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Shout It Out!
School works on positive motivation
ell kl character ed
Ellinwood Grade School Principal Eric Sjorgren is pictured with first-grader Gavin Erskine, who received a "Sjogren's Shoutout" for positive behavior. Erskine opened the door and pulled out a chair for reading teacher Evenlyn Stegman, at right. - photo by KAREN LA PIERRE

To acknowledge positive behavior, Ellinwood Grade School has recently started "shouting out" when students perform an act of kindness.

"It’s very easy to be average," said Ellinwood Grade School Principal Eric Sjogren. Being excellent just takes that little extra effort, he said.

The theme for the school district is "Achieving Excellence," and this is one way that the school can encourage that. "We have added a few things to promote that," said Sjogren.

"We want to model behavior that makes our building even better," said Sjogren. He said that the school is trying to make kindness a habit so they eventually don’t have to be rewarded.

"We’ve talked to the kids about excellence," he said. Examples of this are seeing a paper on the floor and picking it up or if someone has fallen on the playground, stop and see if they are okay.

"The grade school has done a great job of incorporating "excellence" into their building this year," said Superintdentent Ben Jacobs.

To receive a shoutout a teacher or any adult can notify the principal’s office if a student does anything out of the ordinary. The bar to receive a shoutout will be raised throughout the year, Sjogren said.

"It’s starting to spread all over the building," Sjogren said.

The school has also implemented some other changes. The students will be singing the Ellinwood School District’s fight song on Friday morning right before school.

In addition, the school instituted a new meet-and-greet program where the teachers stop what they are doing, and each morning greet each child as they come into the classroom.

For the shoutouts, "no prizes are given," said Sjogren. "We want this to become a habit," which hopefully it will if they start at an early age.

"Superintendent Ben Jacobs challenged all of the buildings to get that point" about excellence across, said Sjogren.