Unique Concepts Helps Disadvantage Children Achieve and Win
With its dropout rate of 8.6%, Falfurrias High School was in dire need of changing its environment. The lack of vigor became an epidemic throughout the school. These disadvantage children did not have much to look forward to as they walked the halls on a daily basis. With many home problems, these children needed something they could value.
Gabriel Rivera, a teacher at Falfurrias High School, felt that an incentive program for students would serve well for the school. Gabe really pondered the possibility of such a program. He thought about ways he could improve student self-esteem and character. Then a “light bulb” went on and he decided to start an incentive program.
This program would reward students for their behavior and academic achievement. He would call this incentive program “Jersey of the Week.” The word “Jersey” is the school’s mascot, and Gabriel felt that the name would be ideal.
They were given a certificate of achievement and awarded coupons by merchants around town. These coupons were free meals to local fast-food restaurants such as McDonald’s and Burger King. In addition, Gabe contacted the local newspaper and explained the incentive program to the editor. He did this because he wanted to include a photo of the winners each week in the newspaper.
Due to his love for children, he was able to revitalize the school and keep the children eager to achieve their goals. He also managed to improve self-esteem of the student body. By mid-semester, student attendance had increased by 15%. Plus, he was able to give out 350 coupons and $300 worth of merchant prizes. Though many school staff members were skeptical at first, Gabriel’s program was a success in the eyes of many–especially the children.