Manners and life skills boot camp held at West Madison Elementary School

MADISON, Ala. -- Elementary school students in Madison are in boot camp, but it's not just stronger bodies they are building. West Madison Elementary students have been learning the Base 10 manners and behavioral concepts. Friday they held a boot camp to test all that they learned.

Students wore camouflage, the principal was the general, teachers were sergeants, and the students were all privates.

The students were tested on the essential characteristics and life skills, like honesty, manners, and respect.

"If somebody says good morning, you say good morning. If somebody says hello, you say hello. If somebody asks you a question, you answer," said Evie Bishop, a second-grader.

"We're starting that foundation now. Making sure they have eye contact with their speaker, not interrupting," said Kari Sims, a West Madison Elementary kindergarten teacher. "But as they move through the grades, it's standing up to be able to present, where they're looking at their entire audience, making sure that their voice is loud enough and they are enunciating enough to be understood."

The program came about after West Madison Elementary teachers attended the Ron Clark Academy this summer. That school is known for "The Essential 55" rules and expectations for the students.

The teachers brought the idea back, paired it down to 10, and developed lessons that are meant to carry the students through school and beyond.

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