Editor's note: This guest column is by Scott Bjerke, Prairie Wind Middle School principal.

I wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the great things that are happening inside of Prairie Wind Middle School after just three weeks of school. In a very short period of time, I’ve witnessed and observed things we consider "the things that matter most."

Here are just a few them:

STRIVING TO MAKE A CONNECTION WITH EVERY STUDENT: One of our new paraprofessionals has taken it upon herself to form a positive connection with one of our students by inviting her and her mother out to her horse ranch to spend time with some of the horses. Additionally, this student has never had the chance to have her hair done, so this adult has also offered to braid/style her hair for her.

SCHOOL PRIDE IN ACTION: We see examples of school/student pride in action on a daily basis. On any given day students help pick up items in the lunch room and litter outside on school grounds as well as hold doors open and help each other with school work. At the end of every quarter, we have a school pride assembly to show appreciation for these actions and honor students who demonstrate school pride!

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WELCOMING BUILDING: I checked in with one of our new teachers last week to see how things have been going. She said, “I’ve never felt like an outsider here. From the day I started teaching in this building, adults and students have all made me feel welcome.”

STUDENTS FEEL CARED FOR: While interviewing one of our fifth-graders, I asked him about what he likes best about the middle school. He replied, “I feel like everybody here cares about me. That makes me feel safe.”

A new student to our school, who has been in six schools in the last four years, commented to her teacher last week, “This is the best school I have ever been to. I LOVE it here!”

STUDENTS ARE PROUD OF THEIR WORK: One of our Exploratory Day activities includes students having the chance to create art on ceiling tiles. Many, many students come back to Prairie Wind Middle School as high school students and take photos of the ceiling tile they created. Additionally, I give middle school tours to an average of 25 prospective families every year. On average, at least 20 of the 25 families comment about how "cool" it is that student art in this form is on display in our school.

JOB TITLES DON’T MATTER: One of our cleaners noticed a student sitting by themselves on two consecutive mornings. She took it upon herself to go over and talk with the student to make sure things were OK.

These are just a few of the many important things that happen at Prairie Wind Middle School on a daily basis. Not only do we provide a quality education for our students, we also make sure we make a positive connection with them as well and stress the importance of doing the little things well.

If you have a student in our building, we are confident they are in good hands.