This month’s National Renaissance Staffulty™ of the Month is Stephanie Jess of Brazoswood High School in Clute, TX. Their nominator Rita Pintaville wrote:
You will not find anyone who respects the campus and the community more than Stephanie Jess. She understands the value of education, and seeks ways to make it fun and enjoyable while creating avenues to connect to the community on multiple levels…Mrs. Jess and her students are the reason Brazoswood has so many ways to reinforce the good things happening at our campus in a physical way. We have banners hanging to reinforce that we are a Jostens Platinum Level campus, We are a National Capturing Kids Hearts Campus, We are a National Student Council School and earned 4 Distinctions by the Texas Education Agency for Academics in the 2022 school year. We participate in the C2G program and Mrs. Jess has been instrumental in the placement of these programs and the location of the banners in the building. We also have the class officers carry the banner as they lead the graduates to the graduation arena. She organizes campus graduation walks with our feeder pattern elementary school which is a BIG hit as well as the use of Harbor videos that focus on graduation and culture. We also use The Harbor videos as part of our detention and truancy programs since the messages are always relevant and are much better than just sitting there ‘making up time’ or feeling like it is a ‘punishment’ instead of a ‘rehabilitation’ – we want these to be learning experiences, and it is a great way to have them learn about themselves.
How long have you been involved with Renaissance?
What’s a favorite Renaissance moment for you?
Whenever our students choose the Teacher of the Week – that’s my favorite Renaissance moment. Our students choose the teacher for the week and then go surprise them during one of their classes with a bit of pomp and circumstance and a trophy. The classroom usually goes a bit wild, but in a good way. The students presenting the award take a quick picture of the teacher and then write up a really sweet article about why they were chosen that week. All of that is posted on our socials and the number of positive comments and hearts that teacher gets on their post from our community and school is phenomenal. Brightening up a teacher’s day and week like this makes everyone’s’ day!
How has Renaissance impacted your school’s culture?
Out of all the 6 R’s, I feel that the relationship piece is the one all of our Staffulty strive to meet the most – AND you can tell! Brazoswood is a positive place where students and staff feel loved and accepted and know someone has their back. Our students and staff love to participate in spirit weeks, they support each other at band concerts, water polo games and show up -continuously – even when it may be difficult. We have a very giving culture for sure. From the long lines and abundant amount of donations we get at our blood drives (we host 5 a year), to the number of staff and students who give time and donations to our student food and clothing closets, everyone helps out in some form or fashion. Brazoswood is a great place to be!
How has Renaissance affected you personally?
Renaissance is about finding the good in the world and exemplifying it. I love seeing my students come up with projects and events that positively affect our campus and community. I get to see firsthand the energy and love they have to make a positive culture, the follow-through to make things happen, and the desire to help others – this makes my heart truly happy.
What advice would you give to someone just starting with Renaissance?
My advice to someone just starting Renaissance in their school is to start with one thing and make it good. Then add something else and make it even better. Keep going and get these activities and events to where they are traditions that will long-lasting and impactful. And ask for help – either from your campus or from the Renaissance team, someone will be there to happily help!
Ms. Jess will receive a tote bag and a lapel pin to recognize her achievement.