Studer Education- Leader Development Newsletter- December Issue 
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Recognize What Matters This Holiday Season

Recognition as Gratitude 

As the end of the year approaches, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. Serving as leader of the Studer Education team affords a view of some of the most incredible people in the nation. This week, I took time to recognize my team for outstanding performance and support of our organizational goals. This recognition is offered as gratitude for excellence.
In our partnership with teacher candidates and school district and higher education leaders, we see powerful examples of gratitude expressed through reward and recognition for commitment to organizational values and outcomes.
  • The Youth Gratitude Project, from the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, is dedicated to recognizing and perpetuating gratitude as a means of improving student lives and school culture. We have found this research compliments the efforts of our TeacherReady® program to place the best educators in classrooms to positively impact the lives of students.  
  • In Tarrant City Schools, the Employee of the Month and Above and Beyond recognition systems provide employees at all levels with opportunities to connect their daily work to student success and overall organization improvement.
  • South Louisiana Community College sponsors Thank You Thursdays, where faculty and staff have opportunities to show their appreciation to their co-workers.
These examples, like many found in partner school districts across the nation, serve to validate the good work of employees at all levels, as well as encourage repetition of behaviors that make our systems best places to work and learn. As you engage in reflection, with the close of the year, take time to consider how you might systematize reward and recognition with shout-outs, thank-you notes, or simple public statements of gratitude. One mantra our team learned from Quint Studer and relies on to maintain this focus is, “
If you see it, say it.” 

Leadership Tips:
Focus on Employee Satisfaction
Build a Culture of Excellence 

Build a top-performing workforce

  • Gives employees opportunities for input
  • Engages in professional conversations to improve performance
  • Recognizes improved and high performance

Connect services to organizational values

  • Ensures that thoughtful processes and procedures become the norm
  • Ensures high-quality, caring environments for employees, students, and parents
  • Invests in building relationships with employees and stakeholders
Click here for more leadership tips!
Employee Reward and Recognition: 
What should it look like?

Recognized behavior gets repeated.  Research tells us that the vast majority of employees believe that reward and recognition are lacking in their work environments.  The truth is that most leaders believe they are rewarding and recognizing deserving employee behavior.  Obviously, there is a disconnect between leader and employee perception in this case.
We know that even when random acts of employee reward and recognition by leaders are taking place, they often go unnoticed by the group of employees at large.  On the other hand, we know that pointing out “what right looks like” and rewarding deserving employee behavior results in increased employee engagement and the benefits are many-higher productivity, better results, less absenteeism, less turnover, retention of high performers, and the list goes on and on.
The secret for leaders lies in building an intentional system of reward and recognition for employee behavior just like we build intentional systems for payroll, maintenance requests, and other work processes.  Such a purposeful system results in employees recognizing that exemplary behaviors on the job ARE being rewarded.  It becomes part of the culture of the workplace.
Tarrant City Schools in Tarrant, AL has created such a system and is having tremendous success with employee reward and recognition.  This school district serves approximately 1500 students in a small city north of Birmingham, AL.  Although more than 97% of the student population in Tarrant qualifies for free and reduced lunch, the 150+ employees of the system are dedicated to their work and appreciate being recognized for making Tarrant a great place to work and learn. 
Tarrant’s system of employee recognition includes two distinct programs, “Employee of the Month” and “Above & Beyond” and both systems recognize outstanding work. One unique feature of both programs is that peers nominate peers for recognition.
Employee of the Month recognition system:  Any employee can nominate a colleague for exhibiting behavior that demonstrates one of the 5 characteristics of service excellence-accessibility, accuracy, attitude, operations, and timeliness or for other specific behaviors that are valued by colleagues.  Nominators are asked to select a specific characteristic or behavior and explain why they are nominating the fellow employee.  The reason this is such a workable system is that it keeps all employees focused on those specific behaviors that result in great service to others and a great place to work.  Winning employees receive recognition, gift cards, and a place of honor on a special bulletin board at the district office.  More importantly, ALL nominated employees have their nomination forms displayed on the board so ALL employees can see what recognized behavior really looks like! Check out their board at the district office here: 
Employee Recognition Board
Above and Beyond recognition system:  This recognition system is awarded on a quarterly basis. Once the nomination window is open, staff members have the opportunity to nominate any school system employee for performing “Above and Beyond” his/her job duties. The nominator writes a brief narrative detailing the employee’s superior performance. A local service organization reads and selects the winners. Typically, a winner is chosen from each district location. Each winner receives $100 gift cards/cash. The superintendent personally notifies winning employees and pictures of winners are displayed at the district office. Most importantly, all nominees receive a copy of their nomination letter and a personalized note of appreciation from the superintendent.  The reason why this recognition system is effective is that it directly correlates with the Employee Engagement Survey. It recognizes good performance and provides feedback on employee strengths.
In August, Tarrant presented their employee recognition system at our annual national conference, What’s Right in Education, and you can see a portion of their presentation here for ideas about how to create your own system for employee reward and recognition:
Tarrant Reward & Recognition System 
Remember, it requires a system to ensure that recognized behavior gets repeated!

Gratitude: Creating a positive classroom culture

A grateful attitude, starting at a young age, has endless benefits for children and their success in the classroom.
The Youth Gratitude Project (YGP) seeks to broadly understand key determinants of gratitude and its assessment, as well as its benefits and promotion early on in human development. YGP is a part of UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center’s Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude.
Dr. Giacomo Bono, who presented this past August at our national What’s Right in Education conference in Chicago, is one of the researchers running the project along with Dr. Jeffrey J. Froh and Dr. Robert A. Emmons. These researchers have found that grateful youth are “happier, more satisfied with their lives, friends, family, neighborhood, and selves.” They also report “more hope, engagement with their hobbies, higher GPAs, and less envy, depression, and materialism.” 

Kegonsa Elementary (a Studer Education partner district) in the Stoughton Area School District will be participating in the research study, incorporating curriculum. The principal will then study the impact on the students.

The YGP consists of four major components:
  1. Creating gratitude scales for children and adolescents
  2. Examining the development of gratitude in teens
  3. Examining the role of parental and social determinants of youth gratitude
  4. Conducting cross-cultural research on a school-based gratitude curriculum
Each of these four components are key players in carrying out Principle 9: Reward and Recognize Success from our Nine Principles. Principle 9 says that when we recognize and reward behavior, we’re not just being nice. We’re trying to ensure that the behavior gets repeated- not just by the person who originally performed the behavior, but also by those around that person who observe the reward and recognition. Recognizing people, such as students and teachers, encourages other peers and faculty members to do the right thing, and ultimately, it encourages the consistency needed in order to create a culture of excellence.
Principle 9, like the other eight, is the glue that holds Evidence-Based Leadership together. The Nine Principles are the easiest way to create a culture of high performance with grateful students and positive classrooms. 
Learn more here!
Visit TeacherReady Site
FEB 6-7, 2017
Destination High Performance 
Register Here
March 16-17, 2017
Symposium on Continuous Improvement 
Menomonee Falls
Register Here
May 9-10, 2017
Destination High Performance 
Orlando, Florida
Register Here
August 1-2, 2017
What's Right in Education
Register Here
November 16-17, 2017
Symposium on Continuous Improvement 
Menomonee Falls
Register Here
Our Next Chat... 

Date: January 24, 2017
Time: 3:30 pm (CST)
Topic: Performance Conversations: HighMiddleLow® 
Coach: Dr. Karen Owen & Dr. Steve Sperry
Register Here
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