New Ocoee principal creates traveling trophy

Ocoee Middle School added a teacher appreciation program this year with the use of a traveling trophy.

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  • | 11:26 p.m. September 9, 2016
Jalila Waseem accepted “Red the Cardinal” from fellow digital electives teacher Ricardo Tibercio.
Jalila Waseem accepted “Red the Cardinal” from fellow digital electives teacher Ricardo Tibercio.
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Ocoee Middle School is trying something a little innovative this year to encourage positivity. 

And it comes in the form of a little red bird.

“Red the Cardinal,” is the name of a traveling trophy Principal Samuel Davis is using to make sure teachers feel appreciated for their hard work.

The little ceramic statue may not look like much, but it’s the gesture and meaning behind it that counts. To be eligible to receive the trophy, teachers must exhibit good relationship skills and efficiency in education. 

The idea came from a dean, but Davis put it into action with the help of Adam Walton, a training coordinator at Ocoee Middle.

“If I see somebody who is exhibiting good relationship skills with everybody around them — students, teachers, parents — then I (can) recognize them with Cardinal Red, or another teacher (can) recognize them,” Davis said.

During the first week of school, the statue was awarded to Ricardo Tibercio, a newly hired digital electives teacher. The statue was then awarded to Jalila Wassem on Friday, Aug. 26.

Every week, the cardinal statue will travel from teacher to teacher. With 100 teachers at the school, the little bird will be traveling quite a lot. However, it is only a temporary substitute until a bigger trophy is purchased.

“(The statue) was sitting on our assistant principal’s desk, and we were looking for something that would work,” Davis said. “And she said, ‘Well, why don’t you go ahead and use this for now until we can get something bigger?’”

The school also has similar programs in place to encourage good behavior from its 1,433 students: PURE Cardinal, which stands for Positive Universal Response Environment, is a token-based system that aims to reinforce good behavior by awarding students with chips they can cash in. If a student is caught picking up a piece of trash, opening a door for someone else or even being the first to open his or her book, he or she could receive a chip.

The idea is to “catch a kid doing something right instead of catching a kid doing something wrong,” and in doing so, promote a culture of positivity.

Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected].


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