By Joseph Pratt
Being a student can be tough. Seven hours in school, followed by sports and extracurricular activities, wrapped up with homework, studying, and reading assignments. Portsmouth City Schools is working to alleviate some of that stress, however, by implementing a district-wide program that issues out special “posi-grams” to students for doing well.
These posi-grams are designed to act as postcards, which are printed at Portsmouth Print Shop and given to teachers in all three buildings. The cards have different merits behind them, and when a teacher or administrator wants to brag on something they’ve seen a student do, they can fill one out, explain why they wanted to send the posi-gram, and then mail it home to the student and their family.
The program was created by newly appointed Portsmouth High School Vice Principal Josh Morris.
“We started doing this because, more often than not, parents send their students to school and they don’t know how they’re doing unless they are getting called for a bad reason,” Morris said. “To me, that is a bad thing. We need to be communicating with parents as often as we can. We need to make them feel good about their kids coming here and strengthening that bond of community and school.”
Morris said that all Portsmouth staff can write a posi-gram. From principals and secretaries, to teachers and aides, to even janitors and kitchen staff.
“We want any staff who wants access to them to have them,” Morris said. “It could be about a kid doing well on a test or a good deed in the hallway. We just want parents to know when their student is doing well in school and is helping others.”
Portsmouth Elementary School Principal Beth Born says the posi-grams have taken off well in her school, with nearly a dozen sent each day.
“We have had a lot of feedback, especially on social media,” Born said. “Parents get the posi-grams, get excited, and want to post them online. They will share pictures and talk about how “Little Johnny” got noticed and they are so proud of them.”
Born explained that the students also get very excited about the recognition.
“Oh, the kids love them. They often come back to school excited,” Born said. “Even with students who often get good grades and do well in school, they are proud to see a teacher further recognize them for going above and beyond.”
Born said that she is glad to see the program touch Trojans of all ages. She explained that she even received one about her own daughter, which was a nice surprise.
“We are glad to have such a district-wide program to honor our students. It is nice to know the students we have the elementary will have this positive reinforcement as they enter junior high and high school.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.