Pack Props Recognize Teachers and Staff


Anthony Gosch

Building substitute Brett Plankis is September’s Pack Props winner. “Completely undeserving and appreciative for being recognized by the Integrated Services department,” Plankis said describing his feelings when chosen.

Anthony Gosch, Staff Writer

Rocky Mountain High School psychologist Melanie Potyondy started a program called “Pack Props,” which awards teachers and staff every month who go above and beyond helping out the integrated services students and staff here at Rocky.

Potyondy said that she came up with the name, “Pack Props” because Rocky’s mascot is the Lobo and Lobos are a pack.

“Sometimes, special education isn’t observed and is disconnected from the generic world and learning,” Potyondy explained.

Potyondy explained the way the integrated services team decides who the monthly teacher is via a google document that they have which has a list of the nominees. If a teacher doesn’t win during a month, they stay on the list and more people just get added to the list over time. Only the Integrated Services team can nominate teachers and staff for Pack Props.

Potyondy said that she started this idea back at her very first job at Thompson Valley High School about 15 years ago. She continued the idea since then and started calling it to Pack Props at Rocky back in January of 2018.

Her favorite part about doing Pack Props is that she loves recognizing people and making teachers feel good about themselves and what they do.

A few past Pack Props winners are Mr. Laurie who teaches English language arts, math teacher Ms. Betts, gym teacher Ms. Stelzer, science teacher Ms. Weeks, and history teacher Mr. McNamee.

Laurie said that the way he makes people feel included in his classes is “by incorporating various forms of self-expression into the classroom culture and trying to create contexts where students are invited to celebrate their individuality and their growth.”

While McNamee said that the way he makes people feel included in his classes is “by trying to say hello to all students in his classroom before the end of the period and getting the students to speak to the rest of the class.”

Betts talked about how she tries to make everyone feel included by teaching hands on and helping others one-on-one and making sure everyone gets a turn throughout the class.

“I spend the first week or two of class playing games and doing activities with the sole purpose of building relationships. These games and activities are essential to making students feel included because it is a time for them to have their voices heard and meet new classmates. Once students feel connected to each other they are more likely to feel included the rest of the quarter,” Stelzer explained.

Weeks said that she tries to call every student by name and “incorporate their passions and future” into her topics.

This year’s Pack Props winners are science teacher Veronica Castillo, for the month of August, and building a substitute teacher Brett Plankis for the month of September.

Potyondy sends out a monthly email with the Pack Props winner photographed and a brief statement explaining why they were chosen. It’s always exciting when she stops by a classroom to take a photo and tell the teacher they are the ones being recognized for the month.