Rooted School

TDS supports teachers through a unique sponsorship

Sure, there’s Teacher Appreciation Week, but thanks to a very special sponsorship, TDS has been supporting teachers all year long.

Because of TDS’ support, 708 teachers in six Dane County, Wisconsin school districts could attend a wellness program called The Rooted School. Created by an organization located in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, the program is designed to teach social emotional learning and mindful self-awareness skills. In so doing, it helps educators manage stress, build resilience, and improve their overall wellbeing.

“TDS really partnered with us at a critical time. School-staff wellness is usually underfunded if funded at all,” says Erin Sadler, founder of The Rooted School. “When COVID hit, any wellness-aligned funds schools did have were frozen or canceled. TDS stepping in was essential to getting school staff the help they needed.”

The sponsorship came about after TDS’ Sam Abolkhair, associate manager-Field Marketing, met Erin through a mutual connection. He started looking into the programs and looped in his fellow associate manager field marketer, Curtis Hall after seeing the potential for a synergistic collaboration to roll out the sponsorship across Southern Wisconsin. They met with the program’s founder to learn more.

“In a way, the Rooted School sponsorship was intended to provide support to an important category of essential workers—teachers and educators—who were going through many changes in the teaching process and much turmoil imposed by the pandemic,” says Sam.

The Rooted School notes that 46% of teachers reported high daily stress pre-pandemic. That translates to impacts to their health, sleep, quality of life and teaching performance. And when teachers are stressed, their students are impacted, showing lower levels of social adjustment and academic performance. COVID just added to the fuel to that fire.

“Research shows that teacher stress directly impacts student academic performance,” says Erin. “When TDS showed up to help teachers manage stress more effectively, they showed support for educators and the students they teach every day.”

“I’m really proud of this,” says Curtis Hall, associate manager of Field Marketing in Southern Wisconsin. “It’s personal to me because my wife’s a teacher and neuro educator, too. When this opportunity came up I was super excited and wanted to roll it out in as many of my markets as I could.”

In total, 472 teachers participated across Verona, Waunakee, Stoughton, and Monona Grove; and 236 teachers in Sun Prairie and McFarland were able to attend.

“TDS believes in giving back to the communities we serve, and we wanted to take care of our teachers, and their mental well-being, who were taking care of the students in those communities,” says Sam.

If there were any doubts about the impact of the program don’t take it from Sam and Curtis—look at what teachers had to say:

Thank you to teachers for all you do every day to help your students and your communities!

About Missy Kellor

Missy works on the Corporate Communications team and reports stories to TDS employees and customers. This is right up her alley because she’s an extrovert and also a big fan of research (really, she’ll look up just about anything that strikes her interest). Missy is a native of Madison, Wis. with an undergraduate in Anthropology and a master’s degree in Life Sciences Journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interest in the Internet as a mass media shaped her work towards a PhD in Journalism and Mass Communications. She’s also worked as an editorial assistant, copywriter, and production artist. In her off hours, Missy is a crafter, Pinterest addict, reader, wife, and mom of two kids.
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