Forest Oaks builds leadership and character

In addition to academics, students at Forest Oaks Elementary School learn about good character and leadership. (Contributed)

In addition to academics, students at Forest Oaks Elementary School learn about good character and leadership. (Contributed)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

CHELSEA—The elementary school curriculum introduces students to reading, writing, math and science, but students at Forest Oaks Elementary School learn something more: The foundations of good character and leadership.

Each morning, after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the 746 kindergarten through fifth grade students at Forest Oaks say the school’s creed. The Forest Oaks Creed opens with the words, “I am a smart, talented and valuable person.”

“They recite that every morning,” Principal Dr. Resia Brooks said during a Jan. 15 interview. “We do that to promote good choices and character.”

Doing the right thing and displaying leadership is important at Forest Oaks, Brooks said, noting the school’s theme is “be awesome today.”

Forest Oaks has a couple of programs to reinforce leadership and recognize students and classes that display these good qualities.

One is the “dot” program. Classrooms earn a dot when they receive “a compliment from someone other than their teacher,” Brooks explained. Once a class amasses 25 dots, they receive a special surprise.

“Today, I’ve given out two dots,” Brooks said after she granted a dot to a class of children being “extremely responsible in the hallway.”

Another is the “Forest Oaks Highlight.” Individual students can earn a Forest Oaks Highlight for displaying qualities such as taking pride in their work, being kind and setting a good example.

At the end of each day, Brooks recognizes each classroom that has earned a dot and each student who received a highlight throughout the school day by reading their names during afternoon announcements.

“(The students) look forward to having their names announced at the end of the day,” Brooks said.

Brooks also concludes each day with an empowering and positive message to her students.

“If you work hard and are kind, amazing things will happen,” Brooks said. “That’s my message to them.”