Making the grade: Communicating with all people, not just in English
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The desk is a small wooden peninsula jutting from a red wall. A flat monitor is at its midsection. Two phones and#8212; one white, one black and#8212; lie at the wall joint. And these are joined by a Diet Coke can, a coffee mug, an empty water bottle, an address stamp, a stapler remover, scissors, an envelope and a tablet of lined yellow paper, all under the shadow of bus schedules and calendars; a dry eraser board spanning the wall scribbled with notes about road work, the name and#8220;Steveand#8221; in big letters, followed by the words, and#8220;Will take special consideration,and#8221; in swirling blue cursive.
Amid the tumult, Melissa Giannetto is hard at work fielding phone calls at the Tahoe Truckee Unified School Districtand#8217;s Transportation department. Giannetto was hired Aug. 2 to be the districtand#8217;s new bilingual dispatcher.
The job description includes Spanish translation for the department, communicating with parents, coordinating bus passes and making sure all the districtand#8217;s young passengers are on the right bus at the right time and#8212; school skippers beware.
and#8220;I said I would probably never come back but I did,and#8221; Giannetto and#8212; a Truckee High School alumna and#8212; said with a laugh.
After graduating from Truckee High, Giannetto enrolled at California State University, Sacramento, and majored in Spanish and sociology. Afterward, when her dispatching job at AAA went out of state, Giannetto turned to a Sacramento-based health insurance company for work and#8212; a job she said was far from long term.
The journey back home, Giannetto said, was brought about by and#8220;momand#8221; and#8212; Stacy Giannetto and#8212; after she alerted her daughter of an open dispatching position. This announcement was shortly followed by an interview and sent Giannetto packing.
and#8220;I kind of picked up and came back in a month,and#8221; Giannetto said, describing the hectic move as she and her 17-month-old son Elijah loaded all their belongings for the trip back to Truckee.
Nannette Rondeau, director of transportation for the school district, said above all, Giannettoand#8217;s patience and her familiarity with the area is what singled her out from other candidates.
Under the economyand#8217;s nebulous path to recovery, Giannetto said she is grateful for the job and sees it as something of a miracle, a job she enjoys, and a career with enough elasticity to allow her to grow.
and#8220;I was very relieved to get a good job. This is actually something I can see myself doing for a long time,and#8221; she said.
Giannetto expressed gratitude that sheand#8217;ll be able to use her Spanish, helping Latino community members with their childrenand#8217;s transportation needs.
and#8220;I want to communicate with all people, not just in English,and#8221; she said. and#8220;I just want them to feel comfortable about the transportation department because were the ones taking their kids to school.and#8221;