- Sponsorship -

Doing Your Best Earns Recognition

Honor Makes Them Work Even Harder, They Say


There’s a growing group of students at Mill Creek Middle School wearing green and yellow T-shirts with the words “Got PRIDE” on them.

The sixth-through-eighth-graders received the shirts from staff in recognition of doing their personal best. PRIDE, which stands for Personal Responsibility in Daily Effort, is a school-wide effort started in September to motivate students in academics and to encourage them to be a team player, work hard and be respectful.

“I think it’s really making people feel like they achieved something,” said eighth-grader Haley Palmquist, who received a shirt for class participation and reaching out to new students. “It signifies a lot more than a T-shirt. It signifies that you are trying really hard and doing your best.”

The idea for the program came from the staff’s School Improvement Team.

“The motivation was that, if you look at schools that have made turnarounds when everything is against them and yet they shine, it’s because there’s a spirit of, ‘I can do it,’” said Principal Gus Harju. “It’s developing that mindset that we want kids to strive for.”

Everyone Can Earn It

Teachers recommend students for Got PRIDE. Of 465 students school-wide, 95 had been awarded T-shirts as of mid-March.

“You don’t have to be an all A student, we just want you to try your hardest every single hour, every day, every week, every month,” Harju said, noting that it’s not just the academic superstars who stand out. It’s inclusive of all students. “Just show us you’re trying your hardest,” he said.

Sixth-grader Julia McKay received a shirt for doing her best on homework, participating in class and being involved and engaged.

“PRIDE makes kids want to try harder. It feels like there’s an expectation,” she said.

Eighth-grader Tony Racalla said he sees more students focused on schoolwork. He received a shirt for working hard in language arts class.

“I see a lot of people trying to get good grades and do their best,” he said.

Eighth-grade language arts teacher Mike Swift said he loves having a way to recognize students. “What I like about PRIDE is it gives me an opportunity to document when kids are doing the right things in class for the right reasons. I like to be able to catch that, because a lot of my time is spent documenting when kids could be making improvements.”

Got PRIDE is a lead-in for the “Leader in Me” initiative, to be launched next fall at Mill Creek, and already in place at the district’s Pine Island and Stoney Creek elementary schools. “Leader in Me” is a whole-school transformation model developed by Steven Covey, and based on seven habits of leadership.

CONNECT

Leader In Me

- Sponsorship -
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is associate managing editor and reporter, covering Byron Center, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grand Rapids Community College. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013 and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio or email Erin.

LATEST ARTICLES

Young constitutional scholars view current events, politics through historical lens

East Grand Rapids and East Kentwood high school We the People team members have qualified for the national competition, becoming well versed in civics and critical thinking along the way...

Rain gutter regatta showcases buoyancy, engineering skills

An annual boat race has become a highlight of sixth-grade science class. At stake: bragging rights and 'a goofy trophy'...

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

The sky’s the limit (or is it?) for this accomplished model builder

Creative, innovative, imaginative … Many of today’s students are all that and more in a vast variety of interest areas. This series features students with exceptional and unusual gifts...

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

The Hood family: a school & community leadership dynasty

Five generations have lived within a five- to six-mile radius dating back to a government work program in the 1930s...

New high school teachers rise to challenges of pandemic year

Four new high-school teachers have so far led in-person, hybrid and virtual classes, having accepted the challenges of teaching in the midst of a pandemic...

No obstacle too challenging for young problem-solvers

Problem solving, strategic thinking and collaboration are on tap for young thinkers in a program at Pine Island Elementary School...
- Sponsorship -

HOW'S SCHOOL TODAY?

Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...

RADEMACHER & FRIENDS

Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -

MEDIA PARTNERS

Maranda Where You LiveWGVU

SUSTAINING SPONSORS