A Simple, yet illuminating THANK YOU

This “simple, yet illuminating” idea comes from Amy Besler, Director of Secondary Education in Elk Grove, California reminding us of the power of a simple THANK YOU.

Prior to Amy’s current role, she was the principal at Bear River High School and did tremendous work on creating great school culture not just on campus, but also within the community.

A little from Amy:


“As principal at Bear River High School, I worked on a weekly basis with a diverse group of students upon building our positive culture. Each week, we would perform some sort of culture-building task based on ideas generated by the group. At one point, we realized that our celebrations (which were many) focused almost exclusively on students and staff and that we rarely did anything to show our appreciation for our families.

To that end, one afternoon, we made general appreciation cards geared toward parents/families and headed to the parking lot near the end of the school day with baskets of treats (cookies, muffins, fruit, etc.). The students approached parents in their vehicles who were waiting to pick up their kids from school and offered their appreciation, a note, and a treat. I hung back at a distance, very much like a parent of young kids on Halloween, prompting them along to approach each door (and reminding them to smile and say “thank you”!).

This experience was simple, yet illuminating.


I was shocked at how skeptical our parents were about the students who were approaching them. They all seemed quite sure the students would be asking for a donation of some kind. Several folks waved the kids away altogether. Many of the parents were reluctant to accept the treat, for fear that the request for a small donation would immediately follow! One gentleman noted, “This is the first time I have ever been approached by Bear River students not asking for money.” That was truly an eye-opening revelation. To keep our programs thriving, we ask and ask and ask of our families and community partners, but how often do we show our gratitude for them in return? In the end, the parents were so thankful (bordering on shocked) and our group realized that we needed to continue to do more to show our families how much we appreciate their support and involvement.”   



What could your campus do to show appreciation for a group on or off campus who does far more than you may ever see? Maybe like Amy’s school is it family members or community members. Or maybe you have them covered and after assessment it could be the custodian, landscaping crew or security guard? No matter who the group may be, we encourage you to take a little time and say THANK YOU. After all… we believe it truly takes all hands on deck to build great school culture!


Do you already host appreciation events or do you plan to try this one out? We would love to have you share your inspiration on our facebook page here or by using #schoolculturebydesign on Twitter.