Imagine 10-year-old Leo holding his dad’s hand and pulling him excitedly through the hallways of his elementary school. The whole school is buzzing with eager, excited students who can’t wait to share their accomplishments with their families. Leo spots his first grade teacher and gives her an enthusiastic wave before saying, “This way, mom! I want to show you how much I’ve learned this year!” They make their way down to the third grade hallway, where Leo has prepared a display of his proudest accomplishments from the year. Among his learning artifacts Leo’s parents read a book he has published, view his art portfolio, and watch a video of an oral report about poisonous dart frogs.
Students have been preparing for “Success Night” for weeks, a night where student success is acknowledged and celebrated with parents, extended families, and community members. Many schools are finding that student Success Nights, or similar events, are powerful in the way that they build school community and give students pride in their accomplishments. It reinforces an important message: learning and hard work deserves to be celebrated!
“With Success Night, students describe their achievements in their own words, and the focus is on celebrating growth and being proud, which applies to everyone.”
- Lisa Courtney, fifth grade teacher at Summit Elementary School in Ohio
Success Night is inclusive of all students, and can be a positive way to end the school year. Every student in the school participates by selecting learning artifacts to represent achievements in the areas they are most proud: for a kindergartener, this might be a writing journal with two imaginative, descriptive sentences alongside a September journal entry that simply says “I like dogs.” A fifth grader that struggled with adding and subtracting fractions all year might showcase his fraction model that he built out of LEGO® bricks. Although each classroom chooses what to share and how they want to display work, there’s a common theme of valuing and celebrating student success.
Another added benefit of Success Night is that students are reminded of how far they’ve come, and where they’re headed, as they peruse other classrooms. Not only can families see their own student’s work, but they can celebrate the success of the larger school community. Success Night can incorporate anything from data walls to performing arts and other displays of learning and accomplishment throughout the year.
Not ready for a school-wide event? Check out some other ways you can celebrate student success in the classroom.
How does your school celebrate student success with the greater school community? Share your ideas by adding a comment below.