education · leadership · professional development · Twitter · Uncategorized

Bammy’s national to local: a movement to recognize the positives in education

Prologue:

 As usually happens with interactions on Twitter, especially during chats, a connection, idea, and motivation develops.  This past Saturday (10/12/14) #satchat, not unusually, led to one of those moments.  The conversation centered around engaging stakeholders for the benefit of students.  A question arose as to how the greater community could be involved, and given recent experiences, I immediately threw out the idea of a local version of the Bammy Awards. 
Background:
The Bammy Awards are the brainchild of Errol St. Clair Smith who founded the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences:
 
The Academy exists solely to recognize what is right in education by identifying, honoring and celebrating the collective contributions of professionals, paraprofessionals and support staff across the entire education community.
 
I hadn’t really thought about how that would occur, but as is the amazing part of chats and a rocking #PLN, Steve Guditus (@sguditus) jumped on it and asked how could the concept be imagined into a reality. I thank him for collaborating on this post to contemplate just that….
 

 The Story: Honor and Celebrate Locally

Educators are not ones to naturally go seeking recognition for what they do.  Given their general nature, they seek to highlight the accomplishments of their students, their schools, not themselves.  When a community recognizes its schools, students and educators for the hard work and dedication, it acknowledges the value and importance of student, educator and community growth and success.  This could not be a reality without the guidance and support of our local school committees, school boards, communities, parents/guardians, educators, and most of all, our students.

Too often the reports out of schools are when an educator does something wrong.  It is so easy for those stories to take down the greater good going on in education.  For every one person in the news, there are so many others doing amazing things in education every day.  What change could happen to a school, a district, a community if the stories regularly being told were about the educators who deserve recognition not retribution?  What if we highlighted the ongoing growth, commitment and risk-taking that goes on in our schools everyday? 

Leaders in local communities need to follow Errol’s role to find that path, for it can only better the collective whole of stakeholders.  The empowerment it would give educators to do even more is evident from those who blogged about their experiences of being nominated for and attending the Bammys.  Principal Ben Gilpin shared how the whole experience he kept quiet at first but in the end:   “I was proud to represent Warner Elementary, I was proud to represent The Western School District and I was proud to be an educator.  As I look back, the Bammy’s were about much more than me.  It was about our staff, students, community and my supportive family.”  Todd Nesloney  additionally shared “I dedicated the award I was given to every child out there who dreams big.  To my students.”   These are the people that should be put on the news, have stories written about on the front page of local papers, who should be the focus of chatter among parents and community leaders.

Together, Sharon LePage Plante (@iplante) and Steve Guditus (@sguditus) challenge you to create a local Bammys award.
 A few ideas:
  • Request nominations from educators, students, parents/guardians and community members
  • Celebrate successes at:
    • School Committee/School Board meetings
    • Staff meetings
    • After school meetings/receptions
    • Early release/late starts
    • Community based-sponsor (restaurant/community center)
    • Town meetings
  • Ask for donations from the community to fund and recognize
  • Publicize with local media outlets

 Epilogue:

This part is up to you. Please share your thoughts and ideas on how to bring educator recognition and acknowledgement of what is good in education to the forefront of local conversation. Additionally, share steps you move ahead with to inspire others to make this a reality.  Make the story have an ending that extends the passion behind what the Bammy Awards are intended to foster, and include so many more dedicated educators in the process of being acknowledged for the dedicated work being done for students.  Let’s change the conversations to the positives of education.
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