Education News

School offering students rewards for achieving

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Paying attention and doing well in school is really paying off for some New Jersey students. Their school is offering them rewards and even a late homework pass for doing well in their classes.

Every student at Bergenfield High School has a good reason to show up for class and pay attention, because of what's called the "renaissance program".

"I just think the program is an excellent program because it encourages students to work harder," said student Emmanuel Perez.

The program was organized four years ago, after talks between educators and community sponsors.

"We are talking about how we get students to come to school on a regular basis, come to school on time, stay out of trouble and get good grades. This program is designed to do that," said Principal Henry Sinatra.

Students earn renaissance cards, spelling out their rewards, which include goods and services donated to the school by local businesses.

"Our students receive the benefit of the premium, whatever that may be: a slice a pizza, a free trip to the movie theater, and we have been fortunate," said program director Jose Suarez.

The rewards also include certain privileges. for instance, one free pass for late homework, plus discounts on student events that require an admission charge, go to students with a "c" average who have good attendance and good behavior.

"The beauty of this program is that it's lifting the underachiever," said Suarez.

With three other levels of achievement and rewards in between, "a" students earn platinum renaissance cards, awarded at school assemblies, which mean more privileges and more freebies.

"It means being more dedicated to what the teachers are giving you, whether it be studying more hours or even coming for extra help after school," said student Denise Inirio.

The Renaissance model has been expanded to the town's middle and elementary school, and at least two other high school in New Jersey now have similar programs in the hopes of achieving the same level of success.

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