Just recently, I had a chat with my eldest daughter about the importance and value of celebrating the triumphs and successes of our friends and family. As site leaders, it is vital to remember the importance of celebrating. Maybe it is a student who has been struggling with a concept who finally understood it. Perhaps it is a teacher on your campus, who after months of resisting, took on a new instructional practice and began to see student growth and/or excitement. Maybe it is a staff member who tried a new technology to bring into their classroom or the office.
Whatever it is, celebrate it! It can be a hug, a high-five, a phone call home, a personal note in their mailbox, or even taking time in a staff meeting to recognize and give kudos to a staff member. Create a classified and certificated staff member of the month and solicit nominations each month through a Google form. Then print out the nominations and put a copy in each nominee’s box. For students, have students of the month in your classroom or your school. Write a little blurb about the student and then mail a copy home to the child’s parent…it may the first time that parent has heard anything positive about their child. The point is, celebration is fun! Do it often and be genuine…it not only makes someone else’s day; it will make yours as well! (Written by Todd Schmidt)
If you had the opportunity to take your school culture to the doctor, what would be the diagnosis? Would there be a clean bill of health or would you walk out with multiple prescriptions to treat the ailments? One of those prescriptions may read, ‘celebrations 2x per day’ until further notice. Celebrating is a cornerstone of any healthy school in the classroom, hallways, meetings, etc. The positivity creates a spark that lights the fire of intrinsic motivation. It fuels our drive to strive to be a little better than we were yesterday.
A celebration can turn around a day, which could potentially impact others synergistically, creating an exponential wave of encouragement. Make it a regular part of your day with students. Start the day celebrating successes even if it seems miniscule, but be sure to celebrate efforts not just performance. Carol Dweck found that celebrating efforts instead of performance has a significant impact on developing a growth mindset in people. It creates the power of yet (it’s not that we can’t do it, we just haven’t gotten there yet)! I start every meeting at my school with staff sharing celebrations either personal or professional. This could be anything from a positive student story to an instructional strategy that was very engaging. Celebrations help focus our lenses and keep our sights on continuing great work, the right work, rather than always needing to improve. That in turn moves the gears toward improvement. Celebrations also help people feel appreciated, which has been found to be a necessary ingredient for productivity. How might 5 minutes of celebrations positively impact the people you work with, students you serve, and culture you’re a part of? My prescription for you is try some celebrations each day and watch your culture be rejuvenated toward better health. (Written by Michael Bostwick)