Eddie (left) and Elise were recognized as December’s Super HALO Students of the Month at St. Anne Catholic School. (Submitted photo)

Eddie (left) and Elise were recognized as December’s Super HALO Students of the Month at St. Anne Catholic School. (Submitted photo)

Sarah Young
Special to the catholic herald

It’s nice to give credit where credit is due, and the staff and teachers of St. Anne Catholic School have fashioned an entire recognition program around that concept.

A student can receive “halos” whenever a teacher or staff member witnesses him or her doing something admirable, preferably when he or she is unaware of the good deed being seen.

“When they’re caught in the act, if you will,” Principal Randy Stanke said. “HALOS stands for Honoring Aspiring Learners and Outstanding Students. Throughout the month, students may be awarded a small ‘halo’ for displaying acts of respect, responsibility, safety or simply being their best.”

The halos are pieces of paper with the student’s name and the four pillars written on them: respect, responsibility, safety and being your best. A pillar is checked off corresponding with the deed seen by the teacher.

There are collection boxes in the homerooms, Stanke said, and teachers count the halos at the end of the month and make a list of the student recipients.

Students who receive five halos in one month are considered a “halo student of the month,” and get a certificate, Stanke said.

Kids who get 10 or more halos in a month are recognized as “super halo students” at an all-school assembly and receive a small gift from the school’s Kids for Kindness committee, Stanke said.

According to Stanke, getting 10 or more halos is difficult to do.

“They’re for extraordinary behavior and exceptional instances,” Stanke said.

Some examples of behavior considered worthy of a halo are holding the door open for someone, helping clean up a spill in the cafeteria without being asked, an older student helping a younger student at the water fountain or picking up a piece of trash on the floor without being asked.

Stanke said sometimes the kids “play it up” and try to have their good deeds seen by teachers and staff, but they try to award halos when kids don’t expect it.

“The kids seem really motivated by it and are responding well,” Stanke said.

The idea came from a continuing education course Stanke and seven other teachers took last summer called Positive Behavior Intervention Systems through the University of St. Thomas.

Another way kids have been motivated to excel at positive behavior is the uniform check contest the school has implemented to go along with the halo program.

Stanke and another staff member make a random check of who’s in their school uniforms by stopping by homerooms seven to 10 times a month, Stanke said.

They even ordered special trophies that travel among classrooms when a winner is announced. The kids are really competitive, Stanke said.

Reprinted with permission of the New Richmond News.