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We talk a lot about the importance of reward and recognition for teachers, staff, and students. Ms. Susan Carlsen at Putnam Heights Academy, Oklahoma City Public Schools, recently presented her “Positive Post-Its” recognition strategy to leaders in her district. She recognizes teachers, staff, and students in her “Positive Post-Its” wall area and recognitions include the individual’s name and a message such as:

Thank you for making me smile!

Thanks for being so helpful when…

You’re always so positive!

You always go above and beyond!

As leaders and teachers we need to create learning environments that promote ownership. One way to do this is by recognizing good performance. Ms. Carlsen does this with her “Positive Post-Its” wall. Below are some additional suggestions on ways to recognize and reward teachers, staff, and students:

Send a thank you note expressing your appreciation for a specific performance or behavior that deserves to be recognized.

Teachers may create a class recognition board and place shining stars with the students’ names and the recognized performances or behaviors. Leaders may create a similar recognition board for teachers and staff. The specific performance achieved or recognized is written underneath the student’s/employee’s picture.

Teachers may phone or send notes home to 3 to 5 parents a week describing what their child did well. Similarly, leaders may recognize an employee of the week over the school’s intercom system or in his/her weekly update on the school’s website.

Reward and recognize individuals who consistently perform well or exhibit good behavior. Remember, what gets recognized gets repeated.


Ms. Susan Carlsen is Reading coach and Acting Principal at Putnam Heights Academy in Oklahoma City Public Schools and was recently recognized by district leader Ms. DeAnn Davis, Executive Director of the Office of Elementary Education and Reform, for her “Positive Post-Its” idea.

Our mission at Studer Education is to provide students with a great place to learn, teachers with a great place to teach, and parents with confidence that their children are getting a great education. To do this we teach teachers and leaders how to get the best student learning results and create results-oriented school cultures. Visit us online at http://studereducation.com to learn more about Studer Education Teacher Development Institutes (TDIs), Leader Development Institutes (LDIs), and Evidence-Based Leadership.