WYOMING, MICH. - "Are you making people feel welcomed? Are you making people feel valued?" asks St. John Vianney School Principal Gregg Bruno.
These are the type of questions he asks himself every day.
"Am I doing right by all these tremendously amazing people that trust us with their most prized possession, their child?" Bruno continues.
The staff at St. John Vianney School is constantly implementing ideas to make their students feel cherished, in hopes that the students pass the feeling along.
"The acronym we came up with is SHINE. It comes from a gospel quote, Matthew 5:16, 'Let your light shine so others see your good deeds'," Bruno said.
Principal Bruno isn't afraid to go outside the box to engage his students. He's worn costumes, sat on the roof on a cold snowy school day and even let someone shave his head.
All of these events coming after his students set a goal and met it.
"If you can get them to understand the joy of giving, the joy of being selfless, it tends to make that connection," Bruno said. "Bridge that gap between the selfless action and doing good for others."
Bruno received a lot of motivation from a book that friend, and Principal of Allendale Elementary, Rinard Pugh recommended. The book is titled The Principal 50 by Baruti K. Kafele. The book lists 50 questions to continuously ask yourself to improve your job as an educator.
"You have to have a special message that makes your kids feel valued. You have to have a special way to make every child feel greeted and welcomed and that you’re happy to have them at your school," Bruno said.
Principal Bruno makes it his mission to make his students feel appreciated and welcomed.
That’s why his mornings always start the same way. He stands on the ramp and welcomes every single student by name. On Fridays, he takes it up a notch.
"It kind of just came to me. It kind of has a ring to it, 'High Five Friday'," Bruno said.
A simple high five, and a personal greeting goes a long way. It’s opened up more conversations between student and principal, as well as developed a deeper relationship.
"It leads to that next step of 'hey how are you' or 'what’s going on'," Bruno said.
Proving a small act of appreciation, kindness and engagement goes a long way.
"You go back to one of my wife and my favorite bible quotes and that’s, 'Love never fails.' The more you show people the joy, the more you show people the love, the more you do that... it multiplies." Bruno said.
For more information on St. John Vianney's program click here.
Contact Kamady Rudd: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @KamadyRudd.
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