“In a school with a culture of recognition and appreciation both students and staff do more than is expected; courtesy is common and relationships are warmer and friendlier. Appreciation is not an option, it is essential.” Dr. Dan Tollett, Utrust Administrator
The Utrust Appreciation Program (UAP) has proven to be a great asset for participating schools and school districts. It provides an opportunity to improve both student and staff morale as individuals in each group recognize and honor the other It changes the culture of the school to one defined by intentional and sincere appreciation. Schools participating in the Utrust Appreciation Program have experienced improved attendance in both students and staff. We have also found that participating in the program improves attendance in both students and staff as well as relationships between students and staff.
The Principal is the Key. The principal is the key to the success of the program. The Utrust model will produce excellent results if the principal fully supports the program and encourages faculty and staff to participate. The program is built on the notion that, “Everyone Does a Little So No One Does a Lot.” This results in a successful program where everyone assumes responsibility to make the school be characterized by an attitude of gratitude and to make appreciation days the best they can be. The more student, staff and even community members involved, the better the program and the greater the recognition to the staff being honored.
To start an employee appreciation program in a school, the principal should:
1. Appoint a School Coordinator. The School Coordinator will work with the A-Team Advisers to help plan out the celebrations for the appreciation days. The person must be organized, able to enlist support and delegate responsibility. Ideally, a guidance counselor, assistant principal, librarian or related arts teacher serves in the position. However, some of the best coordinators in in the stare are classroom teachers or even strong support staff members who particularly want to do the job.. When the school coordinator has help from a G-Force Adviser and three A-Team Advisers (described below) the job requires less than one hour per week.
2. Appoint A-Team Advisers. With the help of the school coordinator, select three advisers for the A-Team, one each for the Action, Creative and Paparazzi Crews.
Appoint a G-Force Adviser. The G-Force Adviser is the champion of the G-Force. This person makes certain that G-Force members understand and accept their responsibilities and encourages them from time to time as they carry out these responsibilities. The G-Force Adviser also shares targeted assignments or missions with the G-Force members (Utrust provides a chart which can be completed once each year to make these assignments).
4. Ask Homeroom Teachers to Appoint G-Force Members. Each homeroom is represented on the G-Force by two students selected by the homeroom teacher. Click here for a sample memo for the principal to send to ask teachers to appoint G-Force members.
5. Ask Teachers to Thank a Student each quarter. (TAPPS–Teachers APPeciating Students) In a faculty meeting, encourage teachers to select a student each quarter and express appreciation to them for something specific they have done. Encourage them to include students who are making progress toward behavioral as well as academic goals, not just the best students.
6. Support the Program. This program will flourish with the principal’s active support. The principal can boost the program tremendously by encouraging every student and staff member to support and participate in the program to honor and recognize the work of others. The principal can recognize A-Team or G-Force members during announcements and comment on appreciation days to generate interest and support.
The Utrust website contains information about the various roles in the Utrust model, including the School Coordinator, G-Force Adviser, G-Force, A-Team and A-Team advisers. These guides help staff and students in leading the school to have a successful employee appreciation program.