Lake Worth schools nom­i­nated for fam­ily in­volve­ment awards

South Florida Times - - METRO -

LAKE­WORTH, Fla. - Two Lake Worth schools have been nom­i­nated for their work with fam­i­lies and the community. Wood­lands Mid­dle School and Hid­den Oaks Ele­men­tary School are in the run­ning for a Fam­ily and Community In­volve­ment Award given by the Florida De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion. The pur­pose of the award is to pro­mote and rec­og­nize in­no­va­tive school prac­tices that in­crease fam­ily and community in­volve­ment.

Wood­lands Mid­dle was nom­i­nated be­cause of its Mus­tang Men­tor pro­gram, which was cre­ated to sup­port the aca­demic, so­cial, and be­hav­ioral suc­cess of stu­dents by pro­vid­ing one-on-one pos­i­tive in­ter­ac­tion with a Wood­lands Mid­dle staff mem­ber to cre­ate a car­ing, fam­i­ly­like en­vi­ron­ment.

The pro­gram op­er­ates dur­ing nor­mal school hours through­out the school year. Men­tors are vol­un­teers, fac­ulty, and staff. Stu­dents are rec­om­mended for the pro­gram, a men­tor is strate­gi­cally matched with a stu­dent, or a men­tor can choose a stu­dent to men­tor.

Most men­tor­ing ses­sions last from 30 to 45 min­utes, at least once per week be­fore or af­ter school. Ac­cord­ing to the school’s nom­i­na­tion sum­mary, “Stu­dents in the pro­gram have de­vel­oped pos­i­tive at­ti­tudes to­wards school, a higher level of self-con­fi­dence, and trust in their teach­ers. They have also demon­strated a greater level of re­spect for au­thor­ity and feel a sense of in­clu­sion, in­stead of be­ing known as the trou­ble­maker or out­sider.”

There are ap­prox­i­mately 50 mentee par­tic­i­pants in the pro­gram. Sup­port from the school's busi­ness part­ners and vol­un­teers al­low stu­dent mentees and men­tors to re­ceive to­kens of ac­knowl­edge­ment.

Once per quar­ter, par­tic­i­pants’ fam­i­lies are in­vited to the school to cel­e­brate the suc­cess of the stu­dents and their men­tors. The Mus­tang Men­tor pro­gram has proven to be suc­cess­ful and im­pact­ful. Not only have the men­tors and mentees been touched by its suc­cess, it has also had a trickle-down ef­fect to other stu­dents. “The at­ti­tude on cam­pus is chang­ing, and stu­dents now con­sider their school to be an invit­ing place with more em­pa­thy and less bul­ly­ing,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

Hid­den Oaks Ele­men­tary’s High Fly­ing Hawk awards pro­gram aims to cre­ate an in­ti­mate, fam­ily-like en­vi­ron­ment for stu­dents. Teach­ers are given cri­te­ria for pos­i­tive char­ac­ter traits at the be­gin­ning of the school year, and each month, all home­room teach­ers of stu­dents in kinder­garten through fifth grade are asked to nom­i­nate two stu­dents.

One stu­dent is nom­i­nated be­cause they ex­hibit a char­ac­ter trait such as re­spon­si­bil­ity or trust­wor­thi­ness. A sec­ond stu­dent is cho­sen for aca­demic achieve­ment in any sub­ject area, or a char­ac­ter trait. Both stu­dent win­ners from each class have their names dis­played out­side their class­rooms for the month. The stu­dent that was se­lected in the pos­i­tive trait cat­e­gory is then sub­mit­ted for the cov­eted Stu­dent of the Month award.

Busi­ness part­ners are in­vited to nom­i­nate one boy and one girl as Stu­dents of the Month. Ac­cord­ing to the school’s nom­i­na­tion state­ment, the process “cre­ates a greater bond and con­nec­tion be­tween lo­cal busi­nesses and the school, as they get an op­por­tu­nity to know stu­dents through the nom­i­na­tions.”

Win­ners re­ceive a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. The two school-wide win­ners then have their names dis­played on the mar­quee in front of the school and their pictures dis­played in the school lobby.

An awards cer­e­mony is held to­wards the end of each month cel­e­brat­ing th­ese stu­dents, and the ad­min­is­tra­tion ac­knowl­edges win­ners in front of an au­di­ence of their fam­i­lies and friends. Stu­dents re­ceive a lam­i­nated cer­tifi­cate signed by the prin­ci­pal, a school bumper sticker, a blue rib­bon, and coupons for lo­cal busi­nesses.

By the end of the school year, each stu­dent will have re­ceived an award for some­thing pos­i­tive that they have achieved. “Be­cause stu­dents are ac­knowl­edged for their strengths, it helps build their self-es­teem and en­cour­age them to be­come model ci­ti­zens who can make a pos­i­tive im­pact on so­ci­ety,” ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

PHOTO COUR­TESY OF JU­NIOR ACHIEVE­MENT

Hid­den Oaks Ele­men­tary School

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