How does a school district start a Respect Club?

Suggestions for starting a Respect Club™:

(The following steps are only suggestions. The high school student leaders of the club decide, with guidance from their adviser(s), how they will start and run the club.) 

1. Decide that you want to start a Respect Club to teach, encourage, and recognize strong respect throughout your school district in a fun way.

2. Secure permission from your superintendent to start a Respect Club and get agreement from high school principal as well as from all of the other principals to start a Respect Club. 

3. Recruit at least one adviser for the club from your high school staff. This is often a staff person who has some expertise in theater and/or video production. Look for an enthusiastic outgoing person who really believes that it is very important to promote respect and who understands how promoting respect could positively impact the lives of many students. It is also crucial to find a staff person who has the personality and the rapport with students needed to recruit the high school leaders of the club. Having one lead adviser and one assistant adviser is very helpful.

4. Complete the registration form to register the new Respect Club (available upon request by emailing us at questions@respectclub.org). Unlike other organizations that charge thousands of dollars for program information and technical support, at this point Respect Club is free to school districts who decide to pilot the program. (We only ask that school administrators consider giving a testimonial about the effectiveness of the program after it is implemented.) Respect Club is currently funded by Strong Book Publishing (the publisher of wholesome books). Our long-term goal is to become a non-profit organization.

6. Develop a plan to recruit high school student leaders of the Respect Club (usually starting in February or March for the following school year). The student leaders are outgoing students who have demonstrated respect for their job, others, and themselves. These students are usually recommended by their teachers. Sometimes, the first student leaders recruited can help the adviser(s) recruit more student leaders. The number of student leaders needed is up to the adviser(s). Student leaders run the club with guidance from their adviser.

7. Develop a plan to secure "engagement" from the faculty and the staff through an informative and fun forty-five minute training about Respect Club. It is essential that everyone play their role by being enthusiastic about Respect Club (even if they have to fake it to begin with) and by modeling to students what respect looks like through their daily interactions with everyone. We have found that it makes a big impression on students when faculty and staff members dig down deep inside and find a way to be respectful to someone who is being disrespectful to them (we provide a free suggested training script).

8. Develop a plan to meaningfully recognize students who have respected their job, others, and themselves after the end of the first and third marking period. In addition, recognize students who have made significant progress toward having respect in at least one of the three areas (job, others, yourself). Please be sure to include in the plan a way to get parents involved with this process. (We have suggestions for all of this.)

"All of a sudden I realized that being in the drama (and being disrespectful) wasn't helping me - so I found myself a few strong friends, got out of the drama, and focused on doing my best in school. It was a good choice."                                                                                           - an eighth grader 

8. Train the high school student leaders using the information from the Adviser Training Packet. The members will learn the Respect Club definition of respect, the Respect Club motto/slogan/pledge, and the specifics of how a student can have respect for their job, others, and themselves on a daily basis. With suggested lesson plans from the packet and help from their adviser(s), the members will develop quarterly or monthly assemblies or videos to teach K-8th grade students how to respect their job, others, and themselves. Respect Club members will be highly encouraged to use their creativity to make the assemblies or videos informative and entertaining so that they will be engaging. The hope is that the assemblies or videos will be so dynamic that the students in the audience will be motivated to put into practice on a daily basis what they have learned. We realize that these 30-45 minute assemblies or videos will take up some valuable instructional time. However, in the long run the time will be more than made up for by the reduced time that teachers will have to spend handling disruptive school behavior. (After each assembly/video, teachers will receive information, which they can tailor to their grade, to reinforce what has been taught. A flyer "What I learned at school today!" will be also sent home to parents so that they can reinforce the information at home. We provide reproducible teacher information and a "What I learned at school today!" flyer for each lesson.) The Respect Club student leaders, with help from their adviser(s) and with input from the student body, will also develop a creative plan to teach, encourage, and recognize respect throughout their high school.

9. Develop a plan for encouraging students to have respect for their job, others, and themselves on a daily basis (we provide suggestions of how to do this).

10. Find a way to make Respect Club meetings enjoyable and productive at the same time. (Suggested format: Sharing time - giving each person a chance to share what's new with them and how their day/week is going/went, work on preparation for the next assembly or video, and finally some recreational or team building time.) 

"When I'm angry, I use my shield (learned in Respect Club) to protect myself and calm down." - a third grader

11. Designate the first and third Thursday of the each month as "RESPECT!" Thursdays. On these days, we suggest that elementary and intermediate schools ask their faculty, staff and students to wear their RESPECT ROCKS!™, ALWAYS RESPECT - NO EXCUSES!™, RESPECT=SUCCESS™, or RESPECT definition T-shirts (pictured above) combined with a dress down day for the staff and students (wearing these T-shirts twice a month encourages respect and it also helps to create school spirit). 

12. Contact local businesses, on a yearly basis, on the school's behalf to ask them to consider sponsoring the Respect Club. Sponsorship funds would be used to cover costs like providing every student leader, every elementary and intermediate school student, as well as every faculty and staff person in those schools with a T-shirt that encourages respect - and also possibly a stipend for the Respect Club adviser(s). (School districts can have a student T-shirt design contest each school year for the following school year.) Offer to put the name and logo of the business on the back of the T-shirt if permitted. We suggest that the adviser bring along with two or three professionally dressed student leaders, who do most of the talking, to make these contacts in person after an appointment has been set up in advance. Costs to the school district to run a Respect Club could include the cost of transportation of student leaders to other schools to give assemblies, a stipend paid to the staff adviser(s), the copying of "What I learned at school today!" flyers, etc. Most of these costs would be eliminated if videos created by the student leaders are shown at the other schools and if the school district is able to recruit a volunteer adviser(s). 

13. Eventually develop and implement a plan to create a collaborative effort with students, parents, school administrators, teachers, school counselors, other school staff, community leaders, public safety officials, business leaders, and members of the community in order to promote the importance of respect. Respect Club is designed to harness the awesome power of collaboration that is created when everyone promotes the importance of respect. Can you imagine the positive impact on a student who hears about as well as sees evidence of the importance of respect out in the community? For example - a firefighter talking with a student about why respect is so important, posters with the definition of respect made by students displayed by businesses, banners promoting respect designed by students attached to street light poles, bumper stickers promoting respect designed by students on emergency vehicles, patches promoting respect designed by students on first responder uniforms, etc. (We have suggestions of how to accomplish this step.)

Suggestions for starting a Respect Club™ in one school only:

If your school district is not yet willing to start a district-wide Respect Club, you can start one at your elementary, intermediate, or middle school with student leaders using the same suggestions listed above. In addition, you can start a Respect Club at your elementary, intermediate, or middle school using volunteer school staff instead of student leaders. If you would like suggestions for doing this, please let us know by sending an email to: questions@respectclub.org.

Please email us at questions@respectclub.org if we can be of assistance.