The following letter was submitted to the Marvin Lewis Community Fund, which launched the Learning is Cool program in Cincinnati Public Schools four years ago. It was written by a parent and former teacher.
Our daughter has participated in the Learning Is Cool Program through Cincinnati Public Schools for 3 years. She has attended the year end Awards Ceremony each year. When she learned about the program, she came home very excited and said, “Daddy, I’m working at school to take you to meet the Bengals and Marvin Lewis. I know you love the Bengals and I can take you to meet them.” It was a great lesson for her on what she could achieve by working hard.
We were very pleased when we found out that the Awards Ceremony was being moved to the Cincinnati Zoo. It was a great opportunity for families to come together and bond. Many schools are working to strengthen the sense of community among students and families and the zoo is a great setting for that.
Some of the strengths we see in the Learning is Cool Program are:
- Providing concrete, clear, attainable goals for students
- Providing the student the ability to take their family to meet the Bengals and Marvin Lewis
- Providing a reward for each quarter
- Provides continued reminders and motivation throughout the year
- Allows the student that only makes the A Honor Roll one time and still receive something
- Consistently providing rewards at each quarter that apply to both genders and are “wanted”
- Clear communication between home and school about the program
- High program visibility in the school (signage, visits, etc.)
A Suggestion for the Learning is Cool Program
The Learning is Cool Program is an incredibly successful program that has impacted many students across many schools. However, there is a group of students that are being missed by this program. Having been a teacher, I have seen students who are hard workers, put forth all of their effort, and exemplify model behavior in and out of the classroom but are “B” or “C” students.
We believe that finding a way to reach these students would be a tremendous addition to the program. One possible way to accomplish this is by adding some slots for classroom leadership or character education. Teachers could nominate students that exemplify certain characteristics, such as RESPECT, HONESTY, SELF-DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK, RESPONSIBILITY, OPTIMISM, COOPERATION, etc. It could go a long way with these students to meet their heroes and hear them talk about how important these behaviors are.
An additional benefit of an expansion like this is that it can also be used as an anti-bullying campaign. Most schools are facing major challenges in dealing with bullying. Giving students who cannot achieve the A honor roll an opportunity to meet the Bengals by being a leader in other ways, could go a long way in combating bullying.
We are very grateful to have the Marvin Lewis Foundation supporting our city and schools. The efforts of the Marvin Lewis Foundation make Cincinnati a better place for everyone. Thank you for all that you do.