Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco teachers use songs and silliness to praise students' achievement

TRINITY

“Samantha Frost?"

Assistant principal Nora Light looked around the sixth-period reading class Monday for the Mitchell High School freshman, who tentatively raised her hand.

"We're here for you," Light said.

Frost smiled sheepishly.

"What'd I do?" she asked.

"You did something good," answered guidance counselor Jason Dobrow, grinning broadly.

Frost's teacher, Carol Johnson, had selected the girl from all her classes as most deserving of recognition for her performance in class. That meant a certificate, a green balloon and an entourage of teachers and students singing (off-key) lyrics specially written to the tune of Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe.

"Your teacher told us/ That you're amazing/ So here's a balloon/ You're good grades crazy."

Some classmates laughed. Others recorded the silliness on their phones. At the end, they applauded.

Light came up with the lighthearted recognition as a way to make sure students get attention for finding success. Teachers can choose any student in their classes for any reason for the monthly award.

Some picked kids who consistently do stellar work. Some chose teens for finally starting to do their homework. Some selected students for their creativity, others for their tenacity.

"We leave it to the autonomy of the teachers to decide which students ought to be recognized," Light said.

The key, she explained, is that they receive positive feedback for their work.

"We tend to find that, across the board, our high-achieving students seem to get a lot of recognition. Our low-achieving students have a lot of programs designed to recognize them," Light said. "Our middle-of-the-road kids seem to fall by the wayside."

This initiative aims to give everyone an equal opportunity to shine. Plus, Dobrow said, it shows the value in having a little fun and "cutting loose" even amid the daily focus on academics.

Luis Labayen had two teachers select him for the honor in November. He said he was a little embarrassed by the attention — especially after one teacher put a sombrero on him and had him stand on a chair while everyone sang.

But he appreciated that his teachers noticed his hard work to make good grades and do his best on assignments.

"It definitely did make me feel more confident in myself," said Labayen, who considers himself an introvert and has found high school somewhat intimidating. "I definitely think it's a great motivation, congratulating some of us for keeping it up."

Kelvine Moyers grinned as the group approached her Monday during her fifth-period biology class, interrupting a lesson on cellular respiration with a balloon and a song.

"This class is really hard," Moyers said. "It makes me feel good to know my hard work pays off. … It's nice to have a balloon once in a while."

Frost said she had been having a particularly rough day before the group showed up in her class.

"I had been stressing out about my grades," she said afterward, noting that midterms were fast approaching. "This made me feel 10 times better."

Light said she hoped that students would continue to feel that way in the months to come, looking forward to the next round of awards with amusement and anticipation, not dread.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at [email protected]

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: Mitchell High School freshman Kelvine Moyers' first name was misspelled in a story in the Dec. 18 edition of the Pasco Times.

Pasco teachers use songs and silliness to praise students' achievement 12/17/13 [Last modified: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:33am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Me too': Alyssa Milano urged assault victims to tweet in solidarity. The response was massive.

    Human Interest

    Actor Alyssa Milano took to Twitter on Sunday with an idea, suggested by a friend, she said.

    Within hours of Alyssa Milano’s tweet, tweets with the words “me too” began appearing. By 3 a.m. Monday, almost 200,000 metoo tweets were published by Twitter’s count.
  2. Tampa tax shelter schemer too fat for his prison term, attorney says

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A federal judge sentenced two Bay area men to prison terms last week for peddling an offshore tax shelter scheme that cost the IRS an estimated $10 million.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.

  3. Weinstein Co., overwhelmed by backlash, may be up for sale

    Corporate

    NEW YORK — The Weinstein Co., besieged by sexual harassment allegations against its namesake and co-founder, may be putting itself up for sale.

    Weinstein
  4. Trial begins in 2014 death of 19-month-old Tampa girl

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Even before his trial officially began, Deandre Gilmore had planted his gaze on the floor of Judge Samantha Ward's courtroom Monday, taking a deep breath and shifting in his seat as a pool of 60 potential jurors learned of his charges.

    Gilmore
  5. Rick Pitino officially fired by Louisville amid federal corruption probe

    College

    In an expected move, the University of Louisville Athletic Association's Board of Directors on Monday voted unanimously to fire men's basketball coach Rick Pitino. The decision came 19 days after Louisville acknowledged that its men's basketball program was being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe and …

    In this Oct. 20, 2016, file photo, Louisville head basketball coach Rick Pitino reacts to a question during a press conference in Louisville, Ky. Louisville's Athletic Association on Monday officially fired Pitino, nearly three weeks after the school acknowledged that its men's basketball program is being investigated as part of a federal corruption probe. [AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley, File]