I currently have the wonderful opportunity to work at a Title 1 school that is located in Trenton, New Jersey. The elementary school consists of a diverse student population of five hundred kind, intelligent, and fun individuals. Every day, our students make the decision to find joy in learning, which is evident in the sound of laughter that can be heard when walking down the halls.
Therefore, they do not let their unfortunate circumstances stop them from acquiring academic and behavioral success even though the majority of them come from poor, unsafe neighborhoods.
In addition, many of them enjoy offering their teacher and classmates a helping hand by passing out papers or helping their peer solve a mathematical equation, which are just a few examples. For the last couple of years, our students have also experienced an increase in motivation and interest in school and learning due to our school’s adoption of a student recognition program that acknowledges the hard work of one student in every classroom each month.
As previously mentioned above, each month, every homeroom teacher selects one student to receive the special honor of becoming “student of the month.” In order to receive this award, students must demonstrate excellent citizenship, participation, individual achievement, progress, and/or leadership. Once the students are chosen, their pictures are displayed in the “Students of the Month” showcase in the main corridor for education professionals, parents, and community members to see, giving students a sense of pride. Currently, students are given a certificate, sticker, and pencil. However, our funds have been running low since the student recognition board purchases everything out of pocket.
Since academic research confirms that recognizing students’ accomplishments and achievement increases student engagement and produces a positive school environment, the teachers at my school would be devastated if we had to stop rewarding our students due to low funds.
Although our students have been nothing but grateful for their gifts, we believe that they deserve more than a certificate, sticker, and pencil. We want to provide them with something that they will remember for the rest of their lives. By receiving a star student bracelet or headband, trophy and pencil, our students will never forget the day they were recognized as “student of the month.” Most importantly, they will realize that rewards come to those who demonstrate hard work and good moral character. Their outstanding behavior will most likely motivate other children to display excellence!
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