During the fall 2017 school semester, Moore noticed her students’ test scores were extremely low compared to past years and knew something had to change in order to set her young scholars up for success. After jokingly making a bet with them that if they improved their scores, she would dye her hair wild and crazy colors like a unicorn’s, to her surprise, her class was fully onboard.
“I was initially thinking they would choose something more like a pizza party,” Moore told Yahoo Lifestyle. While the proposed idea was a lot more intense and would alter the look of her hair, she was totally up for it if it meant boosting test scores for her students.
After months of studying, preparing, and motivation from other staffers at North Star Elementary School, once it was time for SAGE testing (an assessment issued to students to measure grade-level proficiency) in April 2018, overall scores improved by 16 percent. Moore was overjoyed to see this change and, even more importantly, knew she had to stick to her promise of dyeing her hair. After contacting her hairstylist, a date was set, and her hair transformation took place right in her classroom.
A natural redhead, Moore had her hair lifted to a bleached blond shade first. Then, she came to work the next day with a red bandana on and allowed her colorist to take it from there. Her students also got involved and had the chance to apply some of the colors. It was a fun day indeed, Moore explained, and she also mentioned how a fire alarm went off in the middle of the process, but it didn’t stop her from getting the final results her students were waiting for.
“We were all out on the soccer field for about 20 minutes,” she said. “My hairdresser just kept doing my hair. It took a little over two hours in total. When it was done, all of my students wanted to come up and touch it.”
The final look of Moore’s hair filled everyone with joy. Many people thought she had received a complimentary coloring service, but once she admitted to paying $300, parents began to send her flowers, and students in the school cafeteria stood and applauded her when she walked in to pick up her students. “I walked in, and they all just started clapping,” Moore said. “It was the first time they had all seen my hair. It was pretty cute. I started crying. It’s so overwhelming to me. Everyone started cheering me on, and there was such a positive vibe within the school.”
Moore teaches at a Title I school where many of the children attending come from high-poverty environments. She explained that many of her students are working so hard to focus but carry many other responsibilities at home, which sometimes affects their confidence and how they perform academically. “Creating this safe environment here at the school is great,” said Moore. “Safety and helping them achieve academically is our No. 1 goal.” She continued, “They already have these preconceived ideas that because where they are from, and because they aren’t in affluent neighborhoods, that they are not as smart as other kids. Helping them get past that was my first hurdle. I think the fact that somebody believes in them, and is willing to work hard to do whatever to help them means a lot.”
After teaching for more than 20 years, Moore has never tried this kind of incentive to boost test scores, but based on this experience, she says she is more than happy to do it again in the future — “as long as whatever the kids ask me to do is something safe,” she added. Moore says she likes the look of her newfound hue and plans on keeping the hair color through the summer.
She is expecting her first granddaughter in a few weeks and realizes she will have bright pink unicorn-like hair in all of the photos she takes with her. While she thinks it will be hilarious, she believes it is totally worth it. “It wasn’t like it was just some drunken stupor” she joked. We couldn’t agree more, and Moore’s students are really lucky to have her in their lives.
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