A while ago, the staff of The Wheatlands Elementary School talked about behavior and setting the bar high for our students. From this discussion, the “Wheatlands Way” was born. After so many years of talking about it to the kids, we sometimes forget that the parents might want to hear about it too! Our theme this year is “Show Your True Colors: Character Counts at The Wheatlands”. You can see our theme pictured here in our monochromatic self-portraits all students did in art class. That is the foundation for our “Wheatlands Way” and has been from the beginning. Character Counts is a character education program that School District 308 is in large support of. In fact, there is a Character Counts Coalition sponsored by the Oswego and Montgomery Police Departments with a goal to recognize young people with excellent character. The website for that coalition is located here.
What does this “excellent” character mean exactly? Well, at The Wheatlands and around town we expect people of good character to show trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, citizenship, and caring. This is something shown in different ways for different age levels. To see what these mean to all ages, we asked a few different wolves about each “pillar of character”. For example one 3rd grader told us, “Trustworthy means to tell the truth all the time.” Another young lady explained the pillar of caring as simple things like “helping others and sharing things like your pencils.” Tyson, a fifth grader, described fairness as “giving someone a chance to do something.” One second grade boy said that “Respect is being nice to people and not hurting them.” All of these answers are correct and show us that they understand what this means!
We emphasize that these character traits are expectations at The Wheatlands and talk about how simple things like being quiet while walking in the hallways is showing respect to students working in other classrooms. It is great to see that our students rise to these expectations and in some cases go beyond them. One student this past week received a Character Card for her good character during specials. Aubrey Spychalski, pictured here, is a second grade student who was starting work on a group project in music class when she noticed another classmate sitting by himself. Not knowing that the teacher was watching, she walked over to that student, who was not even a member of her group and tried to encourage him to join his group and work. She tried various tactics just like a teacher would to help her classmate. That is the caring pillar in action and maybe Aubrey will become part of the next generation of teachers. If she keeps on this track, we know that she will grow up to be a great citizen and cannot wait to see that happen.
We encourage you to talk to your students about the “Wheatlands Way” and Character Counts and see what they tell you about each one!