Celebrate Others

The fourth blog post in my “Building Culture All Year Long” series is all about celebrating others. We all know our classrooms and our school buildings are more successful when the students and adults actually want to be there. One way to continually build up the culture of the school or classroom is to make sure people feel seen, valued, appreciated, and heard. Here are a few of my favorite ideas when it comes to celebrating others.

Positive Phone Calls

I first talked about this in my “Connecting Early (and often)” post HERE. But it’s worth reiterating again. Today though I want to focus on the idea of positive phone calls home for your colleagues.

Oftentimes when I share this idea I talk about how as the principal I often called home to loved ones of my team and celebrate my team members to them. It was a powerful thing! But when I share this idea many just hear “he did this as the principal” and immediately the excuses start….

“Oh my principal would never do that” is something I often hear. But you know what??? You don’t have to wait on ANYONE to do this. Why?? Because YOU can do this…..TODAY! Yes, today.

Today, I challenge you to walk across the hall or go to a different grade level. Find something worth celebrating in someone (there’s always something), and ask them “Who can I call to celebrate how awesome you are?”

They’re going to say you don’t need to do that….because compliments are uncomfortable. But keep pushing. Pull your phone out, get it ready, get the phone number of someone they love, put it on speaker, and call right there in the hall and tell them how great their loved one is doing at your school. It will feel fantastic not only to the person you’re calling for, but to YOU as well!

Try it!!

I dive even deeper into this in my new online self-paced courses HERE.

Staff Monthly Awards

Ok, this is seriously one of my favorite things. We had monthly staff meetings and to make sure I was finding ways to celebrate others, I would bring “random” awards to every staff meeting. Here’s how it works….

  1. I would go to Walmart or Target and peruse the aisles hoping to be inspired by something I saw. For example, one time I was walking down an aisle and saw a toilet seat. I bought it, spray painted it Gold, and brought it to the staff meeting.
  2. At the staff meeting, I held up the toilet seat and said “Ok this month’s award is the golden toilet seat for the staff member who has put up with the most crap and just keeps flushing”. We get a good laugh, we celebrate someone, and we have fun!
  3. Then, the expectation is, it doesn’t stop there. At next month’s staff meeting, that person brings the golden toilet seat back and THEY then gift it to someone else. So it keeps going and going.
  4. I also introduce brand new random awards every month to keep things fresh.

What’s great is you don’t have to just do this at staff meetings. You can take this same idea and do it in the classroom with your students!

I dive even deeper into this in my new online self-paced courses HERE.

Celebrate the Obvious

This one is short and sweet. Sometimes we work so hard finding something incredibly unique to celebrate in others. But the obvious things are just as important. Celebrate every little moment because every moment matters.

I dive even deeper into this in my new online self-paced courses HERE.

You Matter Emails

This was a great way to use technology to acknowledge others. I created a google form with three sections. The first was a drop down list of every employee, the second was where you could write something you wanted to acknowledge them for, and the third was a place where you could put your name or leave it blank (anonymous).

Every Monday I would email my team and share the link to the google form and encourage them to celebrate something through the form. Then I would use the spreadsheet of info and pass along what others said in personalized emails.

It was a great way to keep celebrating others! You can also do this with your students!

I dive even deeper into this in my new online self-paced courses HERE.


Finally, I might ruffle some feathers here but….please get rid of your treasure chests.

Reaseach has proven they do NOT work. They only teach kids that when they do something good they deserve a prize.

I want kids to do what’s right because it feels good to do good. Not because they’ll get to pick a tangible prize.

This is where the positive phone calls come back into play! It’s the perfect way to celebrate others and show them how good it feels to just be acknowledged for doing good!

I dive even deeper into this in my new online self-paced courses HERE.

In Closing

There are so many more ways to celebrate others! This is just to get you started! I dive into even more ideas in my new online self-paced courses HERE.

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