Williams Intermediate School in Pell City won the National Wild Card Challenge.

From Jan. 8-28, teachers across the U.S. were tasked with different challenges for each day, from writing an encouraging note to students or co-workers, to “Being intentional about your smile all week.” Teachers would post pictures and videos on social media with #bethewildcard. At the end of the challenge, any one that participated had to submit an application and video to be considered.

Out of 1000 applicants from 500 schools nationwide, Williams Intermediate won first place and was the overall winner.

Hope and Wade King, authors of the book “The Wild Card,” and educators at the Ron Clark Academy, which most of the teachers at Williams Intermediate have attended, will takeover the school for a day of professional development with teachers. Special guests and other surprises are in store for the school, as well as a teacher room transformation, which will take place in July. 

WIS Principal Holly Costello, has encouraged her staff to attend the Ron Clark Academy. They school has implemented the “Four Houses, One Family” system.

“It’s all about the students and student engagement,” Costello said. “Students have improved their soft skills, being kind, addressing adults by name, a firm handshake. It’s a culture of character building and life skills.”

The Williams Intermediate House System assigns students to different “houses,” each color-coded and representing a different character trait. The “Green” house represents courage, “Red” represents friendship, “Blue” represents dreamers, and “Yellow” represents givers. Students spin the wheel assigning them to each house and will remain in that group for the 5th and 6th grade.

Each house receives points based on student academics, attendance, house participation, and random acts of kindness.

“We have seen so much improvement in students, just giving more courtesy for others,” Costello said.

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