House Leaders Wear The ARMOR At Westridge Elementary School

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Provided by PWCS

“You know the house systems where the grown-ups usually do all the activities?” asked fifth-grader Caleb with a big smile, “We do all of that.”

Often, when school leadership discusses creating a positive climate and culture, the focus is on how the administration and staff will deliver this inclusive and connected environment to students. At Westridge Elementary School, Laurence Khan, principal, and the staff decided to flip the script.

Caleb said, “[Being a house leader] kind of makes me feel like I’m the role model. I have to show the kindergarteners how to act.”

“As a leader, it makes me feel like people depend on me,” said fifth-grader Avery. “I know at the end of the day, I’m making people feel better and more happy and wanting to come to school.”

Westridge Elementary uses the theme of “ARMOR” to help students become better citizens and learners. ARMOR is an acronym for Accountable, Respectful, Motivated, Organized, and Ready. Each word represents a defined and desired behavior in common school settings. Teachers work with their classes to model this behavior early in the school year and review the material throughout the school year.

Many fourth and fifth grade students are selected as “house leaders” and given the responsibility to mentor their fellow students. This includes involvement in open houses, orientation, and ensuring many of the new students are being included and reassured.

At orientation, fifth-grader Logan was integral throughout the event. “In the beginning, I helped people go to the right tables and closer to the end, I was holding the door and directing people.” Along with these duties, Logan welcomed families to the building, helped parents find their student’s classroom, and monitored the hallways for lost parents and confused students. “I brought most of the parents to get their kindergarteners,” Logan said with a smirk.

“I helped a lot with the kindergarteners,” added Avery proudly. “I noticed these two kids at a table and decided to join them and, you know, get them to feel nice about school and excited, and like, ready to make friends.”

Caleb chimed in: “I kind of walked around and talked to this kindergartener. It was his first day and I told him ‘It’s going to be fine. It’s actually really fun when you get into school.’” At this moment, a quiet reflection seemed to pass between the three students.

“We want our students to be ready academically, but also as influential leaders,” said Khan. And the armor is certainly shining for these Westridge Knights.

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