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Why the Utrust Appreciation Program?

Aristotle cautioned us that nothing could be farther from the truth when he said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.”

The Utrust Appreciation Program (UAP) seeks to educate the hearts of students by encouraging them to care about others and to show they care. The expression of appreciation improves morale and lifts the spirits of school employees who desperately need to be reassured that their work is noticed and appreciated.

The broader aim of the Utrust Appreciation Program is to cultivate an attitude of gratitude in every student and staff member. 

The Program ensures that all employees in the school are honored and appreciated for what they do to make their school a better place to work and learn.

What are the benefits?

  1. Employees and Students Feel Appreciated.  Employees want and need to feel appreciated. The Utrust Appreciation Program model ensures that every person knows he or she matters. When this program was implemented in one county school system, a bus driver said, “I have been driving a school bus for 25 years and this is the first time that anyone has ever taken the time to say thank you.” 
  2. Improves Morale. This program seeks to improve employee morale by respecting what they do and making them feel appreciated.
  3. Motivates Employees to Do Their Best. Employees want to know their work is noticed and appreciated. In Hawkins County, a school custodian said, “I try to do a good job every day but knowing that I am appreciated makes me want to do an even better job.”
  4. Motivates Students to Do Their Best.  When teachers make the effort to identify specific things they appreciate about a student, the student performs better in school, feels better about him/herself and is more likely to express appreciation to others. 
  5. Helps Develop Student Leadership. The Utrust Appreciation Program provides opportunities for students to lead in carrying out projects and activities that show appreciation to individuals and groups of school employees. Through planning and organizing activities and directing their implementation, students develop valuable leadership skills. 
  6. Improves Attendance. People like to go to places where they feel appreciated. The attendance of both students and school employees improves when they are recognized for what they do and when they feel appreciated.
  7. Cultivates an Attitude of Gratitude. Students become aware of the contributions that school employees, individually and collectively, make in helping schools be better places for them to grow and learn. Their attitude of gratitude carries over into their lives at home and in their community. The Utrust Appreciation Program suggests numerous ways for students to express genuine appreciation to school employees. 
  8. Provides an Opportunity to Develop Skills and Showcase Talents. In preparing for each appreciation day, students are given opportunities to showcase artistic talent through the design and production of signs, posters, banners, cards and other creative ways. It gives them a chance to make announcements or short speeches, to sing, act in skits, write poems or jingles and deliver messages of appreciation in creative and dramatic ways. It challenges them to serve as reporters, photographers or videographers to publicize appreciation day activities.

While Utrust provides sufficient ideas and suggestions for each employee appreciation day, students are consistently challenged to exercise their own creativity by going beyond what is suggested to personalize messages for a particular employee or employee group.

  1. Engages the Community in a Positive Manner. Leaders in every community recognize and appreciate the contribution schools and their employees make but they seldom adequately express that appreciation. Providing opportunities for parents and the community at large to acknowledge their appreciation significantly increases participation in such an effort. Hearing appreciation expressed from parents and community presents a major boost to school employees.
  2. Increases Positive Publicity and Public Support for Your School. Schools and school systems in the Utrust Appreciation Program have found that local newspapers welcome stories about students doing things to recognize and express appreciation to school employees. Positive publicity increases dramatically as a result of this program.

How does the UAP work?

Utrust provides a model for schools and school districts to use to recognize and celebrate employees. The model divides employees into eight groups and establishes student leadership teams to actively honor and recognize the employees in each group. The program uses student leadership in the form of a G-Force (G for Gratitude) and an A-Team (A for appreciation)

The G-Force promotes gratitude throughout the entire year on a weekly basis through enlisting the help of fellow classmates to show appreciation through verbal thanks or an act of kindness to a specific employee.  

The A-Team has the responsibility to plan and conduct a celebration on each of  8 designated appreciation days involving both the student body and the school community. The program does not take away from instructional time.

TAPS is another component of the Appreciation Program. It is aimed at encouraging teachers to show appreciation to students (TAPS). It is so important for the entire school community to jump in and be active participants in cultivating an attitude of gratitude within their schools.  

To learn more about how to implement the Utrust Appreciation Program in your schools, contact us at 615-714-4190 or by email

School Districts Not Members of Utrust

How to Join & What it Costs

If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact Utrust at 615-714-4190 or by e-mail at