Two years ago, Malcolm X Academy was considered school in the San Francisco School District when it came to attendance. In 2003, only 88.4 of the students showed up on any given day. A school’s goal is 90% or higher. After instituting an incentive program, attendance shot up to 95% in 2004 and is climbing in 2005.
The program centers around rewarding kids for good behavior. In this case, showing up. Kids earn up to 10 tickets a week for attendance, completing homework, and behaving. Kids can exchange tickets to buy things at the school store or they can save them for the raffles held every couple of months. The raffle winner gets a bike–not a bad prize!
There are critics of the program. Some say it teaches kids to shoot for a reward and not life skills. However, you can’t knock results. Since the programs inception, attendance is up and bad behavior is done. As adults, we enjoy incentives for hard work. Why wouldn’t the same apply to kids?