Thursday October 30, 2014
When students at Rick Marcotte Central School (RMCS) in South Burlington prepared for roles in a music video about treating other students respectfully, they were not acting. The video reflects behavior the children are encouraged to display daily as part of the school’s guiding philosophy.
The “Be a Buddy” video is so effective that it won a first-place award in the children and youth category (professional) of the Alliance for Community Media-Northeast Region (ACM-NE) 16th Annual Video Festival.
The video is based on the song by the same name, with words by fifth-grade teacher Bobbe Pennington and music by Rosemary Holloway, RMCS’s music teacher. Jess Wilson, production director at Burlington-based Regional Educational Television Network (RETN), was the producer. The link is http://retn.org/show/rick-marcotte-central-school-be-buddy.
Pennington and Holloway wrote the song in connection with the school’s theme of CARES (Cooperation, Assertion, Responsibility, Empathy and Self-control). “Be a Buddy” corresponds with assertion.
The entire student body sings the song in the video, which features vignettes of kids standing up for their peers and welcoming them. “Don’t just stand there when someone’s not kind. Tell them that meanness is something you mind,” they sing.
Teachers coached pupils for each role-play segment, and the staff also helped with the production. “It was literally an all-school buy-in,” Pennington said. “The song has become a favorite school song…Our hope would be that it’s something we can repeat back to students when there’s an issue on the playground. If you can sing it, let’s live it.”
School assemblies focus on the CARES theme. “When you celebrate it in how you treat each other, then it becomes part of the fabric of your school,” Principal Sue Luck said. “It’s part of building a community based on positive values.”
The CARES message has spread. The video generated nearly 1,500 hits on YouTube when it was available on the school’s website. In addition, the video was posted on the Facebook page of Responsive Classroom, an education program supported by the Northeast Foundation for Children.
“The visuals really give the message in our song a strong impact. It’s much more effective than the song alone,” said Holloway, who with Pennington accepted the award Oct. 11 at the annual ACM-NE conference in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“Working with the kids was so much fun for us because they brought a ton of energy and enthusiasm to the project. It was also clear that they really live ‘Be a Buddy’ at Marcotte school,” RETN’s Wilson said.
RETN also received the ACM-NE’s top award for overall excellence in public, educational and governmental access and a first-place award for a documentary about a South Burlington farm-to-table program called Common Roots. “Food for Thought” was produced by Brenda Gleason during her internship with RETN.
RETN is the Champlain Valley’s education station providing training, equipment and access to its cable channels, so residents may share their stories with the community.