Students at the Aveda Institute CO, AZ and UT in Denver, CO, have opportunities to participate...
Students at the Aveda Institute CO, AZ and UT in Denver, CO, have opportunities to participate in photoshoots and even enter the North American Hairstyling Awards (NAHA).

Every year, MODERN SALON Media pays tribute to great work being done by leading cosmetology schools via its Excellence in Education recognition program. Hundreds of applications are submitted by individual and multi-unit schools across the country, and for 2015, 38 schools were named honorees in eight categories ranging from Community Service to Placement to Technology.

MODERN SALON Media Vice President/Group Publisher Steve Reiss announced the 2015 Excellence in Education top honorees on Saturday, October 24, 2015, at the AACS Annual Convention & Expo in Phoenix, Arizona. 

Excellence in Education was created in conjunction with a partnership between Modern Salon Media and the American Association of Cosmetology Schools (AACS); the program helps the school community collect and share examples of great work being done across the country.

Two top honorees—one individual school location, and a multi-location school organization—were recognized in each of the eight categories.

In the School Culture category, cosmetology schools across the country work hard to create a culture that’s unique to their community and student body—whether it’s taking students to assist at New York’s Fashion Week or throwing an annual Halloween bash the entire community looks forward to, schools are embracing the opportunities around them. 

The top School Culture honorees this year are Clary Sage College in Tulsa, OK, for individual locations; and Aveda Institute CO, AZ and UT in Denver, CO, for multi-unit schools. However, all of the 2015 honorees had inspiring ideas to share.

Schools are also promoting additional skills as part of their cultures. Business classes, courses in financial literacy, tips on interviewing, and more make up the typical curriculum, in addition to cutting and color classes. Students have many opportunities to get involved at their schools through student council, specialized clubs, community service, fashion shows, photo shoots and other extra-curricular activities.  

Cosmetology students have every opportunity to be engaged on all levels at schools and to find a school culture that fits with their personality. 

Here are a few ways the School Culture top honorees are engaging with students to make unique and memorable cosmetology school experiences.

Graduation at Clary Sage College in Tulsa, OK.

School Culture in individual locations

  • Surveys and evaluations at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy, Plano, TX: Monthly evaluations occur with each course level to get student input. Survey Monkey is another method for feedback; students submit evaluations of their classes and teachers each month. 
  • Accommodating learning styles at Arrojo Cosmetology School, New York, NY: Classes include elements to engage four learner types; audio, visual, linear and kinesthetic.
  • Student-planned activities at Alexander Paul Institute of Hair Design, Greenville, NC: Include marketing events, business-building competitions, charity events, managing social media accounts, front desk operation and more.
  • Team spirit at Eric Fisher Academy, Wichita, KS: A leadership team meets weekly to brainstorm and create events for the school, like Spirit Week, which helps raise money for the Leadership Fund. Every morning, school starts with a lightening round, which includes fun activities to get ready for the day.
  • Challenges at DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology, West Springfield, MA: To promote good health, an annual Hydration Challenge has teams consuming more water. The Marigold Growing Contest teaches students the importance of nourishing and promoting growth, within themselves and as part of a team.
  • Student council at Bella Capelli Academy, Pittsburgh, PA: This team keeps up school morale and plans activities like car washes, bake sales, holiday parties, etc. 
  • Monthly awards at Altoona Beauty School, Altoona, PA: Students are recognized for perfect attendance, reaching sales goals, and good business behavior. 
  • Financial foundation at Paul Mitchell the School Jacksonville, Jacksonville, FL: The Grow Your Business and Dollar Camp programs teach how to budget money, balance a bank account, and pay back student loans. 
  • Professionalism at Aveda Institute Portland, Portland, OR: Partners in Education program uses real-life experiences, online portfolios, resume building and more to prep students for the beauty industry.
  • Diverse offerings at Clary Sage College, Tulsa,  OK: The only school in Oklahoma that offers every license under the Oklahoma State Board of Cosmetology and Barbering: cosmetology, barbering, braiding technology, nail technology, esthetics, make-up artistry, master instructor, massage, fashion design and interior design.
  • Join a team at Paul Mitchell the School Chicago, Chicago, IL: Students have the opportunity to join several teams: Design Team for a chance to share talent with the community; Be Nice Team is responsible for special events that raise school and community spirits; Take Home Team is responsible for preparing students on the clinic floor to know what products to use, mixing product cocktails and new launches; Social Media Team is an group that focuses on creating the school’s social media footprint.

Some downtime for Aveda Insitute students during New York Fashion Week.

School Culture in multi-unit schools

  • Photoshoots and NAHA at Aveda Institute CO, AZ and UT; Denver, CO: Each student has the opportunity to add a professional photo shoot image to their portfolio. They also have access to five-day workshop on working as a hair stylist or make-up artist for editorial photo shoots. One student per year also has the opportunity to enter NAHA.
  • Anti-bullying curriculum at Paul Mitchell Schools, Sandy, UT: Paul Mitchell Schools partnered with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and international bullying prevention expert Dr. Susan Swearer to create an anti-bullying curriculum focusing on prevention and intervention. 
  • The Style Squad at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture, Oak Brook, IL: This team requires the highest percentage of attendance and GPA for consideration and actively represent the school at outside venues. They’re platform artists at places like career days, fashion shows and other events.
  • No-tipping policy at Nurtur Aveda Institutes, Columbus, OH: Instead customers are encouraged to donate to chosen charities.
  • Student soiree at Toni&Guy Hairdressing Academy, Plano, TX: This annual program gives students the opportunity to produce and run high-end runway shows from start to finish. Students learn how to do photoshoots as well. This is all part of the Spotlight Experience they receive at the academy.

To view the entire list of finalists, click here. 

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