To recognize American Education Week, National Education Association President Becky Pringle visited Milton Elementary Nov. 16 to learn how the school meets the basic needs of students and families.
MES students Ky’leak Whaley, Carlee Cabello and Hannah McCabe led Pringle, Delaware State Education Association President Stephanie Ingram and other attendees on a tour of the newly remodeled school while Pringle spoke with school social worker Gloria Ho about her role.
“I was part of a group of school social workers that formed the School Social Workers Association of Delaware in 2020 in response to the need for a professional organization due to growing numbers fueled by House Bill 100,” Ho said.
SSWADE is an organizational member of the national School Social Work Association of America.
Pringle said this was the first opportunity she had to visit a Cape Henlopen school; she began her role as NEA president 15 months ago in the midst of the pandemic. The visit is part of her Joy, Justice and Excellence tour.
“We chose to visit Milton Elementary to see firsthand how it is serving the full needs of its students, supporting them academically and ensuring that every student has what they need to thrive through innovative programs such as the Basic Needs Closet and food bank program,” Pringle said. “And through the work of school social worker Gloria Ho and the amazing team of educators, Milton Elementary is focused on supporting the social and emotional needs of its students.”
MES is one of 43 high-needs schools across the state and the only one in the Cape district that has a Basic Needs Closet sponsored by the Lieutenant Governor’s office to provide book bags, school supplies, winter coats, hats, gloves and more for students in need, Ho said.
“These programs benefit our students greatly by supporting their needs, and it strengthens ties between school and family,” Ho said.
Last year during pandemic, Ho’s role changed to serve the needs of remote learners in addition to in-person students. During this time, she made home deliveries of meals and clothing to students and families in need.
The past nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic have not been easy for anyone, Pringle said.
“While spending time speaking to the students and educators at Milton Elementary School, I saw firsthand how they serve their students and community. In classrooms, I saw how dedicated the teachers and education support professionals were to helping their students learn.
“Speaking with school social worker Gloria Ho, I learned about the school’s efforts to support the social and emotional needs of its students. And through the school’s innovative programs such as the Basic Needs Closet and food bank program, they are ensuring that every student has what is needed to thrive. I was thrilled to be able to visit in person and look forward to sharing the great work happening in Milton with educators across the nation.”