Teacher Appreciation Week starts May 3rd, and placing an apple on a teacher’s desk isn’t enough these days. The pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis in education that affects our kids and affects our teachers, administrators, and support staff, too.

A recent study found 38% of full and part-time public-school teachers working during the pandemic are considering changing careers. Teachers I know tell me that the unending cycle of remote and in-person learning has doubled their workload, created tremendous anxiety about their ability to teach students effectively, and contributed to an overwhelming feeling of stress in their professional and personal lives. It’s a crisis we will be dealing with for years.

This year give that heartfelt note or cupcake for Teacher Appreciation Week. But also, consider a gift that truly tells your teacher you appreciate them. A contribution to the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education (GPFPE) “In Honor Of” your teacher or school support staff will directly enrich learning in ways educators care about. Each “In Honor Of” recipient will receive a special certificate notifying them of your contribution. Most importantly, an “In Honor Of” gift will fund educator-requested/student-centered grants.

Since 2007 community members have given over $25,000 “In Honor Of” (tax-deductible) contributions in recognition of teachers, support staff, or graduating students in the Grosse Pointe Public Schools. More than 2,000 GPFPE partners and community members have given over 3.5 million dollars to support educational opportunities for our children. Every single one of these educational opportunities was requested or approved by our educators. Examples of teacher-requested grants include the Tattum F.A.S.T. reading program benefitting our elementary readers, special science equipment such as microscopes and tools to measure kinetic energy, musical instruments, Chrome Books, and much more.

This year teachers have been on the frontline. They understand fully how this pandemic is causing isolation, stress, and anxiety in our youth. That is why they have asked the GPFPE to commit to supporting our children’s social-emotional growth and healing. The initiative is called SEED (Social Emotional Encouragement and Development). We will work hard with our community over the next few years to cultivate the SEED campaign and fund such vital programs as The Leader in Me, therapy dogs, and TRAILS, a University of Michigan based program that improves youth access to mental health initiatives.

Expressing gratitude has been proven to improve happiness and decrease stress. Thank a teacher this May. And just as your educators continue to focus on your children’s academic and social emotional development, let them know you care and appreciate them. Or donate online here and identify the honoree’s name and address in the “memo” line.


Cynthia Tennent Sohn

GPFPE – Trustee