By Jamie Leary

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– As teachers work to navigate hybrid learning models, one community is making sure its teachers know their hard work is appreciated.

(credit: CBS)

“Here’s a sample valentine with a little note on the back. These we’ll take to the teachers at the middle school here in Frisco, Feb. 12,” said Yvonne Kuennen, a local artist and member of the Summit County Arts Council.

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‘Love Notes For Teachers’ was the idea of the arts council, and from now through Feb. 11, students can pick up kits to write their favorite teacher a valentine.

“I wrote, Dear Ms. Johnson, thank you for being a great teacher this year,” said Sam Sherburne, a Frisco first grader.

Sam and his sister, Sterling, picked up their kits at Arts Alive off Main Street in Frisco and spent an evening making a valentine for their favorite teacher.

“Ms. Lloyd, my teacher- right now she is helping kids learn about the human body,” said Sterling Sherburne, a fifth grader at Frisco Elementary. “Every day she works really hard, like making sure kids keep their mask on…”

(credit: CBS)

In Summit County, the district was recently able to return to a hybrid learning model. While it’s been tough on students, it’s been a roller coaster for teachers, too.

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“It’s been extremely difficult, and teachers have been true heroes through all of this,” said Laura Rupert, Principal at Frisco Elementary. “They’re constantly having to change what they’re doing and have created new programs to switch from what they typically do to online and they’re always thinking about the next thing that they need to do to make schooling better in the situation that we have.”

The idea to create love letter kits for students to give to teachers? It couldn’t have come at a better time.

Now nearly a year into the pandemic, teachers need the reminder that what they’re doing, makes a difference.

“Any words of positivity to reinforce that what they’re doing does matter, teachers need to hear that right now because I think that they are stretched beyond their limits and to know that people care makes a big difference,” said Rupert.

The Arts council came up with the idea to start with love notes for teachers, but it’s not stopping there. It hopes other communities pick up the project as well.

(credit: CBS)

“And hopefully every holiday, we’ll pick a new brave group. For now we’re starting with our wonderful and brave teachers,” said Kuennen.

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For more information on the kits or where to pick them up, click here: http://summitarts.org/

Jamie Leary