Cleveland Middle School students received the red carpet treatment from their teachers Tuesday as they were welcomed back to their first full day of school after summer break.The festive atmosphere, …
Cleveland Middle School students received the red carpet treatment from their teachers Tuesday as they were welcomed back to their first full day of school after summer break.
The festive atmosphere, which was accented with bursts of confetti, greeted the students who were also welcomed by pom-pom-shaking members of the CMS cheerleading squad and dance team. Teachers shook noisemakers and danced to DJ Casper’s “Cha Cha Slide” and Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” as the students filed through the north and south entrances of the school at 7:15 a.m.
CMS Principal Dr. Leneda Laing said this is the second year the school has conducted the spirited welcoming event.
“We want to let them know we are excited,” Laing said before pausing to give one backpack-laden student a high-five.
Laing said the event was inspired by training she and other teachers had received during a program called “Capturing Kids’ Hearts,” which focuses on increasing students’ social skills, academic performance and classroom collaboration. The program also encourages teachers to build social contracts with their students by developing relationships in a safe, trusting learning environment. The goal is to increase student motivation and performance.
“If we can capture their heart, we can capture their mind,” Laing said.
The red carpet event was one example of building relationships with students to better ensure a positive educational environment.
"We want them to see the teachers happy and joyful," Laing said. "We want the students to know they are glad to be there."
Also greeting the students were Lillie Frank Fitzgerald Excellence in Teaching Award winner Cecily Williams and Cleveland Vice Mayor Avery Johnson.
Laing also said the red carpet was furnished by 100 Black Men of Bradley County Inc. She said the organization places a high priority on partnering with schools to ensure student success.
Sixth-grade student Samiya Williams said she was excited about the new school year and had enjoyed her summer break.
“I went swimming at Splash Country,” Williams said as the song "Cleveland Rocks" echoed through the hallways.
Eighth-grade students Isabella Pitre said she has high expectations regarding her grades this year.
“I want to make straight A’s this year,” said Pitre, who added that she had attended camp during the summer.
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