Kindness, civility and respect make DISD schools special

A large group of Scott Middle School students gather for a group hug near a hallway banner that sends a simple but powerful message: “Kindness Matters.”

Signs and banners on walls throughout Denison ISD are constant reminders that kindness is important. Teacher Amy Goggan’s framed picture at Houston Elementary appears alongside a Mark Train quote: “Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” Mother Teresa’s words grace another hallway with an equally powerful message, “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” At Lamar Elementary, a hallway banner challenges students to be “the kid who can get along, the kid who is generous and happy for other people, the kid who does the right thing…the NICE kid!” Across town at Scott Middle School, hallway banners remind students and staff of what really matters in life: Kindness…Compassion…Accountability… and YOU!”

Scott Middle School’s “YOU MATTER” banner means everyone matters, a reflection of the school’s campus-wide “Jackets Matter” campaign that reminds everyone to be kind, tolerant, inclusive and respectful in everything they do.

School officials say kindness, respect, tolerance and civility have become a way of life on all nine Denison ISD campuses, thanks to district-wide immersion in such positive behavior programs as POPS (Power of Positive Students), Rachel’s Challenge, PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies}, Denison ISD’s signature 5K for Kindness and others.

Terrell Elementary students learn early that teamwork makes the dream work, a reflection of Terrell’s “DREAM IT. BELIEVE IT. ACHIEVE IT.” motto.

“All of these programs are strongly rooted in concepts that foster lifelong cultural changes…changes in not only how we act, but also how we feel about each other as human beings,” said DISD Superintendent Dr. Henry Scott. “Our original goal was to stop bullying by holding each other accountable for negative actions while praising and rewarding positive behavior. Little did we know that we would change an entire culture along the way -- and during an era when we’ve needed it so much. When I visit our campuses today, I am so proud of how our students and staff treat each other, how helpful, respectful and kind they are. How they’ve weathered this pandemic by helping and caring for each other. There’s no place I’d rather be. Academically and personally, our Denison ISD family is just the best.”

Mayes Elementary students visit and share friendly smiles while waiting their turn to play on the school’s new playground equipment, a reflection of a Mayes classroom sign that says, “If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.”
Shannon Dophied’s 2nd grade students welcome visitors to their Lamar Elementary classroom with friendly waves and smiling eyes, a reflection of a hallway banner that challenges them to be “the kid who can get along, the kid who is generous and happy for other people, the kid who does the right thing…the NICE kid!”