Photo by Metro Creative Images.

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Audelia Creek Elementary doesn’t have a PTA full of moms hosting high-dollar fundraisers or elaborate lunches to demonstrate teacher appreciation. What they do have is an innovative young principal willing to try new techniques to motivate and reward her dedicated staff. Lifting teacher spirits, she believes, will result in better outcomes for her students.

Lake Highlands High School graduate Sarah Dye was a classroom teacher and instructional coach at Audelia Creek before taking the helm this year. The Lake Highlands mom with three kids in LH schools began reaching out to her neighbors this week for help.

“I am looking for donations to boost staff morale in the next 2 months,” she explained. “For November, we are going to play ‘Do you have a pie in your pocket?’” Dye explained that the game is part Go Fish, part Musical Chairs. Five staff members, including teachers, paraprofessionals, custodians, nurses and others, will receive a holiday themed pie token each morning, and all day they’ll be encouraged to ask each other to give up the secret treasure. At day’s end, she’ll call for staff members that have “a pie in their pocket” to come to the office to receive a treat.

Dye’s school has experienced staff turnover, and lots of folks don’t know each other, she says. Participating in the game will encourage staff to reach out and meet each other. In December, they’ll play holiday games and trivia for more prizes.

Dye is hoping to receive 20 donated gift cards of the $5-$10 variety, redeemable at Starbucks, fast food joints, Amazon, and the like. They may be dropped at the school’s front office or mailed to 12600 Audelia Road, 75243.

Students at Audelia Creek, located just north of Audelia and Forest, feed into the Berkner feeder pattern. The school qualifies as a Title 1 campus because 80% of their students are from low-income families and are at-risk for academic achievement. More than half of the school’s 600 students are African American, and 36% are Hispanic. To be considered a Title 1 school, a minimum of 40% of the students must qualify for free or reduced lunch. More than 90% of Audelia Creek kids are economically disadvantaged.

If you’d like to help (or merely send a message of encouragement), email