CARAVAN By Stephanie Graham
Early during this school year, fi fth
graders Keegan Pycior and Anna
Worthley along with their families
were surprised and honored when the
Whoop Whoop Caravan pulled up to their
homes. Pycior’s father, Mitch Pycior states
“I’m very proud, fi rst of all…you always
think your child is special, but then to get
that feedback from the school is great.”
The tradition of the Whoop Whoop
Caravan started this year as a result of Lori
Waltz hearing about the caravan in other
school districts and bringing it to her coworkers’
attentions. Summit Intermediate
staff , under the leadership of principal,
Alysia Ackerman, took about three days
to talk through how they wanted to show
their support for families and students. The
caravan idea just seemed to make sense.
“There’s a lot of eff ort in Nixa Schools
around grades, but we also talk about the
whole child and making sure we involve
the community and families,” stated Alysia
Ackerman, Summit Intermediate
principal. “This is just an
us to give
back to our families and say to them ‘we
appreciate you’ because they’re investing
so much in their kids.”
When asked what characteristics a student
must have to receive this kind of recognition,
Ackerman said that the student
has to exemplify the Nixa Public School’s
character word of the month.
Fifth grader, Keegan Pycior stated “If
someone needs help, they probably come
to me and I help them fi x their problem.
It makes me feel happy when I help them.
They thank you and I really appreciate
Anna Worthley added, “I’m always following
directions and some of my classmates
said that I’m the defi nition of responsibility.”
“We call the parents ahead of time and
make it a surprise, so the kids don’t know.
The very fi rst one that we did, one of the
students seemed speechless, really. They
didn’t know what was going on because it
was such a surprise,” stated Ackerman.
Each month, every classroom has a character
student of the month that represents
the district’s character word of the month.
In addition to this, there is a grade level
character student of the month for the
fourth, fi fth, and sixth grades who then
represent these grade levels as a whole.
“We know a lot of these kiddos and just
to be able to celebrate that with each
other too and just to pump them up and
just kind of have that positive family community.
It’s really cool to be a part of and
I’m glad I got to do it with them. Especially
here at the intermediate building
when they are going to be in junior high
soon and then onwards after that. They
really need to start learning how to take
that ownership and what that means and
what that looks like,” stated Olivia Defay, a
sixth grade teacher at Summit Intermediate
In addition to recognizing the three
students with the Whoop Whoop Caravan
each month, teachers also decided to
recognize a community business or entity
that represented the character word of the
month. Recently, Summit Intermediate
recognized the Nixa Fire District for demonstrating
what responsibility looks like.
“It never fails when we have some sort of
special event they come out, they show
off the fi re trucks. They talk with the kids;
they let the kids in and out all over the fi re
trucks,” stated Ackerman.
Ackerman says that her favorite part of
the Whoop Whoop Caravan is “giving back
to families and telling them how much we
appreciate the work they do as parents
because they are the biggest infl uence on
their child and their child’s character.”
THE NEST NIXA PUBLIC SCHOOLS MAGAZINE 17