Beech Grove City Schools ‘Sting’ teachers and staff to show appreciation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A normal Wednesday in Chelsea Nulliner’s 2nd grade math class at Central Elementary in Beech Grove has her ushering her class of about 20 into smaller groups for learning.

Nulliner’s been with the district for eight and a half years and even graduated from Beech Grove schools herself.

She said things have been difficult lately with the day to day after two years of a pandemic, but administrators have been helpful in making sure that teachers are comforted and supported. She feels they are making sure that staff and students have what they need.

“I was actually pregnant during the pandemic so it was a little nice to have that virtual learning. I was still able to see my students and be together in some sense. It was hard, but it was still nice to be with them,” Nulliner said.

For her, the most difficult times came right after the pandemic happened. During quarantine, students and staff had a period of “in and outs” meaning they’d be in-person for a little while until case numbers would rise and force them to go virtual. Starting on certain parts of the curriculum in-person meant starting all over after an “out” would happen. Nulliner felt students have had to play catch up.

It was her surprise when she saw her superintendent, Laura Hammack, and other administrators waltz into her classroom adorning orange fuzzy boas and antenna headbands.

“There she is,” exclaimed Hammack. “You’ve been stung!”

Nulliner’s classroom was just as shocked as she was, although they erupted into cheers for their math teacher while she still stood frozen and shocked that she was actually stung.

“I had always wanted to be stung, because when you see everyone else get stung you know it’s a good feeling to watch,” Nulliner said.

The administrators gave her a goody bag of cracker jacks, a planner, her favorite candy, Chapstick, a Hornet t-shirt, and a Hornet pen.

That’s what it means to get stung, because the school’s mascot is a hornet.

“We have a wheel that we spin every week. It includes 300 names of our staff. We choose a name and the employee is then celebrated by being stung that week. We give them nice bags full of things they like like they’re favorite candy and we get that information from principals and other people. We give them gift cards too,” Beech Grove Schools superintendent, Laura Hammack, said.

Mitzi Garman, the schools communications director, said this is a way for the district to show appreciation to their staff.

“We were just about a week into the school year when we decided they’ve been through so much these last two years. It’s a small thing it seems, but if we could just give a little bit of surprise, delight and joy into their day that’s what we want,” Garman said.

For Nulliner who went right back into teaching mode with her students after the surprise, she said she’s appreciative of the thought.

“It really helps with like those hard day because it’s teaching. You’re going to have those hard days. I’m just so grateful that I have that. Like I don’t know what to say because it is such a good feeling. It is such a good support,” Nulliner said.

You can find the school’s sting of the week here.