Golden Apple: Bagley Elementary School SOARRs
For three years now, Bagley Elementary School has been encouraging their students to practice good habits with a unique initiative.
“SOARR is more than just a behavioral plan in our building. SOARR is more than just kind of a passing motto. SOARR is basically what we do here at this school,” says Bagley Elementary School principal Lee Furuseth.
SOARR stands for Safe, Optimistic, Achiever, Respectful and Responsible. The acronym was born after a few medical professionals shared ideas with the administration about socio-emotional learning.
“SOARR developed out of this behavior matrix and the trainings, and it has just really grown and expanded, and so we have been able to use the vision and the goals based on student input, and so students take a survey, we look at that survey and determine what areas are needed and where we can expand on SOARR,” says Belinda Schermerhorn, the school’s truancy coordinator.
The five words were chosen because staff thought they were the qualities students needed to be successful in school and the real world. Although, it’s not just the administration calling the shots – fifth and sixth graders play a big roll too.
“You really have to think about ideas for the school like how our SOARR themes are, and I kind of brainstormed the idea about the five bees,” says student council member Daniel, talking about the school’s current theme.
The kids have come up with some pretty creative ideas to keep everyone SOARRing. There’s been anti-bullying campaigns and most recently a superhero campaign.
“As a team, we really do skits and videos about how to be responsible and respectful,” says Star Team member Kathryn.
The acronym for SOARR is posted all over the school, so it’s pretty hard to forget. But, it still needs some reinforcing, and that’s where the older kids come in. It’s their job to make sure that their younger peers are always flying high.
“We want to make them feel safe in the school, and we want them to look up to us,” says student council member Breelee.
“We just talk to them like, we’re older than them, but basically, hopefully they’ll like to follow what we do,” says star team member Zowie.
Soon, the kids will have to come up with a new theme to make Bagley Elementary school a better place, but one thing is for sure: if you can SOARR, you can succeed.
“I like being there and teaching people how to be good because it makes me feel good about myself. It makes me feel like I accomplished something,” adds Zowie.