SAA's: The Superheroes of GVSD
Posted on 04/24/2024
An image of a secretary working on a computer

School Administrative Assistant’s: The Superheroes of GVSD

The last week of April is a time when our School Administrative Assistants will be celebrated.  On behalf of the GVSD board I wish to add thoughts of appreciation for these most deserving persons who are so vital within our schools.  Let me set the scene for you. 

Monday through Friday mornings the lights flicker on in the main office of a local school. Inside, a whirlwind of activity is already underway before the day has begun.

The ringing of the phone fills the air; its incessant melody signaling the start of another busy day. Office staff hurriedly pick up the receiver, ready to greet the concerned voices of parents and caregivers reporting their children's absences.

Outside, buses begin to arrive, children spill out onto the pavement. Parents dart in and out, dropping off their little ones, some pausing to notify the office of pick-up times for later in the day.

Inside the office, amidst the flurry of arrivals, teachers and students seek information and guidance before the bell rings. Papers rustle, computers hum to life, and the day's tasks are waiting.

As the bell finally rings, signaling the start of the school day, a sense of accomplishment fills the air. Announcements are read, and the day's activities officially begin. Yet, even as the chaos subsides, the office remains a hive of activity, ready to face whatever challenges the day may bring. For in the world of the school office, there is no such thing as a typical day.

With the start of the school day, there's no time to waste. Attendance must be taken, ensuring every child's whereabouts are accounted for. Greeting those who are late with a smile, hot lunch papers must be sorted, handouts prepared, and notices distributed to families.

But the office is not without its challenges. The copier jams, its mechanical protest demands attention. Yet, with skilled hands and a determined spirit, the paper jam is swiftly resolved, and paperwork for the day's school trip is soon ready for distribution.

Amidst the chaos, there are moments of care and compassion. Band-Aids are handed out for scraped knees, and instructions given on how to use the phone for those needing to reach a parent.

Throughout it all, the phone continues its incessant ringing, a constant reminder of the demands of the day. Parents call with queries and concerns, seeking guidance and reassurance. Meanwhile, the office staff juggle administrative tasks, meeting with administrators, ordering supplies, and scheduling conferences.

Every single day as you can see our School Administrative Assistants bring a lot to the school culture apart from the obvious office-based skills.  They need a sense of humour, willingness to take on any task, the ability to prioritize, to be efficient and well organized and to be able to think on their feet and adapt to whatever a particular day brings.  Good interpersonal skills are essential as they deal with children, parents, staff, visitors.   School Admin Assistants are usually the first face someone visiting the school sees and they seek to form good relationships with all who visit or call. 

I asked Audrey Dyck, an SAA in GVSD, what she loved about being a SAA.  Here’s what she shared: 

    My daily goal as an SAA is to make someone else’s day better.  I am motivated by that look of relief on the face of a student, staff member or parent when I can help to find a solution to their situation or an answer to their question.  I get to interact with so many different people and it’s rewarding. I also enjoy the desk work portion of my job.  I’m a detail-oriented person and so keeping an updated and accurate student information system, submitting accurate enrolment reports, reconciled financials, etc. are very satisfying for me.

 School Admin Assistants are the heart and soul the school. Everything they do, big or small, makes an impact. They certainly “go the extra mile,” every single day. 

To all our school-based Administrative Assistants and those in the Division Office, we extend our sincere gratitude to each of you. Your daily efforts do not go unnoticed. Your dedication, coupled with your professionalism, serves as a cornerstone in our educational community. Your unwavering support not only benefits our students and their families but also your colleagues. Your enthusiasm is truly infectious and invaluable to us. We deeply appreciate your presence and the invaluable contributions you make each day. 

-Heather DiFrancesco, Trustee