A Royal Flush
Principal steps up to the challenge to promote reading.
It has been said that great teachers and a great administration make a great school. I have to say that I could not agree more with that statement. I was able to witness this first hand last week at my children’s elementary school. During their annual Fun Day, the students had the chance to put the principal in a Royal Flush Tank. For nearly 30 minutes, the students were able to “flush” the tank as many times as they could.
You might be wondering why in the heck would a principal allow herself to be put in a dunk tank? That’s really an easy answer. She, along the faculty of the school, wants all 800 students of the school to read. Not only does she want them to read, but she wants them to enjoy reading.
Our school participates in a program known as ACR Star Reading. For each book the children read, they take a comprehension test for which they earn points. Over the course of the year, the points are tracked per student and for the entire school. Mrs. Eaton along with the faculty of the school set an annual goal for the students to achieve.
There are incentives for individual performance, but the main incentive is known as the "Principal’s Challenge." The students submit ideas at the beginning of the year and vote on what the challenge will be. One year the principal and assistant principal had to spend the day working from the roof of the school building.
Another year they both had to wear roller skates around the entire school all day. That was quite a site, one that KSDK New Channel 5 even came to capture for all of St. Louis to see! Last year, our assistant principal had to have his head shaved by the principal (who is NOT a trained beautician). That was a sad day for Mr. Batchelor as he said goodbye to some of the nicest, thickest hair I’ve ever seen. This year, the students chose to have a dunk tank as their reward for meeting the ACR goal.
This might seem like an easy task to accomplish, but it is not! The goal was 80,000 points. Considering most books average only fivw points, that’s 16,000 books to be read. Obviously, that cannot be accomplished with only a few students reading, it takes the entire school to commit to reading to achieve the goal.
On average each student would need to read 20 books to contribute to the overall goal. And they did it! With 800 students all doing their part, they got see their beloved and respected principal get wet. Very wet! It was a highlight of the year, and a well-deserved one, too. The students not only had an individual goal to achieve but it taught them to encourage each other and to work together. This was a goal that was only going to be achieved with 100 percent participation.
The dedication and creativity of today’s teachers makes our school a great school. By having educators who are willing to step out their comfort zone the results can be amazing. We are so fortunate in O’Fallon to have some of the best schools in the nation. O’Fallon teachers are dedicated to educating our children and for that I am eternally grateful. My kids are already talking about next year’s Principal’s Challenge. I wonder what crazy thing they will have them do next year?