She saw on the caller ID that school was calling. Her son was in 4th grade and she had received calls many times before.
- “Your son pushed a friend at recess.”
- “Your son chose to use inappropriate words at lunch time.”
- “Your son refused to comply with staff directions.”
So it was no wonder she answered the phone with, “What’s wrong?” with a tone in her voice that was already defeated and concerned.
The trajectory of that phone call changed when I said, “Your son is ok. He’s actually in my office because he received a positive phone call! He was part of a cooperative learning group that showed others and led by example with his behavior. He was a strong collaborator, showed genuine interest in his peers’ opinions and sweetly celebrated their successes. You should be proud!”
Small moment of silence followed by a shriek of excitement, “Yay! I am so happy to hear that.”
All the while, that child stood next to me beaming with pride. I had called him down a few moments earlier. He entered the office much like his mom answered the phone. Defensive he asked, “What did I do?”
With a smile on my face I shared with him the positive referral I had received from a staff member. His smile was enough to make you cry with joy. “My mom is going to be so proud!” He radiated!
He was all smiles as he signed the Wall of Honor in the office. He beamed when I had him stand beside me as I made a phone call to his mom.
This all took a manner of minutes, but the impact was big. The obvious positive impact was on the student and the parent. Celebrating the positive behaviors and accomplishments of our students is important! The impact extends beyond that. My mood was instantly improved as I made the conscious decision to focus and promote the positive. Classroom teachers are given a model for promoting the positive and are encouraged to do the same.
Receiving a positive office referral and making positive phone calls home are highlights of my day! I enjoy recognizing and building the relationships with students that are leading examples in our school.
The process is simple:
- A staff member sees a positive behavior or accomplishment
- A staff member completes a paper office referral form or Google Form submission that is sent to the office
- The student is recognized at all school morning announcements
- The student is called to the office
- The student gets praised and celebrated and signs the Wall of Honor
- The principal calls the parent to share the great news
- The principal puts the kid on the phone with the parent
- Everyone does a happy dance!
I took this concept a step further when I wanted to share and celebrate the staff. With spouses or parent phone numbers in hand, I make phone calls to the families of my staff as well. Imagine the surprise and pride when a husband gets a call from the principal to recognize their spouse for being an important part of the school culture by being a leader and exceptional teacher.
Benefits to Positive Phone Calls:
- Developing relationships
- Instilling pride in students and families
- Building trust
- Promoting the Positive
- Quick and efficient
- Celebrates student success
Barriers to Positive Phone Calls:
So get out there and pick up the phone! Promote the positive in your schools!