Very close to two years ago I wrote a post and one of the main topics was school awards ceremonies. That spurred some conversation with kids in my classes and with kids in my advisory. You see, our student advisory groups, each led by an adult staff member, are the ones mostly responsible for putting on our monthly assemblies. The topic of each assembly was to celebrate a theme by giving out monthly awards and choosing two students of the month from each grade level. Every month. Yeah.
The discussion with my advisory led to another blog post detailing what we were considering as a change for our school a little over a year later (and over a year ago). My advisory had signed up to put together and host the end of March Awards Assembly and based on some data we collected after our discussion we decided to have an assembly without awards.
Needless to say it started some controversy. Kids were asking what was up. Where did the awards go? Why didn’t we choose students of the month? What was I to do? Teachers were quite inquisitive too. Why is this happening? Who is changing things? Will we have to do our assemblies differently?
We, as a middle school staff, discussed our reasons for giving students awards and we discussed those reasons in light of current research. We met a few times on the issue and I am happy to report that so far this year we have had our Sept/Oct assembly, Nov assembly, and our Dec assembly all without any awards or students of the month! As a matter of fact that image I used for this post is how our Student of the Month bulletin board, situated right outside our office, near the band, choir and auditorium area, looks now. Last year at this time there were photos of individual kids who were “chosen/selected” as students of the month. This year there are photos of kids, well, being kids!
I am really enjoying that bulletin board display. 🙂