A couple months ago my blog focused on how Rogers High School is focusing on Restorative Practices and last month I wrote about Chronic Absenteeism. In both blogs I wrote about some of the things we do to reward students for positive behavior and attendance, to which I got many complements. With that in mind I thought a good way to end the year would be share all the ways that we reward students (mostly 9th and 10th graders) who are doing well academically and behaviorally. After all, tis’ season of giving…
- During the summer we have all incoming 9th graders grouped with a Link Leader. That leader is an 11th or 12th grader whose job is to introduce that incoming freshmen to the school and help ease the transition. During the school year teachers can fill out a Link Alert or Link Applause for 9th and 10th grade students. A Link Alert has a Link Leader come and talk with the student about issues he/she may be having in class (but that’s not really the focus of this blog). A Link Applause has a Link Leader come and celebrate a success for that student. It could be passing a test, helping out another student, or anything else a staff member deems as worthy of celebration. With each Link Applause the student receives the public recognition as well as a prize (pencil, candy, or other small item).
- Each month 9th and 10th grade teachers nominate a Student of the Month. Ten students from each grade are then chosen to receive a multitude of items: They have a pizza lunch with the principal, receive a certificate for a free round of laser tag at LaserQuest , and are entered into a quarterly drawing to win additional prizes donated from local businesses.
- Each grading period (1/2 quarter) 9th and 10th grade students who have a 3.0 or higher receive a piece of cake during lunch. The cake is purchased through a grant from the Empire Health Foundation.
- Teachers are given DECA Dollars and Pirate Perk Certificates that they can also hand out to students for “exemplifying what it means to be a Pirate.” These items can be redeemed at the two school stores for items sold there.
- Each week the Athletic Director gives away a Student-Athlete of the Week award. This student receives a certificate as well as a card for a free sub from Subway.
- Each month two 11th or 12th grade students are chosen as Students of the Month. Those students are given a reserved parking spot at the front of the parking lot as well as being entered into a drawing for an end-of-the-year prize.
- During lunch time, students who are well-behaved and assist in cleaning the lunch room are given cards for a free drink at Dutch Bros, a free skate pass to Pattison’s North, or a free round of mini-golf to Wonderland.
The reason I share these are two-fold. First, research has shown that punishing students is not the best way to change behavior. Second, as a building we recognized that students who are well-behaved and do the right things are often overlooked; by rewarding students not only do those good students receive recognition, but it also encourages students to strive to obtain those same rewards.
We have noticed that since implementing many of these changes last year that the climate of our school changed significantly. When we meet in grade level teams (approximately twice a month) no longer are the discussions centered around disruptive students (although we discuss programs to help improve student success), the discussions now center on rewards and students who should be recognized for their exemplary behavior/academics/attitude. Students are often talking about what they need to do in order to be recognized rather than what they need to do to avoid punishment.
What are some things that you do in your building to help increase the student morale in your building? What sort of things do you do to reward students who exemplify what you want all students to accomplish?
Aside from teaching, I also coach baseball (JV for the high school and AA for American Legion) and enjoy spending time with my wife and son.
Latest posts by Aaron Brecek (see all)
- Rewarding Students… - December 3, 2016
- Chronic Absenteeism: the issues it creates & how to combat it - November 7, 2016
- Using Restorative Practices - October 10, 2016