Last year, Allendale social worker Bill Patteuw and school psychologist Erin Werkman had a brainstorm that would send ripples throughout the Evergreen and Springview buildings beyond what they had hoped or imagined.
Their vision? To create a motto of sorts–a mission statement– that all kids could learn and that would help to guide positive behavior at school. It had to be easy to remember yet something that embodied the type of student and citizen APS strives to help grow. What they came up with is now termed the three R’s: Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to Learn.
What they needed next was a student group to model the new “mission statement” and enlisting their help with the rest of the student body.
So last February a group of then-third graders was selected by teachers as the “Three R’s Superstars,” a group of eight kids who made it their mission to lead by example among their peers.
One part of their legacy is a collection of recorded videos that demonstrate appropriate actions in the hallways, on the playground, and on the bus. Those videos are still used as teaching tools for this years’ student body, housed on a hard drive for staff to access at any time.
This year’s set of exemplary young people (pictured here) were again selected by their teachers and have worked hard to make a difference at school. They are Ryan Blackburn, Kiersten Holleman, Lauren Butterfield, Lorraine Martin, Morgan Dyke, Sabastian Wells, Braydon Vissers, and Ben Bakran.
Aside from encouraging their classmates, these superstars help with morning announcements and meet once a month during their lunch recess with advisors to discuss ways that they can help to improve their school and to share concerns or problem areas that could be smoothed out with positive behavior modeling.
Another role of the group is to discuss ideas for lunch time raffles based on students who have been “ticketed” in the hallways. “Falcon Tickets” recognize kids who are caught being respectful, responsible, and ready to learn.
Mr. Patteuw noted that instituting the three R’s has helped “…catch those kids who would’ve otherwise fallen through the cracks. Those kids who perhaps once were sitting on the fence with behavior choices now want to be caught doing good.”
This group of students realizes that they have a special role to play and already feel that they have learned a lot in that role. When asked, here are some of their thoughts:
“I like that we get to discuss what we really need to work on.” (Lorraine)
“I like that we get to be leaders at school.” (Ben)
“If somebody gets hurt or needs help, the three R’s remind me to be a good friend; to treat others the way I want to be treated.” (Ryan)
“It’s important to be nice to others. For example, if they fall, help them up!” (Sebastian)
At the end of our time together I asked these small leaders if any of them would consider running for President one day.
The smiles stretched large and white, and the hands began to raise.
Four of them.
Respectful? Responsible? Ready to Learn?
Sounds like a winning combination to me!