Title of Best Practice: We Are Annapolis Elementary: A School
Community At Hope (Kids at Hope & PBIS)
Primary Principles Emphasized:4, 5, 7, &
Annapolis Elementary strives to be a school community that believes that
all children are capable of success, no exceptions. We do this by expressing
our beliefs in our students, connecting them with meaningful relationships
with adults, and helping them to articulate their goals and dreams for
the future. We foster positive relationships with all adults, or Treasure
Hunters, in the building to support our positive school culture. Students
are explicitly taught ways to help their school community and to strive
to be their best each day as Kids at Hope.
Description of Principles:
Principle 4 - Creates a caring school community.
As a community, we try to foster good citizenship and kindness to others.
Some school-wide efforts to help others include: Donating food for the
Harvest for the Hungry Food Drive, performing and making cards for seniors
and at our local senior centers over the holidays, collecting donations
during our Mitten Tree warm clothing drive, raising money for Pennies
for Patients, supporting families with a Backpack Buddies weekend food
program (run by our own school and local community), and running a summer
reading book drive to provide reading materials to our own students who
don’t have any in the home. Our older students are paired with younger
students as reading buddies to develop peer mentor relationships and further
connect our students as learners and leaders.
This year, we have created new opportunities to bring
our school together as a caring community. Every other month, students
are able to use their “respect tickets” to participate in
a Gator Celebration with a partner class from a different grade level.
They collaborate with other students to celebrate good choices. On the
alternate months, there is a school-wide Gator Celebration that all students
participate in to build community and encourage good choices.
Principle 5 - Provides students with opportunities
for moral action.
One of the unique programs at Annapolis Elementary is
the National Elementary Honor Society. To qualify, 4th and 5th grade students
need to demonstrate excellence in academics, leadership, community service,
and responsibility. Once inducted, the students are given the opportunity
to come up with ways to help our school and/or local community. As student
leaders, they are charged with taking the initiative to do something good
for others. They helped to raise money for Pennies for Patients (benefiting
children with cancer), created a garden on our school property to beautify
the school, donated books for children to read over the summer, and many
other initiatives over the past several years.
Principle 7 - Strives to foster students’
Each morning, the students say the Kids at Hope Pledge:
I am a Kid at Hope, I am talented, smart, and capable of success. I will
respect myself, others, learning, and property. I have dreams for the
future and I will climb to reach those goals and dreams every day. All
kids are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS!
We teach students how positive self-talk can help them
overcome challenges and persevere. These daily affirmations help as a
reminder to students that they can do whatever they set their mind to
and to believe in themselves. In addition to our daily Kids at Hope pledge,
the school counselor also teaches weekly lessons that often teach coping
skills to help students stay motivated when work gets tough.
For students who are self-motivated and demonstrate strong
character, we give monthly Awesome Alligator awards. Students learn about
the character trait during their weekly lessons with the school counselor
and are celebrated on the morning announcements with a special certificate
and Kids at Hope lapel pin. All staff members are encouraged to nominate
a student each month for these awards. The goal is to recognize as many
strengths in our students throughout the school year as possible. These
awards are given in the following order:
Principle 8: Engages the school staff as a learning
and moral community that shares responsibility for character education
and attempts to adhere to the same core values that guide the education
Our entire staff participates as members of our PBIS committee.
This new practice has engaged the staff in the proactive approach to decrease
discipline referrals and increase student success. Teachers are able to
give their input, which increases their buy-in with new initiatives. In
order to model positive behaviors and leadership that we are encouraging
in our students, the staff gives each other “Gator Shout Outs”
to recognize the strengths of the adults in the building.
In addition to modeling making good moral choices, our
entire staff articulates the belief that all children are capable of success,
no exceptions, through our Kids at Hope Report Card Day. Each staff member
participates in writing Kids at Hope Report Cards for each student which
only celebrates their talents and strengths and potential uses for those
talents in the future. Students then use that report card as a building
block to inspire and encourage them to develop their own goals and dreams
for the future and the steps to achieve them.
Another effort that the entire staff makes to recognize
good character is our Positive Praise Referrals. They are an intentional
way to recognize students making good choices to help encourage our school
community in a positive way. Students receive a “golden ticket”
worth 10 respect tickets when they receive a Positive Praise Referral
and are recognized by the principal on the announcements. Their Positive
Praise Referral is also hung on display for a month for the school community
to see and celebrate!
The Maryland Center for Character
Educationat Stevenson University
School of Education, 1525 Greenspring Valley Road, Stevenson, MD 21153