Pepperell Middle introduces new incentive program with Hunger Games theme

Kody Roper dribbles to the finish line in the relay contest at Pepperell Middle. (Contributed photo)

Exciting students about being on time for class, respectful, active in reading and on their best behavior is a constant challenge for schools. Pepperell Middle School has incorporated a popular movie theme into their new incentive program to get their middle school kids enthusiastic about these positive traits.

Friday afternoon Pepperell Middle ended the first full week of school with an assembly to introduce the new theme based on the Hunger Games movies and held mock games to help classes earn points for recognitions and special incentives. The classes were grouped into grade levels that are now called districts with the number equal to the graduating class year for sixth, seventh and eighth-grade classes. The groups will now be known as District 21 for eighth-grade, District 22 for seventh-grade and District 23 for sixth-grade. Students and staff at the school participated in a relay game to kick off the new program at the school.

The districts can earn points for good weekly attendance, earning Accelerated Reader points, reducing discipline referrals, making academic progress, exhibiting good cafeteria etiquette and participation in connection classes.

The districts can lose points when they have morning tardies, D-Hall assignments, in-school suspensions, out-of-school suspensions and other acts not contributing to positive behavior and success in school.

Incentives the districts can earn include being able to sit anywhere they like in the cafeteria, 30 minutes of extra time at lunch, extra free time on the hill behind the school, ice cream parties and other special privileges that can be proposed by the students.

The first group to earn recognition and incentives was District 21 for their excellent attendance for the first week of school. Their incentive earned was getting to sit anywhere they like in the cafeteria next week. The students were exuberant when the announcement was made during the special assembly.

The incentive program was adapted from a similar one used at the Ron Clark Academy in the Atlanta area. Teachers and administrators from Floyd County Schools have visited the charter school in recent years to study what makes the school successful. The Ron Clark Academy based their program on the Harry Potter series use of houses within a school. "The Hunger Games process is being set up similarly to Ron Clark's house system," stated Becky McCoy, principal at Pepperell Middle School. "At the Clark Academy, all of his students have a team camaraderie and they welcome newcomers with joy and genuine excitement."

Points will be collected by the districts throughout the year with an overall district winner to be announced at the end of the school year. McCoy added, "There will be a nice incentive prize for the ultimate winner among the districts at the end of the year and the students can track results on a bulletin board in the front hall of the school.

The new Hunger Games program is designed to work alongside the school's Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program.

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