Community Greeter Program

Sunday, February 12, 2017

One of the best aspects of speech language pathology and education in general is the collaboration that occurs and the opportunities that are born from that collaboration. I truly believe that we are better when we work together. The Community Greeter Program is proof of just that, inspired by a conversation that I had with Patricia Levitt, SLP, during her poster session at an ASHA Schools Conference. I was excited about the idea of having community members welcoming my students and starting their day off on a positive note so I adapted the idea to meet the needs of my specific building. You see, that's the great thing about collaboration and professional development, it sparks ideas that you can use to meet your needs. At the same conference, I listened to Celeste Roseberry speak about poverty and within her session, the use of video or YouTube to reach families stuck out in my mind. I was in a high poverty building and the so the idea of marrying these two ideas to inspire our students, giving them a shared experience that they could then share with their families left a skip in my step. Thankfully, when I eagerly approached my principal she was immediately on board and gave me an enthusiastic thumbs up to give it a try.

What is a Community Greeter?

  • A member of the community comes in to welcome the students into the building with hand shakes, high fives, hugs and a smile.
  • Once all of the students have entered the building, the Greeter would then visit and speak with a select group of students. The students/classes that hosted the Greeter would rotate.
  • An example of some of the Community Greeters we have had:
    • Senator
    • Mayor
    • Police
    • Firemen
    • Army- High School ROTC
    • Pilot
    • Superintendent/Asst. Superintendent
    • Dentist
    • Local District Principals
    • Nutrition Specialist
    • Elderly Community Member
    • District Employees from other buildings
    • Librarian
    • Pharmacist
    • Many, many more! We had over 50 Greeters last year!


  • Provides students with a shared experience 
  • Opens student eyes to a world of career possibilities 
  • Makes Students feel valued and "seen" by the community
  • Teaches soft social skills in a natural context
  • Facilitates an environment in which students can ask authentic questions. The question asking abilities of our students grew tenfold. Even our youngest students were learning to ask questions of the greeter (not just tell stories).
  • Creating an iMovie trailer of the experience engaged students and families, extending school to the home environment in a positive way {Students LOVE seeing themselves on video!}
  • Created an authentic writing prompt as students could write to the Greeter.

Unexpected Perks:

  • Decreased discipline referrals on Greeter days
  • Increased morale as students entered the building
  • Social skills increased significantly. Students began to independently approach greeters, shake hands, initiate eye contact during appropriate introductions.
  • Community Greeters began to contact us asking to come. Greeters enjoyed the experience, recommending it to friends/colleagues and returning themselves the following year.
  • Community Members got to know and love our kids as we do.
  • As staff transitioned with a new superintendent, principal, etc., the Greeter program offered an opportunity for them to be welcomed by our students in a comfortable format
  • Increased rapport with student body

Here is the informational flyer that we used (front and back):

Teacher Feedback:

“The Greeter Program has opened doors into our students' lives. They see people doing awesome things and realize it is possible for them too. Especially when they see/hear from people who are originally from [our town].” - 5th Grade Teacher

“My kids LOVE watching these [iMovies]. Especially when they see themselves and their classmates. They applaud and get so excited, and yes even the big kids get a thrill out of seeing themselves in these.”

“With the students focus being on college and career ready I think it is nice to have visitors from the various occupations so students are able to see and ask questions. It makes it more personal and real for them. It makes a connection to our community too.” -2nd Grade Teacher

“The Greeter Program gives our students an opportunity to meet people in our community that they might not get to meet. When the students come to school in the morning, there is another smiling face waiting to say good morning. I feel that having the greeters gives the students an opportunity to practice their social skills and builds confidence in their initial meeting of someone new. When the greeter comes to the pod, students become the interviewers, asking questions that might interest them. Also, introducing them to careers that might spark interest in their future, therefore embracing the college, career and life motto.”

“I believe the Greeter Program is a very nice addition [to our school] for our students. I like that our kids get to meet successful adults and hear about the challenges they faced growing up.” 6th Grade Teacher

“I think the Greeter program is great for our little ones. They thoroughly enjoyed meeting the firemen and policemen that came to school. I felt it made the children more comfortable with seeing a fireman in complete uniform and may prevent them from being frightened.” –Preschool Teacher

“I think it is great for our kiddos to meet people in the community and learn more options that they have in the community.” -4th Grade Teacher

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