Faculty VIP.

Good morning, Parents.

Tomorrow night after school, we will be having our Faculty VIP celebration. While this program has been around for a long time, I am guessing many parents have never heard of it. Therefore, I thought I would share some things about the Faculty VIP program and what motivated us to develop it nearly a decade ago.

For a long time we felt that there was a large group of students in our school that went unrecognized even though they regularly display characteristics that we value highly. While our highest-ranking students may be sufficiently recognized for their achievements, we simply did not have a program in place to formally reinforce the qualities of scores of other students who certainly deserve recognition. The Faculty VIP program has been put in place to recognize students who have genuinely impressed a teacher through your day to day approach in their classroom. The Faculty VIP program places the primary focus for selection on each student’s approach to the class while many of our other recognition programs place a primary focus on the student’s achievement. We feel that by beginning a program with a slightly different focus, we would be able to recognize many very deserving students who may have gone unrecognized in the past.

To select students for this program, we asked each teacher to identify the student who they appreciate for their improvement, work ethic, determination, willingness to take on challenges, day-to-day approach in their class, or other personal qualities. Most of our teachers have around 150 students; therefore, it is a considerable honor to be selected. Each year I see how much time and thought the teachers put into making their selections because who they select is very important to them.

We hold a Faculty VIP celebration two times per year. The first semester meeting is in January, and the second semester celebration is in May. At the meeting we have each student sit with the teacher who selected them, and when it is their turn, each pair stands and the teachers introduce the student they selected to the group and explains why they are recognizing the student. Many times the teachers share qualities the student possesses that impress them and tell stories to illustrate what they appreciate in that student. Most teachers also give the student a personal card or note with a short message inside so the students have a lasting memory of being recognized.

I always find the Faculty VIP celebration very energizing. It is really nice to recognize students for things we value so highly in them. Hearing all of the messages is also a great reminder of the personal qualities we value in students, and it also reminds us of the qualities we hope to play some role in developing in students as well. The theme of the Faculty VIP celebration certainly connects quite strongly with last week’s blast/blog as well on the topic of growth mindset. The qualities of hard work, determination, grit, willingness to take on challenges, and the self-discipline to push themselves to learn and grow are clearly topics that are front and center in this celebration.

Congratulations to the students who were selected this semester.