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Show Up Amherst initiative gains momentum in county's schools

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A simple act made highly problematic the past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic is gaining much attention in the Amherst County Public Schools community this school year.

Show up.

A simple act made highly problematic the past few years of the COVID-19 pandemic is gaining much attention in the Amherst County Public Schools community this school year.

ACPS has partnered with the Amherst County Public Schools Education Foundation and IRON Lives, two nonprofit organizations that support the school division, to engage in a community-building initiative called #ShowUpAmherst. The initiative is funded through a grant donation from Glad Manufacturing/Clorox, according to an ACPS news release.

The initiative is a response to the pandemic’s effects on schools and their relationships with the community.

“The purpose of this initiative is to engage the entire Amherst community in supporting the character development of our children,” the release said. “Schools serve as the cornerstone of a community, so ACPS wants to lead our students, staff, and families in recovering what was lost during the pandemic. Through positive messaging that encourages mutual support of all stakeholders, we hope to model positive character traits for our students, such as civic engagement, communication skills, and collaboration.”

#ShowUpAmherst kicked off at the start of the school year through a social media campaign. During September, ACPS has highlighted students and staff who #ShowUp in a variety of ways, such as being engaged in learning, having good attendance, and making positive contributions to the school community.

The division is having a Show Up Day in all schools Friday with each planning fun activities kept under wraps so they will find out.

In the coming months, many activities are planned so students can witness real-life examples of the character traits needed to be contributing members of a community. The division’s social media platforms will showcase great things schools while connecting those activities to important character traits.

Each month will have a theme, such as encouraging students to be kind, thankful, or healthy, and signs will be placed along car rider lines at schools designed to get families talking while they are waiting to drop off their students. Additional messaging materials will be strategically placed around the community with the goal of bringing people together and starting a positive conversation.

“We hope that by involving the community in the #ShowUpAmherst initiative, families and community members will come to our schools to support our students in a variety of ways,” the release said. “Volunteers are always welcomed, but cheering on students at sporting events, science fairs, and fine arts showcases are also great ways to #ShowUp and get involved. In return, Amherst County Public Schools hopes to #ShowUp for the community through volunteering, community service, and supporting our business and nonprofit partners.”

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