Sally Bridges of Patrick Hamilton Elementary School in Dowagiac.

Archived Story

Parapro Sally Bridges wears many hats

Published 10:28am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our para-professional Sally Bridges is a woman of many talents to say the least. Her daily routine consists of countless interactions with students that help them be successful during their entire day here at Patrick Hamilton.

Sally starts her day as the crossing guard on the corner of Division and Spruce. Children’s safety is her priority and she has received letters and cards from parents expressing their gratitude for her putting their children’s safety at the top of her list.  Sally is also CPR and First Aid certified, which comes in handy quite often at an elementary building.

She then moves into the classroom with Mrs. Lauren Cornelius to work with students with speech and language impairments.  Sally is in charge of various tasks, such as individualizing student spelling words to help each child feel successful.  She also prepares crafts for learning centers and helps lead movement activities in the classroom.  One TK1 student, Alaina Grissom, says of Mrs. Bridges, “She’s nice and when we don’t know a word, she helps us.”

Mrs. Bridges also follows the students in her resource room to their general education classes and assists them with math, science and social studies.  She is always willing to pitch in and help wherever she is needed no matter what the task and no matter which children need help.  She truly understands that her job is to help students learn and goes out of her way to assist all students.

So many extras that Sally does during the day are the special touches that make children feel special – running the school store, stocking the pencil machine and baking cupcakes for student birthdays each month.

Her good works don’t end when the bell rings. Two days a week, she assists with Patrick Hamilton’s after school program in the computer lab.  She guides students through specific lessons with SuccessMaker and other learning software, keeping track of progress and encouraging students to keep learning.  Monday afternoons, she leads a Girl Scout troop with several girls.  One young lady, Schtirika White says, “I know her from Girl Scouts.  She helps us learn how to become one.  When I’m having problems at school, she helps me talk it out.”

Even during the summer months, Sally Bridges can be found at the summer migrant program or Tiny Talkers helping students learn and grow.  She is truly a role model for our students, and she is an example of someone who makes a difference for all of us at Patrick Hamilton Elementary.

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