Every May, districts from San Diego to Susanville take time to recognize the contributions of their staffs. Classified School Employees Week is the third week of the month and pays tribute to staff members who play key roles in creating environments that promote student achievement, safety and health.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson described classified employees as “hard-working and devoted school employees who exemplify what commitment to school and student really is,” and as workers “who make the extra effort to support their students, schools and communities.” Torlakson is right. Annual recognitions are wonderful.

However, your biggest booster is actually your AFT local union. Local unions negotiate contracts that provide the tools necessary to perform our classified jobs effectively, and to ensure that the classified voice is heard at work — all year long. That’s the ultimate recognition of the invaluable services we provide to California’s students.