Harnessing The Power of Positive Environments

Following in the tradition established by Daniel Webster Elementary, the After School program at Lorenzo De Zavala Elementary created their first ever VIP Room Celebration this month. This recognizes students who have demonstrated extraordinary understanding of SEL Competencies through their behavior and participation. Students who have demonstrated strong improvement in their behavior and participation were also invited to join the VIP Room. 

 SEL Specialist Amanda Jackson engaged students in creating the atmosphere and activities they wanted for their VIP Room. They ultimately selected a Hollywood theme so all the VIP students could feel like a movie star. Student VIPs got to wear dramatic sunglasses and VIP wristbands to access the room, which was decked out with a red carpet, popcorn machine and lots of glitz and glam. 

These superstars to got walk the red carpet for a fun photo shoot and then enjoyed treats, popcorn and games.  The first VIP Superstar is student Eric. From the beginning of the year, Eric experienced difficulty self-regulating his emotions and frustrations, leading to verbal outbursts during programs and challenges in forming relationships with peers and instructors. The team consistently reinforced expectations and encouraged him to do his best. Through their encouragement, Eric has shown dramatic improvements!

The second VIP Superstar is Nathan. Nathan experienced challenges in building relationships and trust with his peers and often requested to step out with a Site Guide (instructor) rather than participate with his group. Through the encouragement of instructors and his peers, Nathan developed stronger relationships with his peers. As a result, he stepped out less frequently and began to experience activities with his group. 




Students who did not achieve VIP status still displayed a fantastic positive growth mindset. Several of the students expressed that even though they didn’t quite meet the expectations, they will continue working hard so they can become a VIP in the future. Knowing that the students will be eagerly anticipating the VIP Room celebration each month, staff are actively engaging students in developing ideas for themes of future months. 

Want to create your own VIP Room? 

For campuses interested in creating a similar spaces, every piece of decoration used is collapsible and reusable. It can be packed away into a 12″x12″ project case and labelled for future use. This is helpful for campuses that are smaller or may have space constraints that prohibit a permanent reward cart or room. Ask your students what they want and what they’re interested in! Not only does it take some pressure off you to plan, but it also builds hype around the event. Way to go DeZavala After School staff for incorporating the VIP Room Celebration at their campus!