You may not know that Jostens, a company probably best known for class rings and yearbooks, is also an active and passionate participant in the efforts of schools working to better connect and affirm students as they journey through their high school education.
You also may not know that Jenison High School is a Jostens “Renaissance” School, meaning teachers are taking the challenge to step out of boxes and move beyond walls to recognize, encourage, and support kids.
And our teachers are doing it well.
So well, in fact, that this year two them, Mrs. Tracy Mossburger and Mrs. Julie Roby, won the coveted and nationally awarded “Rockstar” Award from Jostens to highlight their strides they’ve taken to build leaders and applaud students who are doing the right thing every day. The award is a nod to two women who work tirelessly to promote inclusion and put kids in the spotlight. Part of the award included a trip to this year’s conference in Orlando with members of the JHS student congress as well as other school leaders.
Jostens challenges teachers, principals, and other school leaders to consider this question:
“Who receives the most recognition in your schools? Your top athletes? Your top scholars? Students with recurring discipline problems? The answer is probably yes. But what about everyone else? Think about the students who walk through the halls every day, unrecognized, practically anonymous. How would their lives change and how would your school change if they were given a chance to be in the spotlight?” (quote taken from Jostens’ website)
One of the ways Mrs. Mossburger and Mrs. Roby answered that question was by awarding a “Best Seat in the House” during home basketball games. Students earned the right to sit on huge overstuffed chairs positioned on special platforms rather than on gym bleachers; they were definitely in the spotlight! They also awarded premier parking spots and helped to recognize students in other ways throughout the year.
Mrs. Mossburger and Mrs. Roby note that the Renaissance program has made a notable impact in the atmosphere at school. Mrs. Mossburger shared,
“Since the conference last year, I have noticed higher student participation in events. I have also felt as though there is a better attitude amongst the student body as a whole. I also noticed that as students realized that there were more student focused improvement ideas happening they wanted to share thoughts and ideas. Getting and keeping the kids connected through participation and positive attitude is a huge part of Jostens Renaissance.”
Mrs. Roby added that it’s not only the students who are benefitting — staff and faculty are catching the spark as well: