The North Central Educational Service District (NCESD) has selected Christopher Rosales as the 2023 Regional Classified School Employee of the Year for the North Central Washington region.
Rosales is now eligible for state honors through the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. State winners will be announced in September.
Rosales is a Paraeducator for the Alternative Learning Experience program at WestSide High School in the Wenatchee School District. Rosales also serves as a Family Advocate and Graduation Specialist.
In his role, Rosales has become a vital connection to the Spanish-speaking families at Westside High School, explained one of Rosales’ nominators, Andrea Danahey-Feil, the WestSide Night School Humanities/CTE Teacher.
“He has become a master of the FAFSA and WAFSA,” she added.
FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and provides financial aid from the federal government to help pay for college. WASFA is the Washington Application for State Financial Aid and is for students in Washington State who are undocumented or do not qualify for federal financial aid because of their immigration status.
Recently, Rosales and his coworker, Jonathan Godina, hosted a FAFSA/WAFSA Night for WestSide High School migrant and bilingual students and families to learn about the opportunities available to assist with the costs of continued education after high school.
The event brought outside organizations into Westside High School to connect directly with students and their families. While this level of support is available at Wenatchee High School, it had not been available at WestSide High School due to the size of the school, Rosales explained.
“Many of our migrant students had to attend Wenatchee High School in order to get all the information, but we decided that we could bring that here too,” Rosales said. “After the initial talks with our resources, it was like a wildfire. We had different organizations reaching out to us to help in whatever way they could.”
By the end of the event, all of the participants had either started or completed their FAFSA/WAFSA application, in addition to receiving information on where they could get additional financial assistance for college or trade school.
This is just one of the many examples in Rosales’ nomination of how he goes above and beyond for students and staff at WestSide High School. He takes pride in making sure that students know they are valued, Rosales said.
“I want them to know that they can be the next President, or the next surgeon, or the next whatever they want to be, as long as they put in the effort,” he added. “It is important to me that they know that all the staff at WestSide High School are here to help them, both academically and mentally.”
About OSPI Teacher of the Year and Classified School Employee of the Year Program
Since 1963, the Washington State Teacher of the Year program has selected one outstanding educator annually to serve as the Washington State Teacher of the Year. The Teacher of the Year is selected from a slate of up to nine regional candidates representing Washington’s nine Educational Service Districts and including Tribal Schools. Washington began naming Classified School Employees of the Year in 2010 and follows the same process.
Anyone can nominate someone for Teacher or Classified School Employee of the Year. Nominees complete a written application and enter the regional selection process. Each region recommends a regional finalist to the state program. The State Teacher and Classified School Employee of the Year are selected from among these regional finalists by a committee made up of diverse educators, families, students and education stakeholders. Learn more at the OSPI website: https://www.k12.wa.us/educator-support/awards-recognition/educator-awards
About North Central Educational Service District
The North Central Educational Service District provides a wide array of programs, services and support to the 29 public school districts in the North Central Washington region of Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan county. The service district provides professional and timely tools to meet the needs of individual schools and districts, and a reliable point of education-related information for the communities served. The NCESD is one of nine respected educational service districts in Washington state. Learn more at https://www.ncesd.org