parents and our communities.”

For more information on the Whitefish Education Association, visit www.aft.org/affiliate/07703.

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