EAGLES Program at Blessed Sacrament Teaches the Practice of Catholic Values

| February 13, 2017

By Christy Perry Tuohey

When Andrea Polcaro first stepped into her job as principal of Syracuse’s Blessed Sacrament School, the school’s mascot was a scorpion. Thinking maybe a poisonous arachnid was not the best representative, she created a contest that allowed the students to choose what their next mascot would be. The winner? An eagle. “Soaring to new heights” became the school’s motto.Soon the winged raptor became more than a high-flying symbol for the school. EAGLES became an acronym for a school-wide positive behavior program. The letters stand for:

• EXCELLENCE — doing your personal best

• ACCEPTANCE — treating others the way you want to be treated

• GOD-CENTERED — to act as Jesus would, showing respect for everyone and everything

• LEADERSHIP — doing what is right in leading the way

• EMPATHY — understanding others’ feelings

• SAFETY — being safe and free of injury

Guided by these principles, Kindergarten through 6th grade teachers use positive reinforcement and award students’ good behavior in different ways. If students are “caught showing their EAGLES pride,” they might be walking quietly, hands at their sides in the hallways or stairways, exhibiting the safety “S” of EAGLES.

“Teachers nominate children that have shown their EAGLES pride for students of the month,” Polcaro explained. “And each month, I read over the PA or at a special assembly why they’ve been nominated, and then they get an EAGLE.” The coveted EAGLE is a certificate that includes a paper circle with an image of the mascot.

“It creates a more positive atmosphere,” Polcaro said, “and teaches children good Christian Catholic values and how to practice them.”

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Category: Catholic Identity

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