BUFFALO, N.Y. — Teacher Appreciation Week has been pretty special this year at Persistence Preparatory Academy in Buffalo. Then again, every milestone they've reached so far has been. That's because the new charter school is wrapping up its very first school year.
"We opened in the fall with four classrooms," said Founder and Head of School Joelle Formato. "We have 104 students in kindergarten and first grade."
Next year, the school, whose mission is to prepare students for a college education from an early age, will add second grade classrooms to accommodate their current students, as well as new kindergartners. Starting a new school is an opportunity few in the field of education have ever had a chance to do.
"It's really powerful," said Kindergarten Teacher Sonya Johnson. "Seeing all that it takes to build a school. It just shows that teachers are really important pieces in that."
The school has had a special theme for every day of Teacher Appreciation Week, to go along with perks for the teachers. Examples include signs in the teacher lounge reading "you're a popular teacher," along with a popcorn bar.
"Friday we'll culminate with videos we've made from each of their students. It's just an opportunity really again to step back, say thank you, that we see the work they do every single day, and that it matters."
For teachers like Sonya Johnson, this week of appreciation also gives them a chance to reflect on how far their students have come.
"That's the greatest gift for a teacher. Knowing that your students are prepared for what lies ahead, and that we've done all that we can do to make sure that happens."
To learn more about Persistence Preparatory Academy and their mission, click here.