Surprise yard signs pop up at homes for Middletown teachers, staffers

Teachers and other staffers of Middletown Schools got a recent surprise when they came home from work to find yard signs praising their work during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Nick Graham\Journal-News)
Teachers and other staffers of Middletown Schools got a recent surprise when they came home from work to find yard signs praising their work during the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Nick Graham\Journal-News)

Middletown special education teacher Candace Sanchez drove home from her job one evening last week to find her employer had put a sign in her yard that left her feeling emotional.

The brightly colored sign yard sign in hues of Middletown Middie purple stated: “A Difference Maker Lives Here. Thank You!”

Placed without her knowledge on her the grass of her front lawn, it pepped her up after a long day of working with special needs students.

“I was definitely surprised. It was a very uplifting moment,” said the Creekview Elementary teacher.

That was the goal, said Middletown school officials, who secretly had more than 870 signs printed up for teachers, school staffers, custodians and bus drivers in the 6,300-student city schools.

District officials made arrangements so each employee would receive a sign, said Elizabeth Beadle, spokeswoman for Middletown Schools.

With the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and all the difficulties of teaching thousands of students under extraordinary health and safety preventions, school employees are deserving of the hand-delivered kudos, said Beadle.

“The Middletown Schools teachers and staff deserve to be recognized and thanked for their incredible work under such difficult circumstances,” she said.

The cost of printing the signs was $3,500. The annual operating budget of Middletown Schools is nearly $80 million.

The signs also feature the district’s slogan “Middie Rising” created by Schools Superintendent Marlon Styles Jr. when he was hired in 2017 and promoted throughout the district to herald the many changes made since then in working to improve the school system.

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“We hear so much about the unsung heroes, but teachers aren’t often mentioned. These signs are our way of singing their praises,” said Beadle.

Sanchez was grateful.

“It’s nice to know you are appreciated.”

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