The student council at EDSS hosts an annual breakfast reception for all honour roll students. This event is held just after the first report card of first semester. It is an attempt to congratulate our academic students. A small gift is given to each member of the Honour Roll and a guest speaker entertains them.
The present student leaders wanted to upgrade the breakfast from its present budget of about $1.00 per student to about $3.00 per student. This meant a full breakfast and a “good” speaker. (previous speakers were of the “free” variety)
Problem: where to get the money.
Solution: ask the banks in town, because that’s where the money is!
1. Break the target donation of $1,000 into bits. There are 4 banks in town, so the request is a manageable $250 each.
2. Already have a catchy name: The Bankers’ Breakfast
3. Meet with the managers and present the fundraising letter. They were informed that 352 students would be attending and that these were the future “customers” of their bank.
4. Inform the local media (two papers) with a media release.
After the initial meetings, three banks indicated an interest and one bank politely declined. (They have budgets for this type of event, and we did approach them on a short timeline) After reapproaching the manager at the TD Canada Trust (who had two active daughters in the school), the three banks came on line and the fourth bank was informed that they were the only one not participating. They decided to join in the fun.
Invitations sent to the 352 students with the bank support listed on the invite. Managers were invited to the breakfast along with the local media.
Thank-you notes were sent to the banks after the event with a copy of the picture taken by the local media.
Brent Dickson from Centennial High School in Calgary uses candid shots of his students to highlight important quotes or character traits. The candid shots are incorporated into professional looking posters that can be put into classrooms or hallways. Highlighting students is always good and combining it with memorable quotes is a double winner.
Teacher recognition gifts are a great way for your council to thank the staff for their hard work. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to get the result you want.
We gave our teachers a Lipton Cup o’ Soup in their mailboxes with a note that said we had “Souper Teachers!” It was a neat thank you that the teachers could put in their desk for that day when they are running late or forgot their lunch.
One of the hardest things to do is to convince your activity group that they have done a good job of running many events. You seem to need a laundry list of activities in the middle of their year to convince them that they have made an impact on the school. Visitors to the school may see posters for events that are happening right now, but they won’t know about the great theme day you ran last month.
At KCI, Pierre Sandor picked a well-travelled hallway and hung 62 feet of clothesline with support hooks every six feet, high up along the ceiling. Every time his leadership group completes an event, the organizers of that event use a clothespin to hang a poster they used, a small prop, or a picture to recall the event and its date. By the year’s end, the line is crowded with weird and wacky stuff that leads to pride of accomplishment in the leaders. At a glance, visitors see evidence of a vibrant, fun school full of activity. Students can’t complain that “nothing every happens here” because the year’s history is right in front of them.
As they walk by the activity clothesline, students who always participate fall into “remember when” stories. Students who never participate walk past a daily reminder that they are missing out on something. Future events can be hung at a distance down the line with a simple “coming soon” message or the specific date such as a prom held in June.
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
Breakfast of Champions
Send nomination forms to all of the teachers and staff in your school and have them nominate a student whom they feel does something great. This does not have to be the best academic student in the class. You can nominate students for things like coming to class more consistently. At the small morning breakfast, each staff member talks a little bit about the student they have nominated. Great feelings are generated from this repeat event.
New Student Breakfast
Most schools attempt to recognize new students at the beginning of the school year, but with semesters there is a second entry point to school. At the beginning of second semester, invite new students and parents to a welcome breakfast. They can meet administration, student council students, and other new families. This helps to ease their transition into a new school during the middle of the year.