by Robert "Bob" Lewandowski
One of the most important things that I think that I do as a superintendent is celebrate our student initiatives with the entire student body. This is an opportunity to bring students' attention to the importance of attending school and providing safety, support and belonging for all.
On October 22 of this year we hosted our first District Assembly. Like all district assemblies we greet one another with a handshake and then move into the Pledge of Allegiance and the National Anthem. These are not only great opportunities to acknowledge our allegiance to our country and respect for those that have sacrificed in order to provide the freedom we enjoy, but showcase the work of the student body as the Choir, directed by Mrs. Robbie Hensleigh, sang our National Anthem in three parts. It was beautiful. More importantly, their performance is a representation of our entire system as many of the students have been here from kindergarten up to the twelfth grade. Surely not everyone is in the Choir, but the CHS Choir is a representation of everyone in our schools.
These assemblies showcase our students as well as to model intended outcomes. In doing so we tried to capture as many students and staff as possible in a slideshow of photos titled "Who Are We." Belonging is truly important and having the opportunity of being recognized in the slide presentation brings about an excitement of being part of something greater than ourselves. Once again, not everyone gets pictured, but there are a number of K-12 students that do. The concept being that we are made up of a lot of people, with a lot of interests, looks and personalities. Most importantly, we want to acknowledge all those that are around us and provide them with the safety, support and belonging that we want for ourselves. This is our Home Court Advantage or HCA. See the link for details.
At this time we introduced new administration, staff and students. We welcomed them with applause. Being new can be difficult, and our schools certainly want everyone to know that this is a place of welcome for everyone, it is “Who We Are.”
Part of identifying “Who We Are” comes through traditional venues of building school spirit, not just the high school, but the entire district. Colstrip is exceptional in providing these opportunities in our school; therefore, capitalizing on where we sit during games and how we cheer our representing teams is essential. The Pep Band, directed by Mrs. Hensleigh, played the school song as everyone stood up and clapped in unison. This not only provided recognition for the kids in the band, but were able to model important behaviors beyond ourselves. HCA continued to take shape in our assembly with the Cheerleaders, sponsored by Mrs. Keri Weir, teaching us the school song. We sang the song and staff members held up the banner with the words to the song as one of the cheer captains provided the lead. Its was definitely a moment to remember.
HCA did not stop there. The Drum-line, directed by Tod Olmstead, played. The Cheerleaders taught cheers to the student body. We chanted HCA and reviewed its tenants of “SAFETY, SUPPORT and BELONGING.” A 5 X 10 foot banner revealed the mantra of be the “I” in KIND.” (You can see School Resource Officer in the photo below as another reminder to be our very best self).
|SRO Don Purdon is the I in Kind|
Fall Activity Middle School and High School Teams and organizations were asked to come down out of the bleachers to the floor to be recognized for their extra curricular and co-curricular efforts and participation. CHS Student Council President JT Baer spoke to the students about setting goals and to “Know Your Why.” Identifying “Who We Are” in part of the whole modeled opportunities of excellence.
Another incentive and mantra reviewed was that “You Must Be Present To Win.” This concept we have celebrated the last couple years. It is all about attending school. It is proven that the more days you attend will increase your chance of success. Brain science tells us that the more days attended in a row increases a student’s potential to move information from short term memory to long term memory; thus increasing learning. With that, we start this incentive by having all students that have come to school ten days in a row put into a drawing for various prizes. Their name goes on the attendance wheel and is spun in front of the student body. Winners are announced and come forward to choose their prize. Once again, not everyone wins, but coming to school on a consistent basis increases their chances in life. Winning isn’t everything, but it is a nice incentive to work toward our goals.
The assembly wrapped up with the distribution of “HCA Rally Towels.” Rally towels go back more than four decades — to the mid-1970s, when major-league teams originally began providing them to fans as distractions for the opposing team. After that, they became popular in schools and booster clubs, where you'll still see them today.
Rally towels have grown into an iconic symbol of fans supporting their teams ― for a good reason. When fans begin waving their colorful rally towels, it can make them feel like they’re part of an exclusive crowd, and this positive vibe uplifts their spirits and mood. HCA Rally Towels are an outward symbol of our schools SAFETY, SUPPORT and BELONGING. We asked students and staff alike to make a difference and bring theirs to the next game.
With all of that, the CHS Pep Band played the school song as the students waved their HCA Rally Towels. It is always something to behold when school spirit is displayed. This was another great moment.
Well done Colstrip staff and students. Now go out there and take the lead: Make Dust or Eat Dust!
GO COLTS! GO FILLIES!
MAKE DUST OR EAT DUST!
"Get out in front and stay there!"