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How to Cultivate a Culture of Gratitude in Your Schools this November

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

As the holiday season approaches, school leaders and administrators have the perfect opportunity to model gratitude and appreciation for the hardworking faculty and staff who make a difference in the lives of their students every day. Recognizing and valuing the contributions of your faculty and staff not only fosters goodwill and appreciation but also creates a positive and supportive school culture, showing those under your leadership that you see them.

Here are some meaningful ways to show gratitude and celebrate your faculty and staff during this season of reflection and gratitude:

Sticky Tag Thank-Yous

We would all love to have the time to write out heartfelt, personalized thank-you notes to each and every faculty and staff member, but we’re often pressed for time. Thankfully, a sticky note and a pen can take you far! Graffiti your doors with positivity by jotting down quick notes and tagging them to the doors ... but with more than just “Great job!” Be specific, note what you value and appreciate, and tell them how that positively affects the school culture. Not only will this heartfelt message go far with your faculty and staff, but your students will also get to see the words … something a handwritten card in an envelope can’t do!

Hall of Gratitude

Transform a common area or the school foyer outside the office into a Hall of Gratitude where students, parents, and other staff members can leave notes of appreciation for educators. One way to do this is by tacking up a giant sheet of butcher block paper and providing markers. This public display of gratitude not only boosts the morale of the faculty but also creates a positive atmosphere within the school.

Organize a Dessert Bar

Thanksgiving luncheons don’t have to cut into your busy day or take more time away from the school day. Sure, everyone loves a good turkey leg, but why not respect teachers’ time and allow them to drop by and pick up some deliciousness on their schedule? Enlist the help of your community or parent organizations to deliver a variety of desserts, fruits, and treats, and create a cornucopia of celebration in the faculty lounge. Takeaway boxes are a nice touch, so they can bring the treats to their classroom or home with them at the end of a long day. And don’t forget the utensils!

Adult of the Day

Create a platform for student-to-adult recognition, where students get to drop notes of appreciation into a box outside the office. Each morning during announcements, choose one and read it aloud to the school. Then, be sure to give the card of appreciation to the recognized adult with a small token of appreciation, like a coffee gift card or a small treat.

Thanksgiving and the holidays provide a highlighted time of the year to truly express gratitude and appreciation, but consider stretching these throughout your school year to continue modeling and cultivating a culture of gratitude in your school buildings.


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