Empowering Students to Shape a Positive School Culture
Empowering Students to Shape a Positive School Culture

Empowering Students to Shape a Positive School Culture

by High School Principal Soonja Larsen

In the 2022-23 academic year, we introduced the “To Be” campaign to our student body, and we are now eagerly anticipating a more profound engagement with this initiative in the current year. Our intention is to thoroughly integrate this campaign's principles into all facets of school life, including Mentor lessons, morning prayer, announcements and more.

What Are The “To Be” Statements?
In collaboration with our high school ASB team in the 2021-22 academic year, we worked to develop comprehensive school-wide behavior guidelines around two central questions:

  • Who do you want to be?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

Through this collaborative effort, students and faculty created a series of seven actionable, concise and optimistic “To Be” statements. These statements were pointed, positive and character-focused, and students felt that they captured their objectives. Each statement has underlining messaging and specific details, but at the top level, at Eastside Catholic School, we choose:

  • To be the best version of ourselves
  • To be caring
  • To be compassionate
  • To be a person with integrity
  • To be open-minded
  • To be a role model
  • To be thankful

Through posters in hallways, classrooms and offices, we spread the word and promoted these student-approved and developed behavior expectations last school year.

Launching the Campaign
In our first year of launching the campaign, we recognized that students appreciated their contribution to the school's overall culture. The “To Be” statements gave the administrative team and student body focal points for conversations about behavior – reinforcing how each student's actions represent what we commit to when we walk in the door each day.

While not every day will be perfect, we still choose to show up and do our best!

For the current year, our approach involves dedicating each month (approximately) to a specific "To Be" statement. This will serve as a thematic focus for Mentor lessons, classroom discussions on behavior, morning prayer sessions, announcements to students and parents, and other related activities.

Year Two: Growth and Positive Transformation
We began the 2023-24 school year with, “At EC, we choose to be the best versions of ourselves.” This statement continues: “While not every day will be perfect, we still choose to show up and do our best!”

Be on the lookout around the schoolhouse, email communications and social media platforms for insights into how our students and educators are embracing the ideals of striving to be their best selves, exhibiting care, practicing compassion, upholding integrity, fostering open-mindedness, embodying role models and cultivating gratitude throughout the academic year.

With high expectations, we are excited to embark on a year filled with growth and positive transformations. We appreciate your support — it’s going to be a great year!

For more information about this program, please contact High School Assistant Principal Soonja Larsen.

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