CHAPEL HILL – Parents, students, and Chapel Hill’s mayor, Mark Kleinschmidt, lined the sidewalk outside Estes Hills Elementary School Monday morning to praise the teachers at the start of American Education Week.


Teachers of Estes Hills walked by the students and parents who were cheering them on and saying thank you for all they do.

Mayor Kleinschmidt told a group that stuck around after the teacher parade that he got a bit choked up looking on.

“As a former teacher myself and someone who cares deeply about education, particularly that of our children here in Chapel Hill, it’s very heart-warming and celebratory, and it’s such a stark contrast to the way so many folks in North Carolina seem to be engaging with education today,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says.

In 1921, the Nation Education Association and the American Legion came together to create the American Education Week after finding out that 25 percent of the country’s World War I draftees were illiterate.

PTA President Courtney Limerick says with the current need of support around education in the state, this was a good time to start an outward show of support.

“The way things are in the state today, this was a great time to be able to show our appreciation throughout the year instead of just on Teacher Appreciation Week,” Limerick says.

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 6-10 this school year.

Mayor Kleinschmidt adds that the amount of work is only going up while the financial and other support is dwindling.

“These teachers haven’t had a raise in six years,” Mayor Kleinschmidt says. “The support has been dwindling; teachers’ aids have been cut. They’re working harder than they ever had before and are being rewarded less.”

Estes Hills Principal Drew Ware says support from the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools district continues to be strong, but it’s on the state level where he and others would like to see a change.

“Certainly paying our teachers more, paying our staff more is incredibly important,” Ware says. “It has an impact on students, but there are a number of other things that have a negative impact on students. Our district has done an amazing job of helping to, kind of, protect and build up around our students so they’re getting the best education they possibly can.”

American Education Week continues through Friday:

Monday, November 18: Kickoff Day

Nationwide Kickoff. Across the country, schools will celebrate excellence in education by hosting kickoff events and activities.


Tuesday, November 19: Parents Day

Schools will invite parents into the classroom for a firsthand look at what the school day is like for their children.


Wednesday, November 20: Education Support Professionals Day

Education Support Professionals keep schools running and students safe, healthy and ready to learn. Check out these charts to see how hard ESPs work to serve students in public schools and how committed ESPs are to both their jobs and their communities. Also watch the “It’s More Than Just a Job” videos below to learn more about ESP careers.

Raise Your Hand for Student Success: Education Support Professional Appreciation Radio Spot By 2013 ESP of the Year Donna Schulze


Thursday, November 21: Educator for a Day

Community leaders will be invited to experience the day as educators and experience the challenges of teaching and the needs of students. Learn more about this program through the Educator for a Day Promotional Kit.


Friday, November 22: Substitute Educators Day

Substitute educators play a vital role in the maintenance and continuity of daily education. Learn more about these professionals and take a look at resources and tips for substitute educators.