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Woodbury Principal Uses Fridays To ‘Inspire And Excite’

By: Greg Sacidor

Can you imagine your child’s principal showing up at your doorstep? Well for one set of Woodbury elementary school students, that is exactly what their principal does on a weekly basis.

Every Friday after school, Principal Braddock of Evergreen Avenue Elementary in Woodbury, New Jersey shows up to the homes of about 15-18 students. No, he is not there for disciplinary reasons, but rather to recognize their hard work.

You may think “Why does this husband and father of three spend 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. every Friday night at the homes of his students as opposed to his own?”  The answer – to “inspire and excite.”

After seeing his own father lead by example, Principal Braddock always knew he wanted to follow in his footsteps. Now, he is doing just that through a new program he has implemented at his Woodbury based elementary school.

On Fridays, Principal Braddock jumps on his school’s loudspeaker at about 2:50 p.m. to announce the names of the students that are being recognized that week. Then after the school day is over, he visits each of their homes to sit down with their family and present the student with a certificate, a letter of kind words from one of their teachers and a pencil that reads “My principal is proud of me.”

Braddock told Frank and Andie of the XTU Morning Crew that some of his teachers have started to notice their students get excited for the weekly announcement, with some even crossing their fingers or closing their eyes in hopes of hearing their names called.

While to some, having to spend an extra few hours on a Friday night away from your family may not seem ideal, for Braddock it is no big deal at all. “My Fridays are absolutely amazing” he said.

Braddock called it the “best decision” he has ever made; of course outside of his marriage and his three children.

Now, the students at Evergreen Avenue Elementary and Braddock himself are not the only ones who take joy in this program, but so to do the school’s teachers. After each visit, Braddock takes a picture with the student and sends it to their teacher to show them that their own hard work is paying off.

The new program has seemed to be working for this principal and his school. Braddock said that the “response has been fantastic” and that the vibe in his school is “amazing.”

Now that it has started to gain some attention, Braddock hopes his program inspires other administrators across the country to follow suite as it gives him a personal connection to each family.

“We are just getting started” Braddock said. “The best is yet to come.”

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