As the leader of the school, what do you do on a regular basis to bring everyone’s attention to the positive things that are going on at your school every day?
Here’s a simple, yet impactful idea for your consideration.
At Morgan County High School, we are proud to be the Bulldogs! While I was principal there for nine years, one of our goals was to highlight the good, so we began to highlight those who did the right thing each Friday on our school’s televised announcements.
Each Friday, we announced the weekly winner of the “Good Dog Deed” Award. There was a simple process to nominate someone– we had a brief form asking who you were, who you were nominating and why. The criteria was equally simple– we wanted to recognize those who had exemplified what it means to be a “good dog.” Someone who had done you a kindness with no expectation of anything in return; someone who had gone above and beyond expectations; someone who had on a regular basis demonstrated respect and kindness to others on a regular basis.
At the end of the announcements each week, we dramatically announced the week’s winner, sharing with the school who had nominated them, why they had done so, and then reminding them that each winner would receive an exclusive “Good Dog Deed” key chain as well as five coupons for five wings or tenders each from Zaxby’s chicken. (A very big thing in the high school world!)
Additionally, the recipients were photographed that morning and added to the “Wall of Fame,” the big board of people who had done great things that was located at the front door of the school. To get on the Wall of Fame, you had to make All-State Chorus, of All-Region Basketball, have your artwork recognized in a juried show, or, be the good dog deed winner.
When you give official recognition that as a school you value how students treat others as much as you value other accomplishments, you have gone a long way towards setting a high standard of personal behavior.
Here’s something that was interesting about the GDD Program, which we did for years every Friday: many of the recipients were also people who made nominations. When you are doing good, you are more likely to see good; when you are more likely to see good, you are more likely to do good as well.
There was a lot of fun in doing this over the years. For example, I’d see some of my students in the parking lot at the grocery store, and they would shout over, “Hey, Doc! I’m pushing this cart back to the store for them! That’s a good dog deed, right?” I developed a standard comeback for that one… “Yes, but remember we expect all of our students to be good dogs!”
When you’re the leader, what you emphasize gets noticed. What are you emphasizing at your school?
Thanks to Dennis Sitzman, our incredible athletic trainer at MCHS, who coined the actual name, “Good Dog Deed.” Thanks to @hjathens for sponsoring the keychains, and to @zaxbys for several years worth of Friday coupons! Thanks most of all to the students and teachers of MCHS for being good dogs.