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Behind The Scenes NPS Employees Prepare Schools for School Year
Throughout the summer, Norman Public Schools employees work behind the scenes to make sure our buildings and classrooms are ready for the first day of school. We
recognize Norman Public Schools Warehouse team, Sodexo's facilities management team, Technology Services, Central Services, and the Transportation Department for all the work they did leading up to the 2023-2024 school year.
Each June, the warehouse crew starts its clean-up process, picking up broken or discarded furniture throughout the district, said Mike Followwill, warehouse foreman. This summer, the group emptied and moved classroom furniture in several portable buildings no longer needed at the school sites and helped the Oklahoma Aviation Academy move into their temporary buildings. The team also rearranged classroom locations at elementary sites whose bond construction areas were recently completed and temporarily stored or moved furniture from sites when needed for cleaning purposes.
Additionally, the Warehouse is the central receiving area for all purchases made by the district, sorting, routing and delivering packages to the sites that ordered them. The team also compiles elementary science and secondary science activity kits and houses a print shop that can print everything from banners to flyers to business cards.
“Keep up the good work, that’s all I can say,” Followwill said when asked what he’d like to say to his team. “They hustle and they work hard, and I can't ask for more than that.”
Sodexo Facilities Management Team
The summer is an extremely critical time for Sodexo because it is focused on making sure the schools are clean, fresh and ready to go for the start of a new year, explained Brian Ollison, custodial director. Throughout the summer, Sodexo thoroughly cleans the schools from the ceiling down to the floors, including lights, vents, walls, windows and flooring, which includes extracting all of the carpets and refinishing the hard floors.
“We have a very dedicated and hardworking team,” Ollison said. “They take pride and ownership in their buildings or in their particularly assigned schools, and they want to make sure it’s as clean as it possibly can be for those kiddos when they come back. Their hard work is very much appreciated, and I’m proud of them for what they do, not only during the summer but day in and day out."
This department oversees several areas including device support for staff and students, enrollment, safety and security measures at schools like access control, network setup and more. Over the summer, technology installed new TVs in all the middle school classrooms; set up the Oklahoma Aviation Academy’s temporary buildings with internet, TVs and phones; implemented two-factor authentication across NPS devices; and prepared iPads for 6th graders, to name a few focuses.
“I appreciate everything they do,” said Chief Technology Officer Christy Fisher of her team. “They take seriously that what we do has a tremendous impact on the schools and on the students. They’re passionate about wanting to make sure we’re doing the best we can do for them, and I appreciate that work ethic. Sometimes tech can be so isolated, and I really appreciate that our team really does see that the big picture is we’re here for students.”
Central Services Center
Central Services includes electrical, heat and air, plumbing, flooring and roofing departments; carpenter, paint and lock shops; a field and grounds crew that takes care of athletic fields and playgrounds; and a welder. Brad Coplen, director of facilities management, said the summer is the team’s most hectic time. This summer, every department completed a long list of projects, including several paint jobs and moving portable buildings, to name a couple of tasks.
“Sometimes the work done during the busy summer is not really seen by everyone because people are gone, but all that work is appreciated and definitely comes into play when everyone returns,” Coplen said.
Some of transportation’s annual summer tasks include getting all equipment serviced; completing required annual bus inspections; having radios and dispatch systems maintained and tested; and repainting the lines of the parking lot, said Mike Tauscher, director of transportation. The team also participates in professional development training, including with the Transportation Security Administration to ensure the department keeps its gold medallion certification current.
In addition to compiling routes and running buses during summer school and driving for field trips, the transportation staff also works on determining routes for the upcoming year during the summer months. During the school year, transportation is responsible for running 170 daily routes, traveling about 1.2 million miles a year.
“It takes every Transportation team member working together every day to safely accomplish “the mission”. Our district values of Integrity, Inclusiveness, Collaboration, and Optimism are ingrained in what we do every day. I salute every member in our Transportation Team. Thank you!” Tauscher said.
Superintendent Nick Migliorino shared appreciation for the behind-the-scenes team members saying, "I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to our dedicated support staff who have worked tirelessly to prepare our schools for the new school year. Your hard work, commitment, and attention to detail have created a safe and welcoming environment for our students and staff. Your contributions are invaluable, and I am truly grateful for the important role you play in ensuring the success of our educational community. Thank you for all that you do."