"Kids Deserve It."
This statement is the keystone to the change in atmosphere the St. Croix Central Middle School staff is looking to make this school year.
Built around eight staff promises, The middle school staff is looking to make the building a place where the students are happy and comfortable. Middle school Principal Pete Nusbaum said that everyone on the staff, from the principals to teachers to the cooks and custodians, is looking to follow these promises every day.
One of the steps to make this happen is the school starts each day with a 20-minute advisory period.
"It's someone who'll put a smile on their face, someone they believe in, someone who'll be an advocate for them," Nusbaum explained as the role of the advisors in this process.
Each Wednesday, the period is used for "The Panther Way," where the students are taught positive character traits.
While each of the eight staff promises are important, Nusbaum said he's most interested in seeing that promise No. 7 is carried out. That promise is that each student gets a fresh start at the school every day.
Nusbaum said in the formative years when students are in middle school, students may have bad days and not know how to deal with their emotions. He said a bad day isn't held against students and they are greeted the next day with a clean slate.
"It shows we focus on the whole child," Nusbaum said of the program. "We're family here. Everybody matters."
If students are struggling in a subject, they are given the opportunity to come back to a class at the end of the day to be retaught. This is done to prevent students from falling behind in any subject.
Nusbaum took over as the middle school principal this year after serving as Central's elementary principal. He said the elementary had time every morning for the students to meet with staff members and thought the idea would also work well at the middle school level.
Nusbaum and Assistant Principal Chance Langeness worked closely to develop the program and Nusbaum said the staff has done a great job of buying into the idea. Teacher Ben Lamb has taken an advisory role in the project, creating a weekly itinerary for the staff.
Nusbaum and Langeness have been working together on a number of projects as the building's new administrative team.
"He and I have absolutely identical philosophies about kids, (that) every kid is a great kid," Nusbaum said.