Malcolm X Academy Makes the Grade

Malcolm X Academy Makes the Grade

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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?

2 thoughts on “Malcolm X Academy Makes the Grade

  1. Behaviour modification has been working for about 40,000 years. Children have always been rewarded for saying “Mama” etc. Behaviour that’s reinforced is pretty darned likely to be repeated.

    The children are getting life skills, learning to be cooperative and making goals -these are skills and habits needed for independent living.

    And I repeat you can’t knock results

  2. I agree! Even as adults we enjoy a reward for hard work. While the students may be working towards the prizes rather than the grades, they just might shift perspectives along the way. Getting them to school is half the battle. They’ve solved that one with the contests.

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