Every morning, Officer Teresa Palmer, a security officer at William Cramp Elementary School, welcomes students into the building.

“I make it a point to ask every student how they are each morning. I know I care [about them], but they might not know. And I want them to make sure that they know me, and feel safe around me.”

Teresa Officer Palmer is in her 5th year of service at Cramp. She is responsible for the safety of thousands of students, parents, staff, and community members who enter and exit the building each day. And because Cramp is a Community School, those days extend well past the last bell.

Thanks to a partnership between Community Schools and the Office of Adult Education, schools including Cramp – offer free adult education classes.

In order to make everyone feel safe and welcome, a School Police Officer was requested by school leadership to stay after school while classes were going on. Officer Palmer volunteered to work the after-school shift in order to support her school community.

“We’re offering people an opportunity to improve their lives. That’s a great thing. It’s wonderful to see the school and the City come together to do that. Making sure adults feel safe when they’re here learning, that was something I thought I could help with.”

William Reed, the Community Schools Coordinator at Cramp, selected Teresa to receive a Community School Award last year because of her dedication to Cramp’s learners of all ages.

Community School award winners are selected by each school’s coordinator in honor of their work to support the Community Schools initiative. In his nomination, Will explained that Teresa’s dedication to the school community made her the perfect candidate for Cramp’s award.

“[Officer Palmer] makes sure that the students, parents, and staff are safe. She goes above and beyond to promote a warm and supportive environment in the school, [and] is a joy to be around,” said Will. “We could not provide the programs we do without her. She exemplifies the Community School’s spirit”

Officer Palmer said, “I don’t do this to be recognized. I do this because I want to help this community. But it’s such a moment of pride to be recognized. I have that trophy up on my mantle, and I look at it every morning and smile because it means I have made an impact.”

Congratulations Officer Teresa Palmer, and thank you for all you do to support our Community School!

The Community Schools initiative is a collaboration between the School District of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, and community partners, and is central to Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s vision for public education. Philadelphia currently has 17 designated Community Schools, where a Community School Coordinator supports added school-based programs and services for 10,000 students and their families and neighbors.

Philadelphia has 17 Community Schools all across the City. Learn more about this initiative that serves all Philadelphians.