A Day Made Better

by Leighann on September 28, 2010

A Day Made BetterEvery parent wants their child to get a great teacher. But when you are the parent of a child with diabetes, the anticipation of a new school year has additional anxiety. And we can only hope that we will draw a teacher who will learn how to count carbs for snack time, learn how to check blood sugar levels, take it seriously when our child is not feeling well, and learn our child’s personality so that when the child’s behavior is different than usual the teacher realizes that she may be experiencing a high or low blood sugar.

I think one of the hardest parts of having a child with diabetes is giving over his or her care to someone else. For six or more hours a day!

OfficeMax celebrates excellent teachers each year with A Day Made Better. On October 5, 1000 teachers nationwide will be surprised with a total of $1 Million in classroom supplies from OfficeMax.

This is my second year as a Max Mom and this year I want to do something wonderful for a teacher who has cared for a child with diabetes.

That’s where you come in.

On behalf of the “A Day Made Better” cause for teachers, you can nominate your teacher to win a gift card to OfficeMax for school supplies!

“With school budgets diminishing nationwide, teachers are starting to take matters into their own hands by purchasing their own classroom materials. According to the National Education Association, teachers are spending about $1000 each year on supplies for their class, which is pretty astonishing. Can you imagine if your job asked you to bring your own tape, scissors, and paper for your desk? There would likely be an uprising, but somehow, teachers have silently picked up the tab…that is until now.”

“That’s why I’ve joined the Max Moms for teachers program to help create awareness and give back to teachers. The Max Moms are working in collaboration with the national “A Day Made Better” cause founded by OfficeMax and nonprofit Adopt-A-Classroom to help erase teacher-funded classrooms. Annually in October, they host a national event that recognizes and rewards over 1000 teachers with a total of $1 million in school supplies to help alleviate the financial burden and thank them for their hard work.”

You too can join in this cause and give back to a deserving teacher by nominating your favorite teacher to receive a $100 gift card for school supplies donated by OfficeMax.

Entry Requirement

  1. For a chance to enter and win, please post a comment below that describes why the teacher you’d like to nominate is 1) Passionate, 2) Dedicated, and 3) Innovative.

Extra Entry

  1. As an additional entry, you can visit the Welcome tab on OfficeMax’s Facebook page and post a comment here telling me what you think of their Facebook donation campaign benefiting Adopt-A-Classroom.

Entries close October 4, 2010.

I, along with OfficeMax, look forward to your nominations and will announce the winner on October 5, 2010 –national “A Day Made Better” day for teachers!

Max Moms OfficeMaxTerms & Disclosure: No purchase necessary to be eligible for a chance to enter or win. The winner will be selected randomly through http://random.org. The gift card is provided by OfficeMax as part of its cause for teachers. I receive no compensation for being a Max Mom. The views written here are always my own. Read the D-Mom Blog disclosure statement and official giveaway rules for more details.

Look who kicked off the A Day Made Better campaign this year:

Jonas BrothersImage: People Magazine

The information provided here is for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Please read the disclaimer, disclosure, and privacy policy statements.
1 Tracy Stakely September 28, 2010 at 6:56 am

I would like to nominate my 5 year old daughter’s Preschool Teacher, Mrs. Kris Day, for the award. She is a very “dedicated” teacher and loves the children so much. From day one of Emily’s start to her Preschool experience, Mrs. Day has taken on the diabetes monster full force with an open mind and heart. She checks blood sugar, calls me at home to report her “number”. She even has taken sugary snacks back to the grocery store and deliberately purchased sugar free and lower carb, healthier snacks so not just Emily would be better off but all the children in the classroom would be eating a healthier snack. She has never hesitated to manipulate Emily’s insulin pump during the day if it was indicated and always keeps me, the parent, informed as to what is going on. Mrs Day and the folks at Lifelong Learning Center has certainly made Emily’s Preschool experience and mine AWESOME and I am forever greatful. Mrs. Day certainly deserves this award.

2 Heidi Timm September 28, 2010 at 8:55 am

I would like to nominate my daughter’s first grade teacher, Nadine Miller, for this award. Nadine is a dedicated teacher who, even with 29 kids in her class, did not complain or try to get around my daughter’s diabetes. She loves her students and is passionate about seeing them all have the same opportunities. Nadine has pushed for my daughter to be able to test and keep her diabetes supplies in the classroom. Mrs. Miller communicates very well with me about my daughter’s care at school and does not hesitate to take the necessary steps needed in giving Bekah the best care. Leaving a child at school for six hours a day with diabetes can be nerve racking but with Bekah under Nadine’s care I rest a little easier because I know that she will be well cared for. Mrs. Miller certainly deserves this award!

3 Jaylene September 28, 2010 at 9:21 am

My 8 year old daughter is very fortunate to go to a wonderful school called Young Scholars. Since we started there the teachers have been WONDERFUL last year she had Mrs. Etchells who was so fantastic about my daughters diabetes. She worked with the nurse to make sure she was checked and her diabetes was always taken care of. She taught the class that she was just like everyone else. She was even on our walk team to raise money for diabetes research. This year my daughter has Ms. O’Kane and she is also going out of her way to make sure my daughter is well taken care of while at school. They even arranged a diabetes training at the first teacher in-service. We are even planning to have a school walk this year at my daughters school to raise more money for diabetes research. My daughters teachers at Young Scholars really make her feel supported and they really care about her. They never make her feel like her diabetes is something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. They also understand how crucial it is to her education that her blood sugar be kept in check as well as possible. Mrs. Etchells and Mrs. O’Kane have been great about making sure her blood sugar is checked before she takes and test so she can be graded on her best effort not what she can do at 300 or 60. We are very blessed to have such excellent teachers for my daughter. I would like to nominate them for this award because I truly feel they are deserving of it. They are the BEST at helping my daughter with her diabetes at school. I am so thankful to have such caring teachers.

4 Jennifer Denning September 28, 2010 at 5:11 pm

My daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac Disease at age 3. I was very nervous sending her to Kindergarten this year. That is, until I met her wonderful teacher, Mrs. Kimberly Weese. She LOVES her job and her students like they were her own. I gave her the “Pink Panther” Diabetes book before school and she read through it and asked me questions, eager to provide Emily with the best care. She is extremely accommodating and understanding of Emily’s special needs. I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher for her! She was Teacher of the Year at Emily’s school two years ago because she is energetic, organized, encouraging, utilizes technology and the kids enjoy learning. Her room has a math center with manipulatives, computers, a reading and writing corner. I can’t say enough about her. I only wish Emily would have her next year!

5 Gayle Carrington September 28, 2010 at 6:01 pm

I would like to nominate my son Allan’s kindergarten teacher Kristen Stinnett at East End Elementary in Arkansas for this award. He is in 6th grade now and I’ll never forget how dedicated she was with his care. While still in the hospital, she grouped all of her class together and let each one of them talk to him on her cell phone. His diagnosis was the week of Halloween, during their party, she made him a goody basket with things he could have special and brought it to the hospital to him. She stayed with him for a while so that I could take a much needed break. She bought him special band aids for the school nurse to put on his little fingers after each finger stick. She learned the changes in his facial expressions if his sugar was too high or too low and she would call me. If he missed school, she would always call first thing in the morning to check on him. She would keep juice boxes and small low carb snacks in her fridge for him and was always by his side. She found such a kind way to explain to the other students just what was going on with Allan. She always asks about him and his health after all this time. She has the most loving heart and kind spirit of anyone I’ve ever met.

6 Lora September 29, 2010 at 4:37 pm

I would like to tell you about an incredible teacher- her name is Ms. Peyton. Ms. Peyton exemplifies dedication. From the moment I walked in her door to go over Justin’s care, I have been overcome with knowing this is going to be a great year. Ms. Peyton repeatedly gives of her own personal time. She does this when she stops by during skate night or spirit night to support her school and see her students. Justin was so excited to talk to her as he laced up his wheels.
Then I learned just how devoted she was when I found out she gave up her lunch break to help Justin with missed class work (not once, but twice) recently because Justin spent a significant amount of time in the clinic suffering from severe lows. She sat with him. They ate lunch together and went over the lesson(s) as a “team” so that he wouldn’t fall behind or end up frustrated with a pile of make up work. THAT IS DEDICATION!

As the teacher of an infused ESE(Exceptional Student Education) class; Ms. Payton is always looking for ingenious ways to inspire the best in our children. From “writing around the room” to individualized reward systems using puzzles, Ms. Peyton is ensuring ALL of the student in her classroom have a successful year. As parents, we could not ask for any more.

If you thank Ms. Peyton for giving of her personal time, she will tell you that is what she is here for. She is truly amazing. If you talk to her for even one minute, you will hear the passion in her voice and you will see the passion in her face. Her love and dedication for her students reflects off of her. I have been blessed to have my child in her class.

7 Kaileen Gibbs October 1, 2010 at 10:17 am

Our daughter, Deirdre, hit the jackpot this year when it came to teachers. She and her non-D brother, Rick, attend Lovett Elementary in Clinton, MS. Their homeroom teacher, Mrs. Debra Houghton, didn’t need to be taught a thing about diabetes: she has a teenage son with type 1. While the rest of their teachers this year had a good general knowledge of type 1, Mrs. Houghton has lived with it for years.

We are fortunate to see her a lot outside of school: living in a small town has it’s advantages. She introduced her son to Deirdre and they compared insulin pumps. She takes a genuine interest in both of our children, but she also understands this extra layer Deirdre has and is willing to work with her to help her perform at her best.

We are fortunate to have such a wonderful public school system as Clinton Public, but even more fortunate to have the teaching staff we have. Mrs. Houghton just transferred in from Texas this year. She was just in time. Sixth grade is a huge transition period between elementary and junior high.

8 Amanda October 1, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I would like to nominate my daughters’s 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Lorraine Rencher at Highland Primary School in Snowflake. I was nervouse about sending my daughter to all day school this year, but Mrs Rencher has made a postive impact on Kortnie and I. She gives Kortnie the help and support she needs without single-ing her out and making her feel any different from the other kids. She’s allowed our diabetes educator in the classroom to speak with the kids and with herself, she lets Kortnie test in class, she never hesitates to call me with a question or concern, I’ve had to bring Kortnie home for various things, stubborn lows, stubborn highs, site changes, you know the same things all of us D-mom’s face, Mrs Rencher always calls after school to check up on Kortnie and to make sure she is okay. She knows Kortnie’s “normal” personality and can tell when there are unexplained changes, she handles her gently and lovinly and reminds her to check her BG. She is respectful and loving and willing to learn and ask questions. What more can we ask for? I hope she wins and even if she doesn’t I appreciate that I am given the chance to recognize her.

9 Amanda October 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm

I looked at the facebook page for Office Max’s Adopt a Classroom, this is a great way for Office Max to give back to the communities they serve, I’m the PTO president at my kids’ school and I’m going to be looking into this a bit more to see if I can get my teachers or school entered in some of these great programs. Gonna re-post to my facebook page and get more mom’s “in the know” too.

10 Lorraine October 3, 2010 at 9:05 pm

There are many deserving teachers, but let me tell you why Caleb’s current teacher should win this award.

As a background, Caleb has had four different teachers and 7 different nurses at school since he has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Every teacher he has had has been loving, caring and concerned for Caleb’s well-being. Not one gave resistance to learning what they needed to do for his special needs. But Caleb’s current teacher has been exponentially superior in providing Caleb a safe and caring environment.

There are many teachers that learn to count carbs, administer insulin, understand how to treat a low and even inject glucagons if needed. Caleb is blessed to have a wonderful nurse who has the primarily responsibility for all of those things.

What Caleb’s teacher has offered him is as important, and some may argue more important than all of that. Caleb’s teacher has embraced Caleb as Caleb first, and Caleb as a child living with diabetes second. That doesn’t mean she gives his diabetes less importance. She gives it the absolute most importance by thinking of Caleb as a person first, while still managing his needs as a person living with diabetes. She understands the emotional toll that living with a chronic condition can have on a person and that labeling Caleb as “the diabetic” first is harmful emotionally.

What is extraordinary about what Caleb’s teacher does, is what she doesn’t do. She doesn’t give his diabetes unnecessary attention.

That may actually sound like it’s easy to do, as if it’s just a matter of ignoring it. If you have ever managed a child with diabetes, you know that it is, in fact, very difficult to do. It’s like being a magician using smoke and mirrors to lead a normal life while managing a very not normal, extremely intrusive thing.

Caleb’s teacher has been able to accommodate every single request I have made without the slightest hesitation. She has coordinated a daily schedule that provides for normalcy in the classroom and inclusion of Caleb in everything the other students do when they do it to work around his diabetes schedule. When there are unplanned needs to check Caleb’s sugar, they flow smoothly and without obvious interruption to the class instruction.

Although she could, she doesn’t just pass him off to the school nurse, she expresses interest and willingness to learn all the details of his care to the end of making a better day for Caleb. She goes out of her way to talk to the nurse to review the day’s events when the children are not around. No one asked her to do this. She doesn’t have to do it. She wants to do it. For Caleb.

Of course it is important for our children to be medically safe at school. It is equally important for our children’s emotional well being to be cared for. Studies show that living with a chronic condition like diabetes that takes constant, day after day maintenance can lead to severe emotional problems including depression and socialization weaknesses. I know that Caleb’s emotional health is being cared for. I know this because he gets off the bus each day with a smile on his face and skip in step that I haven’t seen before and didn’t even realize was missing. I know this because anything diabetes related about his day is the LAST thing he brings up when it used to be the first.

I hope from the above that you can see that Caleb’s teacher is passionate about the well-being of her students. She is dedicated to her students no matter what their differences and will make any accommodations necessary. Her innovation is in her approach to Caleb. She is the first teacher to accept him and all of him fully and completely. Where it would be easy to let Caleb stand out while he cares for his diabetes, she has been able to creatively balance his needs will the needs of all the children in her class without skipping a beat.

I will never be able to thank Caleb’s teacher enough for this. This is not something that can be repaid. But $100 is a start.

Thank you.

11 Lorraine October 3, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Well, going to that page may just be the easiest $1 I ever donated to anything. Looks like they’ve exceeded 25,000 “likes”. Sounds great to me! I know any of our teachers would welcome any kind of contributions to their classrooms.

12 Kim Keske October 4, 2010 at 2:17 am

Hands down my son’s 2nd grade teacher Mr. Sewell needs to win this award.
He was a new teacher at our school when we found out Joey had Diabetes, he did everything in his power to do all he could to help Joey through anything. First shot away from home, first low away from home and alway was on the phone with us trying to learn everything he could.
His son even had a fund raiser for JDRF. And at the fund raiser his son and his band played. If he could take Diabetes and flush it down the drain he would. He has been a very inportant part of Joeys life and would do anything for him.
This past September he flew out to DC to donate bone marrow to a ten year old stanger and that just shows what a great guy he is. He would do anything for anyone and this would be a great way to thank him for all he had done.

13 Reyna October 4, 2010 at 5:17 am

Hi Leighann,

Joe and I have been fortunate enough to not only have benefited from phenomenal teachers during his tenure at Hiawatha Elementary School in Essex Junction, Vermont, but to have been supported by a staff that is dedicated to caring for type 1 children in the most respectful, safe, and empowering manner. I would first like to talk about the school district, the principal, and the support staff along with the school nurse and I will then address Joe’s current teacher’s passion, flexibility, and support of Joe and his type 1 care while in the classroom setting.

When Joe started Kindergarten, there was not a strong substitute nursing system in place. We were fortunate enough that Joe’s school had a full-time school nurse. Unfortunately, the allowance of delegation of ANY diabetes care to non-medical personnel was prohibited. So, if the school nurse was absent…Joe, at 5 years old, would have NO ONE to help him with any of his diabetes care. This means no help with checking a blood sugar, treating a low, carb counting, insulin administration…any care. I presented my case to the school board that if the staff could not be educated at a minimum on helping Joe check and treat a low, that I would have to stay at school whenever the school nurse was absent. The school then bumped up the substitute school nurse pay (they doubled it) to get a pool of substitute school nurses to help fill-in at the school. Since then, I have also been able to educate other non-medical staff members on treatment of a low blood sugar and put together a lock-down protocol for Joe with his lock-down bag. By listening and being flexible to our needs, I feel the school district has allowed me to feel safe and secure sending my young type 1 child to school.

The Prinicpal at Joe’s school supported me with all of the above progress and has taken my Diabetes Classes and is a competent and knowledgeable resource in diabetes basics. He has gone above and beyond in making life as a mother to a type 1 child less stressful. He has provided his understanding and support to my current initiative which is to move much of Joe’s Diabetes Care into the classroom.

The School Nurse is Joe’s biggest advocate and has been by my side through the above transitions. She realized early on the current substitute nurse system would not fulfill Joe’s needs. She advocated for a larger pool of substitute nurses. She has advocated for the need of more staff to ensure the safety of the type 1 children in her school. She has played many a game of mancala, tic-tac-toe, and simply held my boy when he is waiting for a low to come up. She, along with Joe’s current teacher, have initiated Joe’s care to shift from the Health Office to the classroom this year, as Joe hates to miss school. Joe is an energetic and eager learner and becomes somewhat disgruntled when missing class for blood sugar checks at snack time and after lunch.

That brings us to Mrs. Funtow, I would love to nominate her for this award. She is deserving in so many ways. She is hardworking and dedicated…spending many afternoons well into the evenings organizing her classroom, preparing materials for her students, and looking over her pupil’s work. She even goes into the school on the weekend to re-organize her classroom library to enhance classroom flow and the children’s enjoyment of the space. Her expectations are high of the children. She encourages excellent behavior through a reward system. Her expectations are clear, which makes it very easy for young minds to “get it” and allows for little confusion on what the rules are. Because of her guidance, this is one of the best behaved classes in the school. She is known for this…this is her reputation…hardworking, dependable, high expectations, dedicated. The students adore her. I think it is because she is so clear on what she expects that they feel safe and secure and nurtured.

OK, onto the diabetes component…

Mrs. Funtow underwent my Diabetes Training Class at the beginning of the year. She learned how to check a blood sugar and how to treat a low blood sugar. She even stabbed an orange with an expired Glucagon syringe. She is not a big fan of blood and needles to say the least. She pushed beyond those feelings of discomfort to get the job done to learn how to keep Joe safe at school. She has also organized her classroom in a way to facilitate Joe’s care taking place in the classroom. She has worked diligently with the school nurse to maximize Joe’s time spent in the classroom verses in the Health Office.

She is also, in essence, the reason behind the book I made for Joe (I posted it on Sept 30th) educating his peers about type 1 and about all of the equipment used in managing type 1. She wanted us to do a presentation to Joe’s classmates re: his diabetes. Joe did not want to use a pre-fabricated book, he wanted one made for him. Of course I did it and it is quite cute and informative and has made my little man quite happy. Mrs. Funtow , of Hiawatha Elementary School, in Essex Junction, Vermont is deserving of this award because of her diligence, her high expectations, her care, her excellence, and for inspiring people to bring “more” to the table of life.

Warmest Regards,

Reyna T. Maher
(Joe’s Mother)

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