Arredondo Elementary School Principal Alison Bruening- Hamati happened to see a news clip of Basha High School teachers delivering congratulatory notes to the homes of their students who had passed their Advanced Placement tests.
Impressed with the idea and looking for a way to let their Arredondo students know that the school was proud of them, Bruening-Hamati brought it up at a teacher meeting, and before long the idea was rolling into a plan.
In a similar fashion to Basha High, Arredondo took note of all its students who had met or exceeded their winter testing goals and created small posters that staff members would hang up on the doors of the students’ homes as a surprise.
The posters read “A Roadrunner at this home met their winter testing goals! We are proud of you!” and was accompanied by a picture of the school mascot, Rocky the Roadrunner.
The majority of Arredondo students were able to make their testing goals, which meant more work for the staff, but they didn’t mind. In total, the Arredondo staff reached 210 homes all across the Valley.
“We have great programs like Positive Behavior Intervention Supports that recognize good behavior, so any time we’re able to find a creative way to reward students for their academic results I’m thrilled,” said Bruening-Hamati.
“The kids work so hard in and out of the classroom, so giving them a little recognition is the least we can do. They really deserve it.”
As one might expect, a great deal of excitement and surprise came from the recipients when they first saw their sign.
“I was actually really confused at first; I thought maybe Rocky the Roadrunner delivered it,” said second-grade student Ayesha Amirah, before looking over to Bruening-Hamati and asking, “Did he?”
Itzel Torres Soto, another second grader, received her congratulatory note after meeting her math and language goals.
“At first my little brother thought it was for him, but I told him next year he’ll be able to get one, too,” said Itzel, whose younger brother is currently a preschooler at Arredondo.
“I worked really hard for this so it was nice to have the note and be able to show my parents and family.”
Justin Aungst is a Community Affairs and Marketing intern with the Tempe Elementary district.