School board receives award

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The Benton County School Board received the Best School Employee Appreciation Program in West Tennessee award presented by Utrust Administrator, Dr. Dan Tollett, at a dinner in Nashville on Friday, November 2. Superintendent Mark Florence accepted the award on behalf of the Benton County School System.
“All schools in Benton County participate in the program that encourages students to recognize and express appreciation to school employees who do things to make students’ lives better every day,” said Karen Hudson, the System Coordinator for the program in Benton County. “In each school a student A-Team (A for Appreciation), plans and leads activities to honor each school employee on one of eight theme based appreciation days. To honor employees, students write notes of appreciation, perform skits, announcements and popular songs with rewritten lyrics, and make signs, cards and other decorations. They often provide tokens of appreciation but the emphasis is on sincere expressions of appreciation. A G-Force (G for Gratitude), consisting of two students in each classroom, seeks to change the culture of the school by encouraging fellow students to express appreciation to employees throughout the year, not just on appreciation days,” she explained.
According to Tollett, “Benton County has a fantastic appreciation program. They recognize that appreciation is a basic skill, every bit as important to the success of students as any subject taught in school. Their appreciation days are so much fun for employees and students.”
Florence said, “We value every Benton County School employee and we want our students to realize that each employee has an important responsibility in making our schools run efficiently.”
He continued, “We think it’s important both for our students to develop the habit of expressing appreciation and for our employees to feel appreciated. We may not always be able to pay our employees what they are worth but we can make certain that they know that they’re greatly appreciated.”
Utrust is a statewide organization that sponsors the School Employee Appreciation Program and promotes excellence in employee relations. The organization also administers unemployment compensation for local school boards in Tennessee. Utrust has distributed $ 4.5 million in mini-grants to its members in the last five years. The mini-grants are designed to pay for things that teachers and principals need but were not funded in their budget.

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