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Celebrating Students: Schools Recognize Achievement in Many Ways


Following are some additional ways in which Education World's "Principal Files" Principals celebrate students in their schools.

At Southdown Elementary School in Houma, Louisiana, "students who, in the opinions of their teachers, do their best on our statewide testing receive free admission to a school dance complete with snacks and a DJ," said principal Betty Peltier.

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Students in Your School?

What special ways -- events, awards, or celebrations -- do you have in your school to celebrate the accomplishments of students? Those recognitions might be daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly...

Please share your thoughts on a special message board. By sharing, your principal colleagues who visit the message board will learn from your experiences -- and you will learn from theirs.

Students who perform at the highest level on state tests also are given special recognition at Doctors Inlet Elementary in Middleburg, Florida. Those students are treated to dinner at a local Carrabbas restaurant, said principal Larry Davis. "The waiters are a big hit with the students, as it is so different from a school cafeteria," he said. "And students who have shown the biggest gains on the tests are transported to the restaurant in a limousine!"

At T.R. Simmons Elementary in Jasper, Alabama, "our lunchroom staff gives a 'Class of the Week' award for lunchroom manners and behavior," said principal Jim Clark. "They give special prizes to students in the class. The winner is announced at lunchtime each Friday."

"We celebrate students' birthdays too," added Clark. Students get a ribbon on their birthday, plus their name is mentioned on the live morning broadcast on the school's TV station, WTRS (an acronym for T.R. Simmons). A fifth-grade student makes the birthday announcements.

Character education also is encouraged at Simmons. A daily lesson is broadcast on WTRS, and the counselor follows up those lessons with a weekly lesson during class. The counselor also gives awards to students who have demonstrated traits of excellent character.

Each quarter, Jim Clark also hands out the Principal's Award, "I choose two students who have displayed leadership skills, excellent character traits, citizenship, manners, and good behavior," Clark told Education World. "Each of those students receives a special certificate from me."

At Silver Sands Middle School in Port Orange, Florida, a bully-proofing initiative, which aims to stop bullying school-wide, has spawned special recognitions for students who do positive things toward others. "When those kinds of behaviors are spotted by a teacher, the student is given a paper slip," explained principal Les Potter. "At the end of each month, students with the most slips for that month get prizes, pizza, and other goodies."

Principal Phil Shaman reports that a special "Circle of Friends" group at Neepawa (Manitoba) Area Collegiate Institute receives special recognition each year. This group of students works with our class of mentally challenged students, said Shaman. "The Circle students help students in that special class to manage our school's recycling program," he explained. "All monies earned through that recycling program support special events for the special students as well as a year-end trip for the class and the Circle of Friends students. The Circle students also earn a special year-end lunch that is given on their behalf."

At Weatherly Elementary in Huntsville, Alabama, principal Teri Stokes looks for opportunities to recognize entire classes for their special contributions. Last fall, for example, a class raised $1,000 to help animals left homeless by fires in California. "Keep in mind that we are in Alabama," Stokes noted. Another special recognition was given to the class that collected the most aluminum for recycling.

The end of the school year is made very special for graduating sixth graders at Gunther School in North Bellmore, New York. The day before graduation, the annual awards ceremony is held. "All pupils are recognized for their personal accomplishments at that ceremony," principal Larry Anderson told Education World. "We invite their parents and guardians as well as the schools third, fourth, and fifth graders. After the ceremony the students, families, and staff go out for a special farewell luncheon at a local restaurant."

"I've been coordinating this program for 20 years," said Anderson. "The local school district funds many awards and prizes, and local civic organizations generously support us with some very nice prizes."

"The emphasis is on recognizing each child for his or her unique progress, growth, successes, and accomplishments," Anderson added.

Click a link below to read more of this article:
Weekly Celebrations Spotlight Students
Others Emphasize Monthly Recognitions
Quarterly Celebrations Too!
Honoring Academic Accomplishments All Year Long

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