Crescent Elk Middle School celebrated good attendance and a successful first month of school by hosting a schoolwide block party last Friday.
“We’re just all fired up because the kids have been stellar in being safe and responsible,” said Paige Swan, Crescent Elk’s principal.
Complete with 100 Little Caesar’s pizzas and even more ice cream, the afternoon played out like an extended recess, only with a little louder music. From 1-2:45 p.m., children skipped the classroom for an afternoon of dancing, playing basketball or swinging on the playground, while teachers supervised.
This extra little holiday can be an annual event - with one caveat. It happens only if the teachers see stellar attendance and behavior on the part of their students, and want to reward them in a big way.
“If the kids earn it, we do it,” Swan said. “This is our time to show the kids we’re appreciative of their choices. Thank the student body, and thank yourself, because you guys earned [the celebration].”
Just how good has their attendance been? Sixth-grade teacher Jackie Heuberger is in her first year at Crescent Elk and said more than 75% of the children in her classroom have a 100% attendance record. In fact, she said, only two or three of the students really are consistently absent or tardy.
“I was really shocked about that, because at my previous experience, I never had kids that had 100% attendance,” Heuberger said.
Sure, the school’s staff could simply have handed out gold stars, but Swan said he believes in the importance of celebrating a student’s good behavior and recognizing when things are going well.
“Oftentimes, we don't do a good enough job of bombarding our kids with positive messages, and this is one of our opportunities to really just pat everyone on the back,” he said.