Utrust - Appreciating, Developing, and Supporting School Staff

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Utrust Appreciation Program

Overview of the Utrust Appreciation Program (UAP)

What is the UAP (printable PDF)
What is the UAP (video)

Overview. The ability to recognize what people do for us and express appreciation for it is a basic skill  that probably has more to do with the quality of our lives than any subject taught in schools.  The Utrust Appreciation Program (UAP) is designed to teach students the basic skill and in the process help them move from seeing school as a place they must attend toward seeing school as a place filled with people who are doing everything they can to help make their lives rich and rewarding-to move from overlooking or seeing custodians and cafeteria workers as inanimate objects to seeing them as people who are making their lives better. 

System Coordinator. The system coordinator fosters communication between the superintendent, the school board, school coordinators and Utrust, and generally promote the Utrust Appreciation Program in any way possible.

School Coordinator. The principal appoints a school coordinator to oversee the program and make sure all elements work smoothly.  The coordinator works with three advisers of the A-Team (described below) to share suggestions from Utrust and coordinate and schedule all activities associated with the appreciation day and theme.  The coordinator also works with the G-Force adviser to encourage students to express appreciation throughout the year in addition to the 8 appreciation days.

G-Force. The first way is through the much larger student leadership group-the G-Force.

The G-Force consists of 2 student leaders from each classroom appointed by the teacher.  The work of the G-Force is to create a culture of gratitude in the school.  G-Force members mentor a different classmate each week in expressing appreciation to assigned staff by finding things to compliment or performing an act of kindness.  A G-Force Adviser, appointed by the principal, assigns to each class, staff members and changes the assignment each month.

The G-Force Adviser is the champion and encourager of the G-Force.  Teachers are not required to do anything to make the G-Force work.

How the Principal Implements a G-Force

Following are the steps that a principal should take to implement a G-Force.

  1. Appoint a G-Force Adviser to be champion and encourager. Should be accessible to students and have contact with many students each day….librarian, counselor, assistant principal, related arts teacher, etc.
  2. Explain role and purpose of G-Force to faculty
  3. Ask for teachers to appoint two student leaders on the G-Force
  4. Actively support by inquiring and expressing appreciation and encouragement to G-Force.

A-Team. The second student leadership group, the A-Team (Appreciation Team) is responsible for planning eight appreciation days during the school year and to get the whole school involved in celebrating school employees on their own special day. The A-Team consists of 18 students broken into three crews: the Action Crew, the Creative Crew and the Paparazzi.

Action Crew. The Action Crew is tasked with getting others involved in celebrating each of the eight appreciation days. They invite an individual or group to sing the specially written lyrics to a well known song; they invite two students to read the announcements for each appreciation day as a dramatic presentation over the school intercom. They get the Marquee Message on the school Marquee board and they enlist a group to do something to make each appreciation day special for the honorees. The action team needs an adviser.

Creative Crew. The Creative Crew creates posters, makes goodie bags, decorates doors and any other artistic projects are needed.  The Creative Team needs an adviser.

Paparazzi. The paparazzi is responsible for telling the story of each appreciation day through photos, videos and in written summaries.  They make a keepsake for each honoree to remember their special day. The Paparazzi needs an adviser.

How the Principal Implements an A-Team

Following are the steps that a principal should take to implement an A-Team.

  1. Appoint a School Coordinator to oversee the entire appreciation program
  2. Appoint advisers to oversee each of the sub-groups of the A-Team:  Action, Creative and Paparazzi.  Consider art teachers, technology teachers, etc.
  3. Explain role and purpose of A-Team to faculty
  4. Actively support by inquiring and expressing appreciation and encouragement to A-Team

TAPS (Teachers Appreciating Students)

To make school truly a place where an attitude of gratitude is prevalent, teachers should be intentional about expressing appreciation to students. Each teacher is asked by the principal to express appreciation to at least one student each month for something specific.   Ask a student or teacher to use a cell phone to record a video. Send it to the student and his/her parents.

Appreciation Grants

Utrust provides annual appreciation grants to member schools up to $500 to purchase supplies and materials used by the A-Team and G-Force.

Why an Appreciation Program?

The Utrust Appreciation Program can benefit your school or school system in many ways.  Read more…

How to Start an Appreciation Program

Start enjoying the benefits of having an appreciation program in your school system by following these steps: Read more…

Who Does What?

The Utrust Appreciation Program is best implemented in your system and schools when you adopt our motto “Everyone Does a Little so No One Does A Lot”.  Read more…

2023-24 Themes page

The Utrust Appreciation Program provides themes for each appreciation day. Check out the new themes for the 2022-23 school year and why themes matter. Read more…

Appreciation Packets

For members only, download your appreciation packets here.

Line Up Your Resources

Help make your appreciation days extra special for your employees by enlisting the help of student organizations within your school and individuals, churches and local businesses within your community.  Read more…