'Brag tags' encouraging Curry Elementary students


CURRY — Students at Curry Elementary School now have bragging rights for their achievements.

"We were looking for a way to recognize our students for their academic successes," assistant principal Jerri Dutton said, "and we were online Googling honor roll ribbons and certificates, and this SchoolLife website came up with the brag tags."

Brag tags are small, plastic tags that, as the name implies, are used to brag on students for a variety of good character traits, attendance, and academic accomplishments. Schools across the country use brag tags to encourage students.

The tags cost as little as 12 cents, and proceeds from a fundraiser helped the school purchase several tags to get started with the effort in January.

An affirmation is printed on each tag, such as "caught being paws-itively good" or "way to go." Other tags recognize acts of kindness, and each student has been given a personalized school spirit tag that reads, "I'm proud to be a student at Curry Elementary School."

Teachers have started making their own tags as well to recognize specific academic triumphs.

"I give out a brag tag for every A they make on a timed multiplication test because that is one of our main skills in third grade," math teacher Angie Wade said. "They have to know the concept of multiplication, and they have to be able to pass those timed tests to be able to do well."

Wade said giving the students something to strive for — earning a brag tag — has encouraged them to work harder to master concepts.

"It's been very motivational," she said.

Librarian Holly Woodley said she has been distributing brag tags to students for reading a certain number of books, and students will also get a special Read Across America tag next week.  

Principal Haley Moore said students are allowed to wear their brag tags, which are placed on a chain necklace, each Friday.  

"They wear them proudly," she said.

There's a brag box located at the front of the school, and if any school employee witnesses a child doing a good deed or being on their best behavior, they can write the child's name on a piece of paper and place it in the brag box. Each Friday, names are drawn from the box and tags are distributed to students, which serves as another motivator for the Pre-K-4 children to be on their best behavior.

When the Daily Mountain Eagle visited the school last Friday, students wore their brag tags like a badge of honor, and they enjoy the competition to earn more. 

"My kids this morning were counting theirs," first-grade teacher Jennifer Potoka said.

Moore said she's hoping the brag tags initiative can continue for years to come so that when the school's youngest children transition to middle school they can look back on the brag tags they have collected and be proud of their hard work and leadership.  

"The possibilities are just limitless when it comes to utilizing these to reinforce those positive behaviors and their successes," Dutton said.