It was Pleasant Valley School District's first day of school on Tuesday. The HOPE Initiative wanted to make sure all students in the district felt welcomed so several members of the staff decorated the doors and windows with positive messages throughout the schools, so it would be the first thing the students and staff saw when they walked into their buildings.
Some of those messages were: "Welcome Back," "You Are Awesome," "Be Amazing," "Make Yourself Epic," "Have A Stellar Year," "Positive is Powerful," "If Life is a Game, aren't we on the same Team?" "Change Your Thinking, Change Your World," "Think Happy Stuff," "Believe In Yourself," "Just Breathe-You'll find your way. It's OK," "We all need a little help sometimes," "Before you speak, Tweet, post status updates or message, THINK-T is it true, H is it helpful, I is it inspiring, N is it necessary, K is it kind?"
Even the faculty bathroom mirrors had messages like "You are appreciated," "Thank you," "Life is amazing."
The HOPE initiative bloomed last school year. One small act of kindness caught the imagination of others and the district gave its stamp of approval of requests for the high school students and staff to take their message of HOPE to the other schools through crafts and activities that have a positive impact.
Patty McClain, PVHS English teacher says that the HOPE initiative is to get everyone to think about ways to help others and to make things better.
Along with McClain, Shannon Mackes, PVHS honors teacher, wearing a HOPE T-shirt, bops around from window to window with her markers, as does Tim McCutchan, PVHS social studies teacher and Melissa Dennis, a PVHS paraprofessional, giving up part of their last day off, and a holiday, to write their "Welcome back" messages at the high school, along with other teachers and staff members at Polk, PVE, PVMS and PVI.
The teachers believe there has been an amazing effect from reading one book that has been read by many of the PV staff and that is "The Energy Bus" by Jon Gordon, which they say has greatly influenced them in their purpose of spreading HOPE.
All agree that they have definitely seen signs of a positive change of attitude in the students last school year and they are all hoping to see that positivity continue to flower in the 2013-2014 school year.