Paw Paw touts stronger ‘pack’ after mascot change

Southwest Michigan
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PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Paw Paw Public Schools says its students are feeling more respected, a change it is attributing to a concerted push to change its culture, including picking a new mascot.

The district on Friday released the results of a survey of its sixth through 12th graders and compared the results to the previous year. It found an 18% increase in students saying feel they are treated respectfully by their teachers, a 23% increase in their perception of respectful treatment by their peers and a 32% increase in agreement that the attitude in their classrooms allowed their teacher to teach.

In March 2020, Superintendent Rick Reo said it was time Paw Paw got rid of its old mascot, the Redskins, saying it was dividing the community and was harmful to some students. The controversial nickname had been affirmed by the school board only three years prior, but this time, board members agreed with Reo. They dropped the name. In July, the district officially adopted a new mascot, the Red Wolves.

This year, the district said, it launched a “Welcome to the Pack” program for students meant to improve inclusiveness. It also asked teachers to prioritize relationships with students amid the pandemic.

“The staff and administration at Paw Paw Public Schools continue to strive to foster school environments that welcome and celebrate every student,” Reo said in a Friday statement. “The student feedback from these surveys is very encouraging. It validates the work our people have been doing in this area and indicates that more and more students understand they are an integral part of our ‘pack’ and feel they are getting the support they need to be successful in school.”

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