Love School Custodian Contributes To Students’ Success
If you drove by Love Elementary School around 7:30 a.m. any school morning you just might see School Custodian, Don Barr, greeting each student as they walk in to start their school day. “Papa Don” as the kids call him is a positive role model for the school’s students. In addition to his responsibilities as school custodian and morning greeter, Mr. Barr spends his lunchtime eating with groups of children. Some kids even choose to have lunch with him as a reward for good behavior.
“Our Positive Behavior Intervention System requires everyone who works in the building to work together in a consistent manner,” said Love Elementary School Principal Renee Hartling. “This means the cafeteria staff, office staff and the custodian are all important pieces in the process. Don has stepped up and helped us promote positive behavior. He greets the students in the morning and reminds them to work hard and be kind. During the lunch periods, Don allows students to eat lunch with him. Sometimes he has students that have earned the privilege by having a good day while other groups are students that are having a tough day and need some extra support. Don takes great pride in this building and he wants to help in anyway he can. He cares about the students and wants them to be successful. That is why he is known as ‘Papa Don,’ a name that truly fits him.”
Mr. Barr enjoys his time with the kids.
“I love the kids. We eat together, talk about different things happening in their lives or in school, look at their homework and sometimes go outside and play. I’m another adult in the building who is interested in them and, because it’s a small lunch group, I can have more one-on-one time with them and build relationships.”
“Papa Don” works with five different lunch groups during the week and knows that giving the students his attention is important.
“I grew up on this side of town. I went to Love School myself. So I understand the students,” said Mr. Barr. “I am just another male figure in the kids’ lives that they are comfortable coming in to talk about their problems or just have a chat.”
Mr. Barr is doing this in addition to his regular responsibilities as school custodian. Some of his daily duties include: taking care of the outside of Love School (mowing laws, etc.), any clean-up during the day, work orders to repair things around the school or in classrooms, delivering supplies, and ensuring the night crew cleans the school to be ready for students and staff each day.