Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Wed, Feb. 24

Junior High PAWS Program

The Winslow Junior High School is rightly proud of its PAWS (Positive Attitudes Will Succeed) Program, which was initiated this year. The program was modeled in part on the old "Champs" program.

Principal Jim Maclean, Assistant Principal Troy McReynolds, Student Advisor Diane Koch, Student Council Coordinator Dan Hute, Honor Society Coordinator Chersti Thomack and Champs Coordinator Suzi Gaudet were involved in a number of meetings to brainstorm ideas on how to empower students to step up and become leaders in a positive manner.

The choice appeared to be that educators can act as a thermometer and simply measure the climate of the school, or they could act as a thermostat, continually monitoring the climate and making adjustments to improve it. The name PAWS was selected as a suggestion from Mrs. Thomack and was found to fit well with the school's bulldog mascot.

As eighth graders were graduating when the program was taking form, the administrators concentrated on seventh grade student council and honor society members. Sixth grade teachers were asked to identify two students from each class whom they considered as natural leaders. This would form the core group of students for the program and they were trained at a summer retreat. Since that time, other students have become interested in the program and have been encouraged to join.

The criteria for joining is a simple one: if you wish to be a leader you must be willing to serve.

The core group of students has been divided into groups with sponsoring teachers and are working on individual projects at school and in the community at large. One completed project was the Winslow Junior High School float entered in the Winslow Christmas Parade. That project was sponsored by Mrs. Micky Adams and Mrs. Donna Watson and their PAWS group.

McReynolds said that he believes that the program is already yielding substantial positive results during its first year of existence. He notes that school pride has increased, discipline problems have decreased and community service involvement is being encouraged and addressed. He said that a format for students to be involved and empowered in the making of decisions has been created and that students are stepping up and saying, "Let's do this because it is the right thing to do."

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