New emphasis to ‘Spread the Positive’ for HVA students

Hardin Valley Academy Health Science Academy principal Mike Wise, left, presents freshman William Sizemore with a Hawk Note as part of the school’s Spread the Positive program for being a “great all-around student, honesty, attitude and helping others.”
Hardin Valley Academy is sounding a positive note about its students and faculty with a new program.

Initiated by HVA Health Science Academy principal Michael Wise, Spread the Positive’s purpose is to recognize students and teachers for their accomplishments and work.

“For a long time we’ve had a lot of great kids making good decisions and doing things to help other people,” HVA principal Dr. Robert Speas said. “This is just a way to celebrate those folks and take a little time and be sure we reward kids for doing the right things.

“We can’t give enough time and energy to celebrate kids helping each other out and helping out teachers,” Speas added. “It’s been a great, positive experience for that.

“A lot of times, for assistant principals, when we’re only dealing with kids who make poor choices, it’s just not fun.”

Speas said the program allows the assistant principals to have positive interactions with students as well.

Spread the Positive is new this year to HVA.

“At the beginning of this semester, one of the things I’m in charge of is student recognition,” Wise said. “Traditionally, that has been, like, the gold cards and blue cards that kids would get — you know where it helps you get into ball games and that kind of thing.

“That’s for kids who get good grades and the honor roll.”

However, Wise wanted to take that recognition a step further to include students and teachers.

“My thing is, on the news, all we ever see is the negative side of teachers, of students and our schools,” he said. “I’m tired of seeing that.

“We have 2,100 kids at this school, and on any given day we might have 20 to 30 who choose to make poor choices,” he added. “Well, then, you’ve got 2,000 other kids who are doing the right thing.

Spread the Positive “Basically is a two-tiered approach. We start with our teachers,” Wise said. “We have phenomenal teachers at our school that do an amazing job on a day-in, day-out basis. It’s one of those things — unsung heroes.

“I want to celebrate that, especially through social media, because that’s what everybody’s tapping into now.”

Part of the program includes Wise and his staff going into classrooms on a daily basis. He also hears from teachers about their class curriculum.

“We watch them do it, give them a little bit of feedback and then post it on our Twitter page, just celebrating these great lessons that, most of the times, parents and other teachers would never see,” he said.

“The teachers have really loved it,” Wise added. “It’s almost created a sense of accomplishment and competition among our teachers to get in on being tweeted about in such a positive fashion.”

The second part of the program focuses on celebrating those students who are “doing the right things every day.

“Those are the kids who usually get overlooked,” he said.

It starts with the teachers recognizing a student for any of the following positive attributes: showing a positive attitude, showing improvement, being honest, being on task, making an effort, being helpful, being respectful or persevering.

“These are (attributes) we want them to have in real life — not just in school,” Wise said.

An example was a student who, every day, helps out a special needs student in one of his classes without being asked to do so.

“He was one of our first ones to receive this,” Wise said about that student.

“The coolest part (of the program) to me is I call their parents” and tell “how great their kid is,” he added.

Hawk Notes are the reward

“About half of those parents that I’ve called literally cry, just because they’re so proud of their kids,” Wise said. “That’s how I knew what we’re doing is the right thing.

“It’s going over really well,” he added about Spread the Positive. “All of our academies are on board at this point.”