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May 19, 2017 — 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! I’d like to take today’s spotlight time to talk about a new leadership opportunity for our fourth and fifth-grade students; the Safety Patrol!

As a part of their continuous improvement plan, the Red Creek staff had identified that they wanted to find more leadership opportunities for their students.  Fourth-grade teacher Mr. Dan Nortman and Assistant Principal Mrs. Laura Simonson did some research and decided it was time to induct the first Safety Patrol of Red Creek Elementary.  While the school houses students in grades 2 – 5, the Safety Patrol students had to be either fourth or fifth graders.  The concept was introduced to all students, and then kids were asked to fill out an application if they wanted to serve. From the applications, which included needing two adults to serve as references for them, Mrs. Simonson then looked at their office discipline referrals to confirm that the patrol members were role model students.  45 of our over 250 fourth and fifth grade students were the first on staff of the Safety Patrol.  Perhaps you’ve heard of Safety Patrol from another community?  The national organization is actually sponsored by AAA, and focuses primarily on crossing guard and traffic responsibilities.  Red Creek decided that they wanted to dig a little deeper than that.  

The students that were selected went through over three hours of training within a week.  You often hear the saying that when you give kids something to reach for, they will rise up and make sure they achieve it.  That’s exactly what’s happening at Red Creek.  

There are three students that were elected to be the Safety Patrol Captains.  They walk around and answer any questions for the other patrolmen, sub when someone is missing, and are the communication contact for the advisors.

So what does a Safety Patrol Officer do?  Are these students the hall monitors of bygone days?  These students are stationed out front of the school in the morning by parent drop off, in the back of the building where the buses drop off, and then at each of the three stairwells in the building.  Building in these types of leadership opportunities really serves everyone!  The 45 students that are on the Safety Patrol are now extremely invested in things going well within the school, whether they are on duty or not, they will be conscientious in how they interact around the school.  The second and third grade students are always watching the older students at the school and they are now aspiring to be patrol members as they get older.  Additionally, students are more apt to listen to, and follow the example of, other students as opposed to some of the adults.  

What do the patrol members get out of this?  They get to flex some new leadership muscles, work together as a team, build a sense of pride in their school and what they do, learn responsible citizenship, as well as perhaps increasing their respect for law officials.  Next year they are going to add peer mediators to the playground – more great opportunities to grow tomorrow’s leaders!

In keeping with our routine this year of sharing some sunshine each week, I wanted to highlight a comment from our recent Graduate Survey that we administered.  A graduate from 1988 had this to say when we asked “What do you appreciate most about the District?” “I had fun. Schoolwork was super challenging to me, I did my homework and got great grades so I had time to play sports, be in musicals, plays, clubs, hang out with friends and spend all my free time doing social stuff instead of studying.  In the end, I think I got a GREAT deal out of my HS experience.”

As always, if you have any questions about this, or anything else within the District, don’t hesitate to contact me. Thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls! Go Tigers!