Let’s face it: most high school students don’t want to be there. After all, there are plenty of more interesting things to do than sit in class all day or do homework. Even so, it has been proven that faculty and parents who take pride in the school create a more enjoyable environment for students and therefore, create more school spirit among them. If you’re a teacher or parent who is interested in helping high school students regain interest in school again, try these tips for building their spirits.
Have a Back-to-School Party
Sure, nothing quite beats having the summer off, but you can get kids more interested in returning to school by offering them something fun to participate in on the first day. After everyone’s received their schedules and spent time in each of their classes, let them have a back-to-school event to get the fun started. If you have time in the afternoon and the weather is likely to be nice, consider having a cookout. Other options include an indoor party, a dance, or even a free night at a local skating rink or other teenager-friendly entertainment venues. Remember to consider factors such as dietary restrictions or special needs for kids with different abilities to ensure that everybody can participate.
Let the Students Create a Mural or Posters
Make the walls more welcoming by painting murals or allowing groups of kids to create posters that depict a positive school environment. Take it a step further by creating a contest. Allow students to choose their own groups or to work by homeroom or grade. Once everyone’s art is complete, allow faculty or the community to judge the work and award a prize to the winners. It could be school merchandise created by a company such as End Zone Athletics, gift cards to a local restaurant, or free admission to the students’ football games for the season.
Host a Spirit Week
Many schools host spirit weeks, and it’s an excellent way to get kids excited about school spirit. Choose a week and allow kids to dress up each day that week. Some common examples include silly hairstyle days, beach day, twin day, Halloween costume day, vintage day, and so on. One day can even be for showing off favorite school attire. Although many schools hold spirit week the week of their homecoming football game, it works any week of the school year.
Do Something in the Community
What better way to build school spirit than to show students that you care about the community? Consider taking part in events that help to clean up the area’s parks, adopt families who need some extra help around the holidays, or host after school programs for students whose families may not be able to afford childcare. As an added bonus, consider creating programs that also allow students to earn extra credit or partner with a community college to help them earn college credits.
Team Students Up Against Faculty
Students like a little friendly competition. Create some students vs. faculty games and see who comes out on top. From basketball to dodgeball, practically any sport is a great choice for this school spirit builder. However, try to have some alternative options for students or faculty members who aren’t athletically inclined. Consider a trivia game that focuses on pop culture by the decade, seeing if the students know much about popular culture “before their time” or if the faculty knows anything about today’s favorites. You can even create team shirts with the End Zone Athletics company.
Above all else, the key to creating more school spirit is ensuring your activities, events, and prizes are accessible for all types of students. If you live in a district where students can’t easily walk to an event and may not have transportation, consider a bus signup, for example. If some students can’t afford to participate in an event, see what you can do to cut costs or offer it for free. Setting up a school website is another way to build school spirit. A local high school in West Virginia created the Logan HS wildcats reporting website to form an online community and at the same time update their students with local news and announcements. Often times, what appears to be a lack of school spirit is actually a lack of accessibility on the students’ parts. True school spirit is including them however you can.