In a school district, students’ success relies not only on the efforts of teachers but also on the dedicated and invaluable contributions of classified staff members. Classified staff encompasses diverse professionals who fulfill various roles to support the educational experience.

Some of the most important members of our school team never step into a classroom. While our teachers are essential, our classified staff are critical to our schools’ and students’ success. Why? Because they create conditions for teacher and student success.

As a building leader, my administrative assistant was my right hand, and my head custodian was my left hand. Together, they kept the school running. I was very fortunate because they were original staff members who opened the school. So they knew everything about the facility.

My administrative assistant handled the routine administrative duties, including staff attendance, payroll, parent complaints, and student issues, which allowed me, as the instructional leader, to spend my day in classrooms with teachers and staff. My building was well maintained, and issues were quickly addressed, directly impacting our learning and working conditions. Together, they were my dynamic duo!

From paraprofessionals and custodians to office clerks and IT professionals, each classified staff member is crucial in enhancing student success. In this blog post, we will explore who classified staff members are and delve into how their roles contribute to students’ overall achievement and well-being.

Building Positive Relationships:

One of the core responsibilities of classified staff members is to establish positive relationships with students. Intervention paraprofessionals, for example, work closely with struggling students, providing personalized support to help them develop their vocabulary and reading comprehension. These professionals create connections where students feel valued, supported, and encouraged to reach their full potential. Research indicates that strong relationships contribute to improved academic success and reduced instances of emotional problems or risky behaviors.

Supporting School Operations:

Classified staff members are instrumental in ensuring the smooth operation of a school district. They fulfill essential roles such as administrative technicians, custodians, food service assistants, and bus drivers. Office clerks handle administrative tasks, organize schedules, and manage correspondence, enabling teachers and administrators to focus on instructional priorities. Custodians maintain clean and safe environments, contributing to a conducive learning atmosphere. Bus drivers transport students safely to and from school, ensuring their timely arrival and departure.

Promoting Engagement and Support:

Classified staff members are critical in fostering student engagement and support throughout the learning journey. They assist in classrooms, libraries, and computer labs, ensuring students have access to necessary resources and materials. Additionally, paraprofessionals and instructional support staff work closely with teachers to provide individualized help to students who require extra attention. Their efforts contribute to improved academic outcomes as they facilitate differentiated instruction and targeted interventions.

Enhancing School Climate and Safety:

Classified staff members significantly contribute to creating a positive school climate and ensuring student safety. Security personnel help maintain a secure campus environment, ensuring the physical well-being of students. Bus drivers and transportation staff ensure that students are safely transported to and from school, providing peace of mind for parents and guardians. Through their presence and vigilance, classified staff members contribute to fostering a safe and inclusive atmosphere where students can thrive.

Collaboration and Partnerships:

Classified staff members are vital collaborators within the school community. They work alongside administrators, teachers, and families, forming a student support network. Collaborative efforts between classified staff and other stakeholders, such as parents and caregivers, contribute to a comprehensive and holistic approach to student success. By aligning their efforts with the goals and vision of the school district, classified staff members help create a cohesive educational ecosystem that supports student achievement.

Andrew Carnegie said, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”

So, as you can see, Classified staff members in a school district are indispensable contributors to student success. From building positive relationships to supporting school operations, promoting engagement, enhancing school climate, and fostering collaboration, each classified staff member plays a vital role in creating an environment where students can thrive academically, emotionally, and socially.

Recognizing and appreciating classified staff’s diverse skills and expertise is crucial for building a solid, inclusive educational community.


Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own and do not represent those of my employer or any local, state, or federal government.

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Dr. Kim Moore

About the author

I'm Kim, your Educational Leadership Guide. I equip educational leaders with research-based and experientially learned educational leadership principles and best practices to promote student success.