Greenfield students show some RESPECT

High school initiative thrives in third year

Feb. 14, 2012

Greenfield - It's the third year for the "RESPECT … Live It" initiative at Greenfield High School, and everyone can finally feel it taking hold, said Assistant Principal Becky Gordon.

Students are excited about being recognized for good behavior and for the rewards they can win for going above and beyond in being respectful or helpful, she said.

RESPECT is an acronym for Responsibility, Effort, Support, Pride, Encouragement, Courtesy and Tolerance.

Prize-winning effort

When teachers or principals see a student doing such things as opening doors for others who have their hands full or helping clean up the cafeteria after lunch on their own, they give them a ticket for drawings that are held every Friday.

A really hot prize is a parking spot for a month, Gordon said. Or it could be tickets to the school musical.

Many prizes are donated by local businesses and groups. For example, Oscar's Frozen Custard and Burgers donated a stack of ice cream certificates and Classic Lanes donated a stack of bowling gift cards.

Classic Lanes owner Gina Daroszewski strongly supports the school promoting respectful behavior.

"I have a daughter in high school and can see some youth are not as directed," Daroszewski said.

She bases that on the abundance of contact she has with young people. She is bowling coach at Franklin High School where her daughter is a student, and hosts youth bowling leagues and high school competitions at the lanes, she said.

RESPECT's positive approach seems the way to go, Daroszewski said.

"It's nice to give incentives and a pat on the back for good things instead of harping on them when they do bad things," she said.

Other businesses or organizations that have made RESPECT donations include Golf Galaxy, Red Robin, the high school fitness center, Starbuck's, the Greenfield High School Booster Club, Budget Cinema South, Jimmy John's, Marcus Theater, Gold Coast Subs, Applebee's, Qdoba, Cousin's Subs, Hawk Bucks and Penzey's Spices.

Growing a culture

Gordon agrees that, too often, the school's efforts are channeled toward the few students who choose not to behave respectfully. RESPECT lets the vast majority of students who do behave appropriately know that they are honored for their efforts, she said.

By doing that, teachers and principals hope to maintain and grow a culture of respect in school, Gordon said.

And the efforts that started in the 2009-10 school year seem to be bearing fruit now.

"You hear them using the word 'respect,' " Gordon said.

RESPECT started in the 2009-10 school year with a push, Gordon said.

This year, Greenfield was one of only 15 schools in the state to win a Safe & Supportive Schools grant, which infused not only money but enthusiasm. That grant is being spent partly on RESPECT T-shirts that the staff will wear on RESPECT days. The rest will be used to buy RESPECT floor designs.

RESPECT banners already hang over hallways.

Of course, the donated prizes are what fires the students' enthusiasm, and Gordon paid tribute to the local businesses and others that have donated to the effort.

Donations are still being sought. For more information, contact Gordon at (414) 855-2412 or bgordon@admin.

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