Nemaha Central Elementary & Middle School has been notified by Character.org that they are a 2019 recipient of a “Promising Practice Award.” This nationally recognized honor is presented to schools that have implemented a unique, effective and replicable character initiative that validates good character firsthand and directly aligns with the 11 Principles of Effective Character. The school has received this honor for its “FAB Families.”
Fabulous “FAB” Families is an activity that was started in the 2016-2017 school year to develop stronger relationships within the school community. It allows each student in the school to be part of a “family” composed of students from multi-grade levels and a staff member, who meet monthly, to do activities that foster building relationships, leadership skills, and service to others. Biological siblings are not placed in the same family and families try to have an even number of boys and girls as much as possible. The students remain with the same family for all the years that they attend NCEMS. This year there are 37 families in the building.
FAB Families meet once a month for 45 minutes. Themes are chosen for each month and a variety of activities are planned that the family participates in together. Family portraits are taken each year. The Building Leadership Team comprised of teachers and the principal originally planned the FAB Family gatherings, but now the student-led Middle School Impact Committee plans many of the monthly activities. Some of the fun activities that the families have done in the past include playing Family Feud with other FAB families and having a Family Fun Day in which the families completed a scavenger hunt and obstacle course. The families often do projects that extend into the community. This month students made cards for veterans.
FAB Families teaches students the importance of relationships whether that be within the small group family or in the environment of the school and infuses the importance of reaching out to the community. Traits that Fab Family gatherings focus on are respect, kindness, care, compassion, empathy, leadership, and service to others. One of the long-range goals of FAB Families is that the students build respectful connections with other students and staff in our building. The relationships that develop, like in most biological families, will continue when the students leave NCEMS. As students progress to high school, they will always have those connections with members of their FAB Family who will be moving to high school, as well. The ultimate goal is to create caring and respectful individuals - a great asset that will help them become strong community members in the future.
NCEMS was named both a Kansas State School of Character and a National School of Character in 2018 and will hold that distinction for five years. This is the second Promising Practice Award they have received. In 2016 they received a Promising Practice Award for their “Pay it Forward” projects.