Kennedy is the first high school in the nation to receive the Golden Psi Award from the American Psychological Association. Psychology teacher Dana Melone nominated Kennedy after hearing about the award through her Teachers of the Psychological Sciences community.
“When I read the description [of the award], I thought this is really Kennedy. This is what we do here and so I cleared it with Mr. Kline and filled out the application,” Melone said. “Essentially they were looking for schools who are using psychological principles and data driven decisions to increase academic success and socio-emotional success in students.”
The Golden Psi Award has been around for four years now. Only one school in the nation receives the award each year. Recipients of the award receive $1,000, a plaque/trophy award, and recognition at the APA Annual Convention, in the Monitor on Psychology magazine, and on APA’s website.
The $1000 prize money will be given to the Psychology program to allow them to purchase equipment and materials.
“I think just knowing that they believe in what we are doing here was really neat for me,” Melone said. Melone has been a leader in Kennedy’s efforts to change the academic environment for the better.
One way that Kennedy has been applying the ideas that the award was looking for includes SMART lunch.
“A good part of the application that we sent in focused on the impact of SMART lunch using data from a variety of different sources to show academic and social impact,” Principal Jason Kline said.
The award should be seen as a good reflection of the staff’s effort to increase academic standards in classes and students’ efforts to achieve more than they expect to. Kline says that he thinks the school’s efforts have helped students “find potential in areas they didn’t realize they had and helped them open doors to their future.”
There will be an award ceremony at 10 a.m. in the foyer on Thursday, during which Kennedy will officially receive the Golden Psi Award.
“I think that it was a really good time for teachers to hear that we are making an impact,” Melone said. “To know that what we do does matter and that when other schools and other people see it, they believe in what we are doing.”