Benefits of Working for Madera Unified
By Babatunde Ilori, Executive Director of Accountability and Communications
THE 2019-20 SCHOOL year begins my sixth year working for the Madera Unified School District. Prior to this, I worked for Fresno Unified and multiple private sector companies. My previous experiences give me a unique lens and perspective that allow me to better understand and appreciate the key benefits of working for Madera Unified.
Amazing Health and Welfare Benefits
I transitioned from Fresno to Madera Unified at a time when my wife was eight months pregnant with our third child, Oluwasheyi (Sheyi) Natalia Ilori. We learned, through an ultrasound check, that Sheyi had Tetralogy of Fallot, a rare heart condition that would require open heart surgery for her to survive beyond her toddler years. Sheyi was born on June 2, 2014 and did not need immediate surgery, but was required to stay at the Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a week. My last day with Fresno Unified was scheduled at the end of June and my first day with Madera Unified was to happen at the beginning of July. I had a myriad of worries during that time. My biggest worry was for my daughter’s health and pending open heart surgery. I was also concerned about changing employers at such a challenging time for my family and me. Outside of the stress of starting a new job, I also was concerned about having the funds to pay for the extensive, and probably expensive health care needs my daughter would require. The NICU stay already required me to come up with $5,000, my out of pocket maximum for the year. However, I was changing employers and was concerned that my out of pocket maximum would reset and I would have to pay another $5K or more once my daughter had to undergo surgery. Furthermore, I was keenly worried about how my new employer, Madera Unified, would perceive my extended absence, so early on the job, as I envisioned being needed, for extensive amounts of time, to attend to my family’s needs and to spend time at the hospital, after Sheyi’s uniquely challenging and delicate surgery. All these things were swirling through my head and I knew the only thing I could do was pray for the Lord to guide me and my family through that difficult and emotional time.
Prayers were answered in a number of ways. Once I completed the health insurance enrollment process, I learned that while my health benefits with Fresno Unified were good, Madera Unified health benefits were substantially better. For starters, I would only have to pay $250 out of pocket for surgery and post care treatments for myself or any dependents on our plan. This was incredible news, especially since I already had to come up with $5,000 for the NICU stay during the month of June. Moreover, I was shocked to learn that the plan I had selected did not require me to pay any monthly deduction. I went from having over $250 per month deducted from my paycheck to $0 dollars deducted and a significantly better health insurance plan for my family and me. The blessings did not stop there either. Sheyi had a successful open heart surgery on Friday, August 8th, 2014. I received tremendous support from my new Madera Unified family and, to this day, still very much appreciate all the continued thoughts and prayers with which my family and I keep being blessed.
The surgery was a success, however, there was still a long road to full recovery for my daughter. My daughter had to stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PI-CU) for an extended number of weeks before she could be safely cleared to go home. Once home, she had to re-learn how to eat since she had been using a feeding tube post surgery. The task of teaching Sheyi how to eat was extremely difficult. This was easily the most challenging time in my life, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is when I learned about a benefit offered to Madera Unified employees called the Employee Assistance Program (EAP). The program provides a plethora of ancillary benefits including family counseling services which my family utilized. Looking back, I can unequivocally say I made the right decision to join Madera Unified, even during such a challenging time in my life.
WE BELIEVE — A Greater Purpose and calling
The Madera Unified school board recently adopted our district’s compact which includes a new vision, mission and core values. This compact communicates a greater calling for why we work at MUSD. Our mission says it all “We are committed to creating and sustaining a culture enabling Madera Unified students to experience an unparalleled educational journey that is intellectually, socially and personally transformative.” This is a bold new and dynamic mission which will require all staff members, regardless of title, to go above and beyond for our students. Fredrick Douglass once said, “it is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’’ Nine out of ten students in our district qualify for free and reduced cost lunches according to federal eligibility guidelines and seventy percent of our students are English learners or reclassified English learners. Research states that students with this profile often have adverse educational outcomes, such as dropping out from school. Despite these hurdles, our students have obtained a number of accomplishments. Madera South High school recently received the grand champion prize across the valley at the career skills challenge competition hosted by Fresno City College. Six Madera Unified students were elected to serve as regional leaders for career technical education (CTE) programs such as Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, Future Business Leaders of America, and Future Farmers of America. A number of our students placed in the top three in both state and regional CTE competitions. The Madera South Chamber singers received a superior rating at the California Music Educators Association (CMEA) Choral Festival. Additionally, a number of our students received additional recognition at the CMEA festival. Furthermore, Madera High Robotics team won the FIRST Robotics World Championship, beating out teams in areas known for technology such as Silicon Valley. Our students are beating the odds and realizing this type of success because of our incredible staff. A person once told me that luck happens when hard work meets opportunity. When our students put in the time and work extremely hard, and our staff provides our students with the opportunity to succeed by offering an unparalleled educational journey, our students can and will achieve at the highest levels. This is the greatest benefit of working for Madera Unified School District, being a part of the challenging and hugely gratifying journey to bring our new mission to life.HE
Amazing Health and Welfare Benefits
High Quality Professional Development
Work on things you enjoy
Employee Assistance Program
We Believe Culture: a greater calling and awesome purpose
Image Credits: Illori Family.