A Hogwarts-style Competition Keeps Students Connected in Cortez
- Local Champion: Montezuma-Cortez School District RE-1
- Date Funded: October 19, 2022
- Grant Amount: $19,000
The 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey showed an alarming drop in student engagement—a situation exacerbated by two years of pandemic. In fact, at Montezuma-Cortez High School less than 15 percent of the students participate in school activities or groups. As a result, many students do not feel connected to a community of peers. That lack of connection can affect grades, graduation rates, and the overall mental health of students. So Montezuma-Cortez High School staff came up with a unique solution for engaging the student population, no matter what their grade or interests: The Panther Cup, a schoolwide initiative that rewards student engagement with tangible things like t-shirts, hats, stickers, even hoodies. How it works: Homeroom classes are divided into five houses (like in Harry Potter). These houses have students from all grade levels, creating opportunities for leadership and mentorship between upperclassmen and underclassmen. Houses select names and mascots that are voted on. They also nominate and vote on leadership within each house. Students are rewarded for community service, displays of kindness, good grades, participation in academic and athletic competitions and more. LOR’s funding helped provide some of the clothing that serves as a reward.