Our Student Council endeavors to promote respect and raise school spirit. To accomplish this goal, The EDSS Student Council has developed a new way of recognizing EDSS students who improve their school community. With the gracious support of Administration, Student Council hosts “Breakfast with the Principal.”
Once a week, a small group of students meets our principal or a Vice-Principal for breakfast during period A. Breakfast with the Principal gives positive and spirited students a chance to network with their peers, and it provides an opportunity for Administration to meet the students who make EDSS a positive place to learn and grow.
Student Council wants to recognize a diverse group of students through this initiative. Candidates for this honour may excel at academics, sport or music; they may be active in clubs and activities, volunteer work, or community service. Student Council wishes to recognize students who do not receive recognition for these traditional criteria. Students who demonstrate respect, hard work, and positive attitude are also candidates, as are students who accomplish significant personal achievements, such as raising their average from 50% to 60%, or developing better work habits. Staff are asked to include nominations for the special students who contribute to the school through their positive attitude, willingness to help others, good humour and bright smiles.
All staff are asked to nominate two or three students whom they feel should receive this honour.
Student Council tries to recognize as many students as possible.
The dollar stores are indispensable allies in the hunt for teacher appreciation ideas. We buy our staff two gifts a year that we try to keep in the $5 or under range. Coffee mugs, plastic apples, portfolios, pens have been our recent purchases and we do one at either the start of school or at the winter break and the other at Teacher Appreciation week in May. Here’s a list of some things we have done but you can come up with your own just as easily:
- A small mirror with the note, “You are looking at a very special person.”
- A pencil with the note, “Thank you for helping us write our future.”
- Little Nestle Crunch Bars with the note, “Thanks for your help at crunch time.”
- Small bags of miniature marshmallows with the note, “Because there are times when we just get tired.”
- Plastic glove popcorn hands with the note, “Thanks for lending a hand on…” Works with hands cut out of construction paper as well.
- Pill bottles from a pharmacy filled with M & M candies with labels made by our council with each color M & M having a different remedy such as: red=relaxation, blue=fun.
- A coupon for a free Student Council car wash done right after school and we use our students good at schmoozing to talk to the teachers while their car is being washed.
- Our teacher day ends 20 minutes after students are dismissed. So on snowy days, we get ten or twelve students who invade the teacher parking lot and brush off their snow and leave a note, “You have been brushed off by a member of Student Council.”
- In October we got the little candies that look like pumpkins and attached the note, “Thank you for helping us harvest our potential.”
- We have also used ghost suckers made out of Tootsie Pops and Kleenex, with the note, “Don’t have a ghost of a chance without you.”
- Use a longish narrow bead and a piece of pipe cleaner to fashion a brush that resembles a little toilet brush (pipe cleaner shaped into a circle and inserted into the bead which serves as a handle) with the note, “Belly button brush to help you relax when you are stressed.”
- Do this on the teacher workday before the start of school, at semester break or at the end of school. Have students report to the Student Activities Room to help teachers rearrange, carry, clean, put up bulletin boards, etc. Teachers can call or visit Student Activities to get student assistance with their needs.
- Small erasers that look like light bulbs with the note, “Thanks for helping us turn on our light.”
- Mars chocolate bars with the note, “You are out of this world!”
Our program also provides a monthly newsletter to staff, keeping them updated on our activities in the Congress Chronicle which allows us to thank chaperones, etc., after events. We do a monthly staff appreciation project as well that is smaller and cheaper and this is where we utilize our creative people, as well as candy bars and trinkets purchased at the dollar store.
From the hall of ideas on Michigan State Student Council site
Over the years, our school has held various end-of-year Student Activity awards assemblies; although many of these events have been “very nice”, they were not necessarily entirely successful at capturing the essence of the spirit of our school. As well, students who did not receive awards often left feeling that the assembly was “only for the good kids” and even a “waste of time”.
Three years ago, with these points in mind, members of our Student Council created a new end-of-year Student Activity Awards Assembly, that has since become known as – The Golden Bagels.
Here are a few of the highlights of our last two Golden Bagels:
- The assembly begins with heavy fog from our tech committee, flashing lights, cool music, confetti, and of course, the raising of the Golden Bagel to the rafters of our school gym (the bagel is a huge inflated tube – painted to look like yummy whole wheat with several poppy seeds)
- The opening also includes a video made by one of our creative media students (topics include “the evolution of the bagel” or “it ain’t easy being a bagel”)
- Student Council –as award presenters – wear Golden Bagel aprons and chef hats
- Every Student who receives an award goes to the podium and collects the following items: a nice plaque, a Golden Bagel on a royal blue ribbon (a real bagel “shalaqued” with varnish to protect it for years to come!) and a fresh bagel from our “short-order cook” who tops the bagel with butter, jam, or cream cheese, and puts it in a nice little zip-loc for the winner to eat after the assembly (no eating in the gym of course)
- Awards at this event include best club, best committee, best new activity, most improved activity, student commitment awards for each grade, senior point awards for ongoing leadership, and a few teacher commitment awards
- The assembly also has Oscar style nomination slides – for many of the awards – fun visuals to keep the presentation moving
- We also have the “Not-so-Golden Bagel Awards” which are our humourous awards. Categories change from year to year, but include such favourites as Best Name (you probably have some good ones in your school), Best Hair, Most identical Twins, Worst Imitation of the Principal. Lots of on-screen visuals are crucial here!
- The last 10 minutes of the 40 minute (no longer!) assembly are devoted to a year-end slide show – which is simply a power-point presentation of as many faces and events from the year – accompanied by our choir singing the school song and/or a groovy playlist of hip tunes
- After the assembly, all students (not just the winners) are invited back to the lunchroom for free (we got a sponsor from the local bakery) bagels and cream cheese.
No assembly is perfect. But like any student activity, if we try to create an event that can appeal to a wide range of students and staff, and have a nice balance of quality, sentiment and creativity, we’re on the road to creating memories that will last a lifetime. Keep the faith.
For our staff appreciation activity we decided to take the party to the staff. Several students put together small loot bags with treats and goodies to be presented to each staff member. They included pencils, care bears with “you care about students” messages, etc. Then, each student was to find out three neat things about the staff member who they were an ambassador to. They found this information by talking to other staff or students. (You have to teach them how to be tricky and find out this information without giving away the activity.)
During class time the whole ambassador group put on party hats, carried a CD player with party music, blew party horns and went through the hallways dropping in on different staff members. We tried to meet them in their class or in an area like the office where other people could watch the “party”. The student who collected the three neat things would read these out to the group and present the staff member with his or her treats. This would be followed with lots of cheering and then we would move on.
I couldn’t believe how popular this became. Staff wanted to know when it would be their turn. It created a real buzz in the hallways and staff room. Many staff later commented to me how much fun it was and what a difference it made. Maybe it could be a hit in your school too!
From: Brent Dickson
Sherwood Community School,
Calgary Board of Education
We treat our teachers to Room Service after the exam period. They have a day at school without classes for a between semester turnaround, so student council provides a “breakfast in your room” treat for them. Prior to this day, we supply an order card for them in their mailboxes with the following note:
Report Cards are finished, Parent-Teacher Interviews are over, and it’s time for you to relax and enjoy some breakfast on us!
Where will you be during Period 1 on [date]:
Room Service Menu:
Please take a look at the following choices and pick out a few things for breakfast. We will be delivering this to you during the time above.
A listing of all the possible choices from drinks (hot and cold) to asides to entrées is provided. Student council members then deliver breakfast to their room.
from: Dorothy Karlson
Bow Valley High School
We have nomination forms in student activities, and we promote this at least once a week on the morning announcements to remind students. Basically, students can nominate any staff member they feel goes above and beyond the call of duty – whether it be an amazing lesson, a little extra slushy in the glass or countless hours spent after school with a team or club. Student nominators are asked to provide a short written explanation of why their nominee deserves the recognition, and the explanations are always a joy to read!
We try to recognize those staff members who aren’t always in the spotlight. Our spirit council members review the nominations once a month and often bring names forward to council to assist with the selection process. We then select one teacher, snap their photo and put it in a display case in the lounge area along with a short bio and some quotes from the nomination form. It’s a nice way to recognize staff AND motivate them to stay involved.
from: Greg Todd