Starting the Day Off Right: Arlington Elementary
By: Makenna Zehender
Friday mornings are one of Arlington Elementary’s favorite parts of the week. The students start their day in the Cable Auditorium and have a fifteen minute “Town Hall.” Town Hall is a student led assembly that gives the students and staff an opportunity to model the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as a collective group and promote student leadership skills. The students also present their mission statements and announce the students that were caught being good. These activities are meant to bring the students from each grade together in a fun way to promote unity. We decided to interview students and teachers about their opinions on Town Hall.
What are your overall thoughts on Town Hall?
Mrs. Lisa Haught (1st Grade): I really enjoy having Town Hall. The students look forward to it each Friday. In fact, on Thursdays, right before dismissal, there are always students who make a statement saying, “Tomorrow is Town Hall, I can’t wait!”
Mrs. Cathy Renn (2nd Grade): I feel Town Hall is a great way for all of the elementary students to come together for a common purpose. It offers a time for those students who are leaders to stand out in front of their peers and encourage others, that might be too nervous, to speak in front of a large group.
Mrs. Veronica Crawford (5th Grade): Town Hall is a student led meeting for all of elementary K-6 every Friday morning for 10 to 15 minutes to gather together to synergize, to make sure everyone understands the habits and how to live by that habit daily. We start with a greeting and the Pledge of Allegiance. Then we state our school mission statement together as a group. We wish Happy Birthday to those with birthdays on Friday and the weekends.Then we discuss a particular habit of the 7 Habits. We end with a “caught being good” drawing.
How do you think Town Hall benefits the students?
Mrs. Lisa Haught (1st Grade): There are so many benefits of Town Hall for the students. First of all, it is created and led by students which not only empowers students, but makes them want to invest in it. I believe that with Town Hall, students are more accountable for their actions and behavior. When peers notice that a classmate or another student might not be following one of the 7 Habits that we always talk about in Town Hall, they are more likely to call that classmate out on it. It’s a positive peer pressure. Town Hall also creates a sense of community within the elementary. We share goals and support each other. The kids get excited for one another when their peer’s name is drawn out of the “caught being good” can. Town Hall is also a great place to get everyone on the same page about things that are important. Not only do we do things to help kids understand the 7 Habits, but we use that time to inform everyone about things such as using the new buddy bench on the playground, important dates and deadlines, etc. Town Hall is also energizing. I feel like it really gets kids excited to start their Friday.
Mrs. Cathy Renn (2nd Grade): I feel Town Hall offers an opportunity for leadership and creativity. The point of The Leader in Me is to grow and encourage student leaders. Town Hall is student created and presented, so the responsibility of creating and delivering the presentation is in the hands of the students.
Mrs. Veronica Crawford (5th Grade): Town Hall is way for other students to see how to lead and it gives students a chance to be leaders. The student leaders make the power point and write their own script and then lead the meeting.
What is your favorite thing about Town Hall?
Mrs. Lisa Haught (1st Grade): I love the sense of pride and community that it creates for not only students, but for teachers as well.
Mrs. Cathy Renn (2nd Grade): My favorite thing about Town Hall is seeing former students up on the stage speaking to their peers! I don't get to interact with them very much after 2nd or 3rd grade, so it's rewarding to see how they have matured and grown. It's even more rewarding when it's a student that would have been too scared to speak in front of a crowd as a second grader.
Mrs. Veronica Crawford (5th Grade): My favorite part is watching our students be leaders.
What, in your opinion, is the most important thing that Town Hall promotes?
Mrs. Lisa Haught (1st Grade): It is for students to learn how to be leaders using the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and to support each other in the process.
Mrs. Cathy Renn (2nd Grade): The main purpose of Town Hall is a way to bring our students together in one place to share a common goal and celebrate our successes: To Be Leaders!