USD 383 Foundation creates new award

Jacob Clanton, Print Editor-in-Chief

Students are routinely recognized for excellence, but rarely for improvement. The Manhattan-Odgen Public Schools Foundation is looking to change that. The foundation is creating a new student award that recognizes student who show improvement or start to care about school.

[The award] is not exclusively for A-students or, you know, those are always in the limelight,” foundation president Jim Morrison said. “If [students have] been just struggling along but somebody lit their fire and they’re now doing much better in participating, they could be nominated. If a student made an exceptional effort to stand up for another student or to make opportunities available or whatever, that would be something that’s recognized.”

Unlike most student awards, this award will be kept quiet.

“We don’t want to necessarily have peer angst focused on that kid,” Morrison said. “In other words, we’re concerned that sometimes, young people, as well as adults, are cruel and not necessarily supportive, and so we just want the students to know that we believe…they have done something worthy to make it.”

The funding for this award comes from a grant from the Goldstein Foundation, a local foundation dedicated to providing general support for the Manhattan community.

In addition to the student awards, there will be awards for teachers and staff. For the teachers, there will be nine awards of $500 a piece. The staff awards will be $250, and there will be 15 of them throughout the year. Student awards will be $50, with 30 to 40 given out this year.

To nominate recipients, people will have many different options.

“Hopefully within the week it’ll be able to be done online through the school website or there’s a way that you can send them in [by mail],” Morrison said. “Counselors and administrators should have forms available shortly, they don’t all have them at the moment, we’re just now getting them out.”

People are not limited on who they can nominate either.

“Anybody can nominate a teacher or a staff person,” Morrison said, “whether it’s a para, secretary, bus driver, food service, and anybody can nominate another student. A student could nominate another student. Parents can nominate teachers, teachers can nominate teachers.”

Once the forms are in, the foundation will review the submissions and make a selection.

“There’s a committee, not including any of the public district folks, it will be out of the foundation committee, that will review the nominees and determine if appropriate make the award,” Morrison said. “The process is then outside of the teachers, staff and administrators. It would be our anticipation that…we’d make known the selections to the administrative folks so that we’re consistent and somebody gets to look over our shoulder about what we’re doing.”

The USD 383 foundation intends for this award to positively impact Manhattan High and the USD 383 school district.

“It is intended that people who are responsible and worthy of having some extra financial acknowledgment and appreciation [will be selected],” Morrison said. “Our belief is that that will help with morale, with the support and encouragement of staff, teachers and students.”