MORRISTOWN, NJ – Hard-working, responsible, honest, kind and respectful are qualities that the teachers and staff at Morristown High School look for in their students. Early in the year, Principal Mark Manning, asked his staff to come up with five characteristics that they wanted students to embrace. Manning wanted to continue a character education curriculum at the high school level but felt it had to be developmentally appropriate to be effective.
“We needed to do something subtly so that the kids wouldn’t turn their minds off”, commented Manning. “We wanted a message that was subtle, yet powerful so that we could initiate change.”
Much like the Student of the Month, Manning implemented the Heart of a Colonial Award. MHS teachers nominate students who have displayed these five characteristics. There is no limit to the number of student nominated. The name of each nominee is displayed on the bulletin board in the atrium and a letter, from the principal, is sent home, acknowledging the recognition. The name of each nominee is then put into a bowl and at the end of the month, Principal Manning picks one name out of the bowl. The student chosen receives a $20 gift certificate, donated by a local business.
“We wanted to continue working these characteristics into conversations and weave them into our interactions in a constructive way”, said Manning. “The award recognizes students for things that aren’t recognized on a report card but contribute to a positive school environment.”
Since the beginning of the school year, 207 students were honored. The nominees for October are:
Ninoska Lopez Medina
Luis Barrera Rosales
Ninoska Lopez Medina
Danielle G. Simon
Kenneth Sierra Caceres
*Caroline Grossman- received the $20 gift certificate*
Ann Marie Cantarero
Daritza E, Melgar Lopez
Teachers were given five maroon and white t-shirts, one for each characteristic. The t-shirts are worn on Fridays and the teachers are able to wear whichever characteristic they want.
“The shirts are meant to engage the student with what’s important,” said Manning. “The words , BE KIND are written in English on the front and the words, BE KIND are written in Spanish on the back. This initiative has been very positive. We are holding each other accountable.”