George Lucas Educational Foundation

Recognizing Excellence in the Classroom: One Week at a Time

Recognizing Excellence in the Classroom: One Week at a Time

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Most principals will acknowledge that it is the little things that make a big difference for the culture and climate of their campus.  At Seguin High School, a high school campus in Seguin, Texas, we like to celebrate excellence in the classroom every Friday.  Since our mascot is the Matadors, we simply call our weekly celebration the Matadors of the Week.

There are three categories of awards that we focus on each week.  These categories reflect our campus shared mission statement of Motivation + Attitude + Transformation + Success = MATS (short for our mascot Matadors).   First, the Matadors of the Week, is an award given to each student that has been nominated by their teachers for excellence or improvement in the classroom.  Next, the MATS Teacher of the Week, is given to the faculty member who has gone above and beyond to exemplify our mission statement for the week.  Finally, we award our MATS Lesson of the Week to the teacher who is implementing transformational learning in the classroom.  The second and third awards are nominated by members of the operational and instructional leadership teams.  The teachers receive a sign outside of their door before the beginning of the Friday instructional day that reflects their award.  The students are announced during the morning announcements and receive an award for their excellence.  Staff winners are also announced during the Friday morning announcements.  Additionally, all winners are placed on our social media (Facebook, Twitter) pages so that the entire community can celebrate in their success.  Every Sunday evening, a newsletter goes out to the community about our school and the Matadors of the Week appear there as well.  

Students and staff take pride in their awards and the feedback about this initiative has been very positive.  I often have students comment that this is the first time they have ever been recognized and that they are thankful.  All winners of these weekly awards are posted in a Wall of Excellence located in the front office of the school for all to view.  After two years of implementing the Matadors of the Week, it has become a tradition on our campus and everyone looks forward to the announcements on Friday morning.  It is this small gesture of appreciation that has helped transform the culture and climate of Seguin High School. 

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Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT's picture
Laura Bradley, MA, NBCT
Middle school English/Digital Media teacher

What a wonderful program, Hector! Your last line says it all: "It is this small gesture of appreciation that has helped transform the culture and climate of Seguin High School." These gestures may seem small to us, but to so many students they are big (and for the teachers, too). My school recognizes students in similar ways, but not every week. I can see how the weekly tradition creates a culture that expects and honors excellence; that models appreciation for hard work; and that motivates all to do their best. Thanks for sharing!

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