Whitewater High School staff creating ways to get ‘better together’

Whitewater High School staff members prepare to treat faculty, students and families to a tailgate feast before Homecoming recently. Photo/Ashley Maddox.
Whitewater High School staff members prepare to treat faculty, students and families to a tailgate feast before Homecoming recently. Photo/Ashley Maddox.

At the end of the 2021 school year, the Whitewater High School administration surveyed the faculty on ways the school could improve. The results of that survey revealed a need to reconnect with one another.

Different teams around the school have found creative ways to bring the staff closer together and build morale this year.

Whitewater’s PBIS team has reached out to local food truck vendors to offer lunch options to the staff. The PTSO has continued to provide the school faculty with multiple breakfasts and lunch buffets. The homecoming team created competitions that rewarded faculty members and departments for participating in all of the homecoming week festivities.

Cheryl Feltman, a teacher new to Whitewater this year said, “The spirit stick competition really added to Homecoming week. Dressing up each day and attending the events with everyone really made it feel like I was becoming a part of the WHS culture. Everyone has been so welcoming and fun!”

On Friday, October 23, the Whitewater High School faculty came together to tailgate for the big Whitewater v. Starr’s Mill football game.

Ashley Maddox said she can really feel the community atmosphere returning this year. “The faculty tailgate was really an awesome way to connect with people in the school on a more personal level. I got a chance to meet the family of one of our new secretaries. I found out that another new administrative assistant has a daughter in 8th grade at Whitewater Middle School just like I do.”

Recently named WHS Teacher of the Year, Jenn Fausett was asked how she felt so far into this school year and she said, “The culture this year at WHS feels like a giant hug from your favorite family member. Getting to be around your friends and your work family on the best days knowing they will support you on your worst days makes coming to work here a privilege. I hope no one takes it for granted. I know this sounds sappy but it is true. When you have down days, your family is there to pick you up and working at WHS, that’s what it feels like. Someone is there no matter what to lend a helping hand.”

This year, our staff has had more input and interactions with the administration with the many committees created to improve the culture, and three months in, we can already see the positive effects.

Not only have the staff been giving more input but the students as well. The newly formed student-led team RARE team decides positive ways in which students can be rewarded throughout the year. Their first gig at creating a positive school culture was hosting a Welcome to High School Popsicle social the first week of school for the incoming freshman.

As for the attendance at the sporting and social events around the school, it is at an all-time high. Our students feel the support that the staff feels and it resonates throughout the community. The homecoming events had the largest turnout ever, including the parade. The phrase Better Together never felt more accurate. — Story and photos provided by Ashley Maddox, a member of the Staff Morale Team at Whitewater High School.