SOUTH PLAINFIELD - Riley Elementary School has been conducting a comprehensive school program that centers around character education and development. Our students are introduced to a character trait each month. All month, they are given activities and read stories that help them learn and practice that character trait.

At the end of each month, teachers choose one student from their classroom who exhibit that month’s character trait to be the ‘Student of the Month.’ The students selected receive a certificate with their name on it, a reward, and their picture displayed on our wall at school and in our All School Virtual Presentation.

One of our third grade students, Logan Celentano, asked Ms. Ashnault and Ms. Valarezo, “Why do we not have teacher of the month?” His classmates chimed in and agreed that they thought the teachers deserved recognition for being so kind and working hard.

Sign Up for South Plainfield Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Thanks to Logan, that is how our newest addition to our character education program was created. ‘Teacher of the Month’ has been added to our monthly announcements. We will have six teachers/aides/paraprofessionals/staff members chosen each month by student recommendation. The students have access to a ‘Teacher of the Month’ nomination form on Ms. Ashnault’s Google Classroom. They have to select the teacher they would like to nominate, as well as select a character trait they think that teacher demonstrates. There is an optional ‘video submission’ component, where students can submit a video clip of themselves explaining why they decided to nominate that teacher.

We have had 20 teacher nominations so far, and the February nominations are already filling up! The goal is for the teachers to be recognized by their students who are seeing their hard work firsthand and to empower them to continue to work their hardest all while encouraging the students to look up to their teachers as role models. By displaying the pictures of the ‘Teachers of the Month’ next to the ‘Student of the Month’ display, Ms. Ashnault hopes to encourage both students and staff to keep up the amazing work, and also boost school morale in these difficult times!