My Two Cents

Does your school have a motto, creed, or pledge? How do you reinforce it in your building?

Our school motto is tied into our Olweus bullying prevention program and our Positive Behavior Support Program. It’s “Step up so that others don’t get stepped on.” Each month, we focus on a positive attribute with our students, always encouraging them to stand up for what is right. Our students have really made an effort to be respectful and responsible throughout the school and their community.

—Jacie Maslyk, principal, Crafton Elementary, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“Londonderry Elementary: Educating, supporting and celebrating students” is our mission statement. We also have the ABCs of Lon­donderry: Attitude, Best Effort, and Choices Matter. The primary and intermediate grades took it a step further by working with the kids to make the school guideline: “All Behaviors Count.” It has mobilized the school community behind common guidelines and beliefs.

—J. Michael Lausch, via LinkedIn

Read more responsesand submit your ownby visiting the Principal's Office at Click on My Two Cents.


Health News Roundup

Screening Helps Catch Vision Issues Early

One in 10 preschoolers has a vision problem, according to the Septem­ber issue of News in Health from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Some children with vision issues might appear to have atten­tion difficulties, since eyestrain and headaches can make it hard to focus. Early detection of vision problems through screenings administered by school nurses or eye-care profession­als is best, though the NIH points out that screenings only identify some conditions. Families should be encouraged to schedule regular eye exams for children. Boost aware­ness about eye health at your school with resources from The National Eye Institute at

More Kindergarteners Skip Immunizations

More students are entering kindergarten without the vaccina­tions normally required to start school, according to the Journal of Infectious Diseases. In a report pub­lished August 30, Emory University researchers discov­ered that from 2004 to 2011, a growing number of students were given “medical exemp­tions” to vaccination against diseases such as whooping cough, measles, mumps, and diphtheria. These exemp­tions are typically reserved for students with compro­mised immune systems. In some states with lax criteria for obtaining these waivers, more than 1 percent of kin­dergarteners receive medical exemptions. “Medical provid­ers, parents, school officials, and state health officials are responsible for ensuring that medical exemptions are actu­ally medically indicated,” write the study’s authors. Find out more at

Revamped Veggies Please Kids’ Palates

What’s in a name? When it comes to putting veggies on the menu, a lot! A forthcom­ing study in Preventative Medicine reveals that kids are more likely to munch on vegetables labeled with hip names. Cornell University researchers offered 8- to 11-year-olds a tasting session with veggies called either “X-Ray Vision Car­rots” or just “Food of the Day.” Sixty-five percent of the X-Ray Vision Carrots were eaten; only 35 percent of the “Food of the Day” carrots were. In a second study, all the vegetables in a New York school were renamed, and vegetable sales went up 99 percent. See the Cornell Uni­versity Food and Brand Lab for a video on the research:

Kids Eat As Much Salt as Adults

If you’ve been keeping an eye on your students’ lunch trays, these findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study might not surprise you: Kids are eating a lot of salt. The research, published this fall in Pediatrics, found that children ages 8 to 18 are taking in about as much salt as adults—and that’s already 1,000 milligrams too much. Plus, among overweight and obese participants, for every 1,000 milligrams of sodium consumed, blood pressure was seven times greater, compared to children with healthy weights. The culprit? Diets packed with processed foods. Read the CDC’s guide for cutting sodium at school here:


Promising Practices

These innovative ideas were submitted by the 2012 class of National Distinguished Principals, recognized by NAESP for their outstanding school leadership.

“Our Principal’s Shadowing Pro­gram gives parents an opportunity to spend two hours of a typical day with the principal learning about their child’s grade level expectations and walking through classrooms to see the teachers and students in action. Invitations to participate are sent to parents of specific grade levels. Parents meet with the prin­cipal for an introduction, and then the group shadows the principal through all of the classes at their child’s grade level. During the walk­through, the components of the aca­demic day are explained and class­room strategies are pointed out by the principal. Ninety-nine percent of parents who took part strongly agree that this program has given them a better understanding of their child’s academic and social expectations.”

Bonnie J. Cangelosi, principal of Shore Acres Elementary, St. Petersburg, Florida

“When a student reaches a goal, performs an act of kindness, or per­forms well in the classroom, he or she receives a ‘Star Performance.Every morning during announcements, the day’s Star Performers are announced to the entire school. Then, the names of all Star Performances are placed in an empty popcorn bucket from the local, non-profit, volunteer-run movie theater. Once a month, we gather in the hallway to draw two names from the popcorn bucket. The winners of the drawing are declared the month’s Star Performers and their photo­graphs are posted on the school website. This recognition reinforces our efforts at school for high student achievement and good behavior.”

Sarah Williams, principal of McAndrew Elementary School, Ainsworth, Nebraska


Your comments are always welcome, so send us an email at to let us know what you think about this issue.

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