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Administrative Assistants wear many hats to keep schools running smoothly

Posted on May 2, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Samantha Johnson
Prairie Rose Public Schools Content Writer

The first person most people encounter on entering a school is the Administrative Assistant and last Wednesday, April 24, was Administrative Professional’s Day and a time to honour and celebrate these unsung heroes. They are the go-to person for staff and students for many things, including first-aid, helping in classrooms, with school events, fundraisers, buying presents and treats, nutrition programs along with undertaking many other tasks. Their daily routine is dictated by what is going on around them and within the school on any given day. Keeping everyone informed, getting them what they need and ensuring the school or division office runs smoothly sums up an administrative assistant’s job.

Katie Ritz has been working at Jenner School for the past two years and loves the school, finding it feels like home with students and staff her extended family. “Right now, we have 28 students and that is an average class size of some urban classrooms. We are unique in that our class sizes are smaller, and I feel the students get a better education because they stay with the teachers for three years,” explained Ritz.

Prairie Rose Public Schools (PRPS) cares about their employees and Ritz finds anyone she talks to helpful and loves that whenever she calls someone, they know who she is. “I am the doer of all things for our school,” said Ritz. “Whether its finding books for kindergarten kids (Robert Munsch is still a good favourite), helping with Grade 9 options class, being the banker at fundraiser time, or treat and goodie buyer. I will help anywhere and everywhere.”

Kelly Herrmann was an EA for 17 years at various PRPS schools before taking over the position of administrative assistant at Prairie Mennonite Alternative School (PMAS) five years ago.

“Some of the highlights of my time with PRPS are watching students learn new things, moving to a “new” school and watching the excitement of PMAS students experience a gym and playground. Working with high needs students, and the relationships that I have made over the years with staff and students,” said Herrmann.

The community created by students, staff and parents at the school is something Herrmann loves most about her job. The yearly Christmas and Easter concerns are highlights for her, along with taking part in the spring BBQ and the year-end field trip.

PMAS is a small school, and Herrmann is responsible for the library along with her administrative assistant duties. The school did not have a library prior to moving to the new location and, over the past five years, she’s been developing one by slowly buying new books along with collecting donations from other PRPS schools and the Medicine Hat Public Library.

She supervises online classes with the Grade 9 students, has library classes with all grades, organizes monthly hot lunches, and enjoys being outside and watching the students play when she is on supervision duty. Herrmann has put up a large whiteboard in the staff room and keeps it up to date with upcoming events so all staff can easily see what is going on.

PMAS is unique in that many of the parents do not use email or online programs so the communication must be handled differently. “Building trust is very important since I need to help them with any forms that need to be filled out. I have assisted families with passport applications, registration forms and other government forms that they may need assistance with, as well as reading/translating online government surveys,” stated Herrmann.

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