‘Students With Attitude’ Rewarded at Middle School

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­­­IB students are thinkers, inquirers, communicators and risk takers. They are caring, open minded and principled, knowledgeable, balanced and reflective.

And some of them are $50 richer for it.

This year, the middle school has introduced a program known as “Students with Attitude” to reward students displaying positive IB traits.

Each week, four different IB values are emphasized at the middle school, and students displaying one or more of these values are given raffle certificates from their teachers. At the end of every school day, music teacher Jason Clemens draws the names of four students who have been noticed for their behavior that day, and these students receive small treats or prizes. Each Friday, one raffle winner receives a $50 gift certificate valid for use in any store at the Beachwood Mall.

Clemens created the “Students with Attitude” program last year as a project for his internship with Principal Danny Young. His goal was to introduce IB Learner attitudes to the middle school while giving recognition to students who displayed them. Clemens said that he based the program upon what he learned in discussions with middle school students and staff, and thus far he believes that the program has been increasingly effective. “Last week saw the highest number of certificates in the gift card drawing that we have had yet,” he said. “The teachers who are writing certificates are telling me that they are noticing a difference in behavior in their classrooms, the secretaries in the office feel that they can tell a difference in the number of students sent down to see the principals.”

“In the midst of them getting that gift, that reward, [students] are learning about how we need to treat each other here,” said Principal Danny Young. The middle school has also been giving certificates for free ice cream cups to students who display respect, a value which the IB learner profile lacks but the middle school needs. All prizes and rewards are purchased with money from the school’s budget. “We’re making sure that they’re really internalizing [the values] and making [them] a part of their every day education,” Young said.

Kathryn Manning, an art teacher at the middle school, supports the program because she enjoys the opportunity to reward students for doing the right thing. “I’ve also noticed that many [students] can now rattle off all of the concepts that we were hoping to have them learn,” she said.

“I think it’s good for our school,” said eighth grader Betina Franklin. “It shows that [the teachers] are paying attention to the students with positive attitudes. Now that the students know that [teachers] are doing ‘Students with Attitude,’ they have more positive attitudes to win.”

Eight grader Ethan Young agrees. “I think it encourages people to try and do better,” he said. However, Young does not believe that the program motivates everyone. “I guess it helps a little bit, but some people still don’t care.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 20 March, 2012, on page 12 of The Shakerite.

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