Mt. Eccles introduces character awards program

Mt. Eccles Elementary School students attend the school’s first monthly character awards ceremony. (Oct. 7, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Mt. Eccles Elementary School students attend the school’s first monthly character awards ceremony. (Oct. 7, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Mt. Eccles Elementary School staff hope to encourage positive character development with a new system of student awards.

Beginning this semester, monthly character awards will be presented to students who exemplify a particular positive trait. Oct. 7, awards were given to students who had exemplified respectfulness throughout September. The school will focus on compassion and gratitude throughout October and November, respectively.

“As adults, we tend to use words like ‘respect’ like, ‘Be respectful! That was disrespectful!’ but without letting the kids know what that actually means,” Principal Gayle Groff said. “They’re going to have a lot better chance of being respectful if they understand what being respectful looks like.”

During the ceremony, Groff listed the respectful behaviors each recipient had demonstrated, such as attentiveness in class, helpfulness to other students and promptness in completing assignments. Teachers decided how many students to nominate.

The intention of the character awards is not to bribe students for good behavior, Groff said, but to help them be more mindful of the character traits which could contribute to success later in life.

“It’s good for us too, as a staff,” Groff said. “We’re not any different than the kids, in some ways. It’s good for us to have those reminders of what we value in our society. Unfortunately, I don’t think that television and social media, those things that children are being thrown into, exemplify many of those values.”