Greetings from Moran!
If you have been in our building recently, you may have noticed our main hallway, which is adorned with displays from each team, recognizing student contributions to their team and to our school. If you were with us last year, you may remember Student of the Month or our end of the year award ceremony by grade. Last year 2 students of the month were selected for their academic achievement each month and 5 students per year were selected per content area to be honored at an end of year awards ceremony. While those were nice tributes, discussions with students, staff, and parents reflected that our students were contributing much more than academic prowess. We wanted our student recognition to honor the breath of those accomplishments.
To be more specific, when I talked with students informally in the café they said things like, “It seems like the same kids get recognized over and over again.” and “It is kind of humiliating to sit in an awards ceremony and know your name isn’t going to get called.” When we spoke with parents at PTAC, parents said things like, “My kid’s job is to be a student and get good grades. I don’t want my kid recognized for good grades, I want to know they are a good person.” Finally, when we spoke with teachers during a faculty meeting and monthly admin meetings, many teams felt too constrained by only selecting 2 students per month. One teacher actually came to me in tears after last year’s award ceremony and said, “I just kept looking out into the audience and seeing so many great kids and I am just heartbroken that I could only give awards to 5 kids.”
In short, after speaking with all of our stakeholders we decided to try a different approach to student recognition this year at Moran. Knowing that our district has been trying to make the shift in philosophy to a growth mindset for the last 2 years, as well as moving toward more of a proficiency based model relative to academic accomplishments and habits of work, we have taken the following approach this year:
– All teams nominate a minimum of 2 students to recognize each month. Nearly all of our teams have chosen to exceed this number. Our main hallway contains a display recognizing why those students are being recognized. If you have an opportunity to stop in you will see that each team’s personality is reflected in what they are honoring in students and what values they purport as a team.
– All teams are communicating with the individual families of students being recognized
– We have reached out to a different local business every year for the last 3 years to award a gift certificate to that establishment for students being recognized. This year’s sponsor is Elizabeth’s Bakery. Previous sponsors have included Alyssa’s Bakery and Mr. D’s & GoGo Froyo.
– Students that are recognized are announced via our MVP News Program. This year, because many teams have chosen to recognize well beyond the 2 student minimum, the gift certificates are being handed out as a raffle and winners are announced each month on MVP News.
– Many of our teams hold monthly team meetings in the Library Media Center to announce the students being recognized that month and to share their contributions.
Though we have made a move to recognize student contributions beyond academic excellence, academics are indeed, our bread and butter. Because of this, our approach to recognition for students making honor roll is as follows:
- The names of students making the honor roll are posted in our cafeteria
- Certificates are mailed home and student names are sent to the Record Journal
- At the end of the year we have an ice cream truck for students earning the honor roll distinction for 2 quarters or more
The response from teams, students, and parents has been positive overall. As always, we invite you to be in touch to share your thoughts and opinion. We care deeply for the students, staff, and community of Moran and welcome your constructive feedback as you are comfortable sharing.