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Celebrating Students: Schools Recognize Achievement in Many Ways


At Alexandria Magnet Middle School in Louisiana, honor roll students receive extra special recognition. The school's business partner, the local owner of five McDonald's restaurants, sponsors a breakfast at which all A Honor (straight-A students) and A/B Honor (all A's and B's, no C's allowed) students are recognized at the end of every six-week period. [The school year is comprised of six, six-week periods.] "Tables are set up with gold tablecloths for A Honor students and silver tablecloths for A/B Honor students," explained principal Marguerite Mcneely. "In addition, every six weeks we recognize our GATE (Greater Achievement Through Education) students for bringing up one grade and not going down in any with a certificate and a school pen."

Rave Reading Reviews

A unique reading program at Cedar Heights Junior High in Port Orchard, Washington, brings special recognition to students. Principal Pat Green told Education World how students work throughout the year on Rave Reading Reviews -- brief book reviews in which students write about the books they have read and why they liked them.

Rave Reading Reviews actually grew out of a special staff-driven project, Green explained. "Members of the staff chose books they remembered reading in junior high and wrote reviews," she said. "We posted their pictures next to their reviews in the main hallway for a couple of weeks. Then, in order to tease students to read their teachers' reviews, we asked kids to answer questions about who said what about which book."

"Then we moved on to encouraging students to write their own reviews of their own novel reading," added Green. "Each month, we recognize the best review. The winners are decided by the teacher leadership committee that has as its focus our school's reading improvement goals." Students' pictures are posted alongside their reviews. Prizes also are awarded each month to students who correctly answer the most questions on a weekly Rave Reading Review quiz. Posting the student reviews and the quiz are just two more ways in which the staff encourages students to read."
But that isn't the end; the academic honors continue to get more special. At the end of each semester, students on the A and A/B Honor Rolls earn lapel pins for their jackets. At the end of the year, any student with a 3.5 grade average for the year receives a medal and all A/B Honor Roll students are presented a certificate. "The medal -- which is designed with our school's crest on it -- is really nice," added McNeely.

Many schools present regular honors to students who excel in their special reading programs. At Doctors Inlet Elementary in Middleburg, Florida, "we draw names to recognize students who had the highest score in our Reading Counts program," said principal Larry Davis. "The winners get books and other prizes. Then, each month, we celebrate with a party for all students who have read a total of 25 books and, at the end of the year, we give a big prize to the overall school winner."

At Weatherly Elementary in Huntsville, Alabama, students who achieve their goals in the school's Accelerated Reader (AR) program earn membership in the Weatherly Readers' Hall of Fame. "Each student's picture is taken and placed in a showcase in the lobby," said principal Teri Stokes. "It remains there for the grading period." Students and their teachers set individual program goals at the start of every nine-week grading period. Each grade level also has special incentives for classes at that grade; those incentives include s'mores parties and bookstore gift certificates.

At Holbrook Elementary in Houston, "students earn 'dog tags' for points earned as part of the AR program," explained principal Deborah Harbin. "The students wear their tags on a chain every Tuesday. At certain levels, students also earn special awards such as T-shirts (100 points), being able to take the principal's chair and sit in it all day in their classroom (150 points), and the posting of their name on the marquee outside the school (200 points)."

At Hoover High School in North Canton, Ohio, "we are very lucky to have a group of parents who lead our Academic Booster Club," said principal Tony Pallija. "They have regular meetings and fund raisers to help them recognize our students who achieve academic success each quarter. They give out free passes to movies, coupons for pizzas, and tickets for Cleveland Cavalier games."

"But," noted Pallija, "perhaps the best perk of all for the students is the special parking close to the front door that the Booster Club arranges for young drivers who get good grades and have a good attitude and good attendance."

"This club does great things to support so many of the top students in our school," added Pallija. "I can't imagine doing my job without them."

Click a link below to read more of this article:
Weekly Celebrations Spotlight Students
Others Emphasize Monthly Recognitions
Quarterly Celebrations Too!
More Special Celebrations

Thanks a Million!

To the School Leaders Who Contributed to This Article
  • Laurance E. Anderson, principal, Gunther School, North Bellmore, New York
  • Diana L. Atkins, principal, Marist Academy-Waterford, Waterford, Michigan
  • Beth Burt, principal, Scott Johnson Elementary School, Huntsville, Texas
  • Jim Clark, principal, T.R. Simmons Elementary School , Jasper, Alabama
  • Larry Davis, principal, Doctors Inlet Elementary School, Middleburg, Florida
  • Cathy Finn-Pike, principal, Rennie's River Elementary School, St. John's, Newfoundland (Canada)
  • Dr. Patricia Green, principal, Cedar Heights Junior High School, Port Orchard, Washington
  • Deborah Harbin, principal, Holbrook Elementary School, Houston, Texas
  • Bonita Henderson, assistant principal, Central Fairmount School, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Marguerite McNeely, principal, Alexandria Magnet Middle School for Math and Science, Alexandria, Louisiana
  • Belinda L. Miller, assistant principal, George S. Mickelson Middle School, Brookings, South Dakota
  • Tony Pallija, principal, North Canton Hoover High School, North Canton, Ohio
  • Betty Peltier, principal, Southdown Elementary School, Houma, Louisiana
  • Dr. Les Potter, principal, Silver Sands Middle School, Port Orange, Florida
  • Dr. Deborah P'Pool, principal, Cumberland Road Elementary School, Fishers, Indiana
  • Phil Shaman, principal, Neepawa Area Collegiate Institute, Neepawa, Manitoba (Canada)
  • Teri Stokes, principal, Weatherly Heights Elementary, Huntsville, Alabama
  • Chad Christopher Sutton, assistant principal, Golden Oaks Educational Center (alternative school), Kansas City, Missouri