School spirit is the attitude students and teachers have about their school as well as their attitudes toward each other in and out of the classroom. When positive school spirit is promoted, students are motivated to work harder, academically and/or athletically.

Everyday Environment

School spirit is an unseen element in the everyday atmosphere of the school. Its tone is set by the principal, teachers, other staff and students. When they all work together to accomplish general goals, such as higher test scores, the spirit of the school is high. To achieve this level, school officials allow signs and banners to be displayed by various groups or classes that contain morale-building slogans.

Special Emphasis

Special emphasis is placed on school spirit during specific periods, like homecoming week. Spirit is gradually built until the excitement peaks with the ball game at the end of the week. By having events that include the entire student body and teachers, school spirit is used to help spur the team to victory.

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School spirit can be increased by the sale or distribution of items that contain the school's logo or mascot. Many schools have balls, Frisbees, book sacks, pencils and cups that they sell or give away in contests as prizes. Students are encouraged to wear shirts and jackets that identify them with their school if they are representing the school at an event off campus.

Academic Benefits

Students tend to perform better in the classroom if their school has a positive spirit about promoting academics. They are usually motivated to work harder toward a goal, such as having the highest math average or the highest SAT scores. Overall, grades should improve when school spirit is used as a means to praise good students.

Athletic Benefits

School spirit is mostly identified with athletics. A desire for a student's school to win against a rival has long been a theme that all students and adults have in common. This helps bring together different groups of students, not just athletes, and can unite the school. With the student body more cohesive and full of encouragement, the sports team will play their hardest to win.

About the Author

Karen Hollowell has been teaching since 1994. She has taught English/literature and social studies in grades 7-12 and taught kindergarten for nine years. She currently teaches fourth grade reading/language and social studies. Hollowell earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Mississippi and her Master of Arts in elementary education from Alcorn State University.