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Sabre Citizen campaign going strong in the middle school

Nov. 12, 2015

Sabre citizen slipsSchalmont Middle School staff expects students to leave their mark. That’s the slogan of the new Sabre Citizen campaign launched this year that focuses on four characteristics of respect: responsible, honest, caring, and trustworthy.

It began with a positive note, literally, on the first day of the 2015-16 school year. Row after row of lockers boasted individual notes telling students to “aim high,” “always smile” and “don’t let anyone bring you down.”

“The planning for this initiative got underway last year after students were surveyed about the climate of the school,” Middle School Assistant Principal Scott Ziomek said. “We wanted to know what does respect look like in our school.”

Both staff and students were given an opportunity to brainstorm, and from that, the four characteristic of respect for Sabre Citizens emerged.

From there, Ziomek and the staff set about establishing the Respect campaign.

“We focused on how do we make this come to life. We wanted it to feel and look different than anything we’ve done before,” he said.

The results include positive messages taped to every student’s locker for the first day of school, a new banner at the school’s entrance, a reminder of the characteristics painted on the buildings stairs, and framed posters featuring Schalmont students illustrating positive examples of respect throughout the building.

“Our goal is to create a positive climate that emphasizes all aspects of respect: student to student, student to staff, staff to students, and staff to staff, both in person and online,” Ziomek said. “We have no doubt that our students will live up to the expectation of what it means to be a Sabre Citizen.”

The next step in the campaign was to recognize those students who lived up to the Sabre Citizen characteristics. “You’re a Sabre Citizen” recognition slips were given to all the staff with the instruction that if they see someone being a great Sabre Citizen, they acknowledge them.

Ziomek said there is a definite difference in the climate of the school already. He said he was in the hallway recently when a student dropped his books. Immediately three other students came to his aid.

“The students want to be rewarded for good behavior,” he said. “The effect is there, and the students are proud.”

Students can then enter their slips into either a weekly or a monthly drawing for prizes. Weekly prizes include free ice cream and pencils and monthly prizes have included free riding lessons and an iTunes gift card.

For those students who do something exceptional, a Sabre Citizen postcard with a personalized note is mailed home. The MS PTO is also involved in the program and has provided postage for the mailings.

Part of the campaign is to get students to take an active role in creating the culture at the middle school.

Guidance Counselor Christina Rizio and the school’s Sabre Nation organized a contest to see who could best “swag up” the Schalmont S. More than 160 students submitted designs (which can be viewed on the district website) and winners were chosen in several categories. The administrators are looking into turning the winning designs into school swag such as car magnets.

“It’s time to really focus on improving the culture of our school,” Ziomek said. “The staff, the students, they are all committed to it.”