December 30: P.R.I.D.E.

Spotlight on Schools: P.R.I.D.E.

39929307 December 30, 2016 — Hello Black River Falls Community, this is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls here to share this week’s’ installment of our Spotlight on Schools! This week we are going to talk about the P.R.I.D.E. program at Red Creek Elementary.

P.R.I.D.E. is an acronym that stands for Personal Responsibility In Daily Excellence. This is based on the philosophies of Brian Cain. One of our wonderful former second grade teachers, Jake Dahlke, adapted Brian Cain’s book into the school wide program that all of Red Creek now utilizes. The PRIDE program is really a mind shift that encourages kids (and adults) to really consider their perspective and actions.

There are nine different statements that they have turned into lessons and “mantras” if you will, that are really words to live by.

Here are some examples:


  • Instead of complaining that you HAVE TO do something (like going to school or doing your homework), be happy that you GET TO do those things.

For example:

Instead of “Do I have to do my homework?,” you could say,
“I GET TO do my homework today. I’m so lucky. I can’t wait to show my teacher how much I learned. He/She is going to be so proud of me.”
Life Lesson:
If you start turning your have to’s into get to’s, you will be much happier and more appreciative.


  • Whenever you start to complain about something… think about all of the people in the world that have it way worse than you

For example:

  • Someone that can’t walk
  • Starving or homeless kids
  • People whose house burned down
  • People with terminal illness

Life Lesson:

The next time you are about to complain about something, think about all of the things on your list and remember… “Compared to what?”

Is it something you should be complaining about?


There are many things in life that you CAN’T control, so why waste your time getting upset about them?
When you get angry about things you can’t control, there is no way to make it better.

What are some things you CAN’T control?

  • The weather
  • Slow computer/internet
  • What you’re assigned for homework
  • What other people say about you
  • Someone wrecking your snow fort

What CAN you control?

  • APE (Attitude, Perspective/Performance, Emotions)
  • Stay positive, do your best, be happy

Life Lesson:
When you put time and energy into complaining about things you can’t control, you are wasting your time and energy. Focus on your APE.

ARE YOU A FOUNTAIN OR A DRAIN This is actually one of my favorites!

What’s the difference between a fountain and a drain?

A fountain shoots the water up into the air as far as it can power it.
A drain sucks the water down and doesn’t let it come back up.

Are you a drain?

  • Do you say things that make people feed bad and bring them down?
  • Do you make others feel dumb when they make mistakes?
  • Are you a fountain?
  • Do you build people up and make them feel good when they are sad?
  • Do you help other people get better & do their best?

Life Lesson:
When you’re a fountain and build people up, it will make you and everyone else around you feel better


The happiest people don’t have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything they have
Be thankful for EVERYTHING! If you appreciate everything and everybody, it’s impossible to ever be upset
Life Lesson:
The more thankful you are, the more you will enjoy everything in life and the more other people will enjoy being around you


  • Are you going to get bitter or better when something doesn’t go your way?
  • If your friend does better on a test or scores more points than you, are you going to be bitter and jealous of them and get mad?
  • Or are you going to work harder and get better?

Life Lesson:
If you get bitter every time something doesn’t go your way and always make excuses, you will never get better. If you choose to learn from your failures or mistakes and get better, you will never fail.


When something you are trying to do seems like it is too hard and you think you can’t do it, add the word “yet” to the end of your sentence. This one little word can turn negative thoughts into positives and change your attitude, confidence and perspective

By adding “yet” to the end of your sentence, you leave the door open instead of closing it and giving up.
For example:

  • I can’t figure out this problem… YET!
  • I don’t know how to tie my shoes… YET!
  • I can’t memorize my math facts… YET!
  • I don’t understand multiplication… YET!

Life Lesson:
Don’t ever think you can’t do something. With time & effort, you can do ANYTHING you set your mind to.


“I have failed over and over in my life, and that is why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan

Everyone will fail or make mistakes in their life. You can either get frustrated and quit when things don’t go your way, or learn from it and continue to get better.

What’s the difference between a loser and a learner?

  • A loser is a person who gets angry and quits.
  • A learner never quits and continues to learn from their mistakes so they can get better.
  • The only losers in life are quitters.


Yesterday is history.Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.

  • The past is over & the future isn’t here yet.
  • Focus on today. Treat every day as if it is a gift.
  • Appreciate it. Be excited about it. Be thankful for it. And dominate it.

How do you dominate each day?

By putting together the other eight practices and mind shifts every single day!

As you listen to the 8 daily practices again, just consider for a moment how incredibly powerful it would be if everyone in our community could adopt this mindset and use it on a daily basis?

  1. Be excited that you GET TO do things!
  2. No matter how bad you think something is, remember someone else has it way worse!
  3. Don’t let the things you can’t control bother you.
  4. Be a fountain and build people up with compliments and encouragement.
  5. Always have an attitude of gratitude and be thankful for everything you have.
  6. When things don’t go your way, work to get better and not bitter.
  7. Add the word “yet” to the end of any sentence that starts with “I can’t…”
  8. Learn from your mistakes and failures.

Don’t count the days, make the days count.

As we get ready to head into the new year and people are considering goals for the coming year, I would HIGHLY encourage you to choose one or more of these statements and see how you can change your perspective and live a happier life. I’m a firm believer in the concept that you get out of life what you put in. If you find yourself having way more negative interactions than not, perhaps you’d like to visit Red Creek and have the kids help you out with your perspective. My goal is to be a fountain for sure!

As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, don’t hesitate to contact me. Also, I have another quote for you from American Education Week. This one is from 8th grade teacher, Mike Shepard: I choose this community because I feel like I matter.

Thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls! If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me! Go TIGERS!


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