Dalton Public Schools News

Blue Ridge Paraprofessional Named DPS Classified Staff of the Year
Blue Ridge Paraprofessional Named DPS Classified Staff of the Year
Sylvia reacting to receiving the award

Becoming available to others is one of the greatest gifts we can offer. While sometimes a difficult task to maintain, this availability extended out to others lets them know that they matter and are important. Sylvia Smith, media paraprofessional at Blue Ridge School, makes it a priority to provide that availability to her students every day.

Smith, after being nominated by her fellow teachers and staff members, is the winner of this year's Dalton Public Schools Classified Staff of the Year award. She was recognized during the half-time ceremony at the Dalton High School football game against Rome High School on October 16.

Kim Beam, paraprofessional at Dalton Middle School, was announced as the runner-up.

Working in the media center in today's ever-changing technology climate is not an easy task. With the addition of new technology and new programs presented on a frequent basis, Smith is often forced to adapt and adjust to these innovative changes.

"One of the hardest things about this job is that it is constantly changing," Smith said. "There are always new books coming in, new technology, new students or new programs that need to be learned and taught."

Smith was the acting media specialist during the 2018-2019 school year, and she excelled in the role. Not only did she help students with their book checkouts, Smith also taught students many lessons on how take better care of their devices.

Kim Beam and Matt Evans

Smith made it a point to reach out to Blue Ridge's teachers and parents regularly to see if they came across any technology problems. Being willing to help students that run into any technological problems or issues is fulfilling to Smith while she helps them along their academic journey.

"I made sure to contact students, parents or teachers that needed help to make sure their issue was fixed if I hadn't fixed it myself," Smith said.

Smith's willingness to help out at Blue Ridge extends beyond the media center. She holds true to a respectable rule to never say 'no.' This personal rule Smith has for herself contributes to the well-being of both the students and teachers at Blue Ridge.

"If someone needs something from me I do my best to make that happen," Smith said. "If I need to substitute for a class, I do it. If I can help with a duty that is shorthanded, then I help. If I am asked to fill in at the front office or translate, then I do."

In addition to her many other responsibilities, Smith helps run the school store in the mornings. After the first several months of school, Smith will take student volunteers to help sell items and count money. She believes this will give the students a good sense of what is needed to successfully run a business.

Along with running the school store, Smith enjoys dressing up as the school mascot at school functions and events.

Sylvia accepting award

"Seeing those kids light up is such a joy," Smith said. "The smiles, the hugs and high fives are the best feeling ever. I am so fortunate to work with the staff and students who know how to have fun and celebrate all the good."

Smith, a very deserving Classified Staff of the Year award recipient, continues to shine brightly in the work she does at Blue Ridge. Being there for the teachers, students, and parents is something Smith holds in the highest of regards.

Smith received a check for $250 as the district Classified Staff of the Year and a check for $150 for her honor as the school level Classified Staff of the Year. The financial awards were made possible through donations from partnering businesses Carroll Daniel Construction, J W Buckley and Associates, Shaw Industries and Georgia Federal Credit Union. She also received a Dalton Difference coin.

Each of the school Classified Staff of the Year award winners received a $150 check and a Dalton Difference coin to keep.

Other school level Classified Staff of the Year honorees included Debra Chastain, Brookwood School; Esterly Flores, City Park; Zachary Hebard, Park Creek; Graciela Arevalo, Roan School; Miranda Rigsby, Westwood School; Kim Beam, Dalton Middle School; Debra Holbrook, Dalton High School; Norma Rodriguez, Morris Innovative High School.